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A Reshaping Force: AI in Paid Digital Media

There is no if. It’s a matter of when and how prepared you will be.

One of our chief responsibilities to our clients is to help them sift through the emerging trends in media and demarcate between those that we believe will impact their business, and those that can be passed on or left for another day. 

For one of the first times ever, we are unequivocally recommending that every brand pay attention and understand how much change we’re about to experience. This is not a trend, it is a fundamental and permanent shift and needs to be treated that way.

AI Success Starts with the C-Suite

The biggest marker of the seriousness of the shift is the altitude at which it is poised to impact brands. The path to AI success will begin at the very highest levels of organizations. The significant upside to be had in AI-driven budget allocations, targeting, optimization, measurement and creativity will be limited if Executive teams do not break down barriers for their marketing teams.

If you, as a C-suite Executive, are imposing detailed guardrails around how budgets need to be allocated or campaigns need to be targeted, you are starting your path to AI success behind the pack.

Below we’ll highlight 3 different key decisions that senior marketing leaders regularly make, and then explore a series of spectrums to help understand how those decisions, if made differently, can position brands properly for an AI-driven future. 

Decision #1 – How do I allocate my budgets?

When you determine a budget for a line of business, geography, channel or objective, you are doing some analysis and ultimately making a best-guess on what those correct allocations are. The reality is that there is missing information, and AI is able to analyze that data and allocate your budgets far more accurately against your objectives than you could ever imagine as a human.

The shift to AI-driven dynamic budgeting will demand a move from traditional, fixed budgets to more adaptive and flexible strategies. This transition enables marketers to respond swiftly to real-time performance data, optimizing resource allocation for better returns.

Takeaway: Adopt adaptable budgeting strategies driven by AI insights for more efficient resource management.

Decision #2 – Where should my team or agency focus their efforts?

Part One – where they shouldn’t spend time.

This is a scary question for a team or agency that spends most of their time on in-platform campaign optimization, because that is no longer where the most valuable time is spent.

We have tested manual vs. AI-driven approaches across hundreds of different variables over the last several years, and without fail the AI-driven – and hands off – optimization strategies are yielding results beyond what we can manufacture ourselves.

Marketers will need to embrace AI-generated insights to enhance ad performance continually but layer in the business and market context of core marketing teams. 

Takeaway: Utilize AI-driven automated optimization to improve campaign performance in real time, but be sure to layer in business and market context. 

Part Two: where they should spend time.

AI’s power to refine ad targeting and content creation relies heavily on the quality of input data and the interpretation of crucial signals. Clean, precise data fuels effective AI algorithms, enabling more targeted ad campaigns and optimized strategies.

Understanding crucial signals—user behavior, preferences, and engagement metrics—drives AI optimization. Having teams spend significantly more time on data cleanliness, accuracy and quality will provide much more enriched fuel for AI-driven optimization tactics to draw from.

Takeaway: Quality first-party data and interpreted signals are essential for maximizing impact. Ensure that the AI is optimizing to the right signals or you could find yourself optimizing to lower quality audiences. 

Decision #3 – What am I supposed to do about creative?

AI’s influence on content creation demands more adaptive and responsive strategies that resonate with individual user preferences. Marketers need to embrace dynamic, AI-driven content creation to engage with diverse audience preferences more effectively and to ensure a constant flow of new creative ideas and assets.

We refer to the AI-driven world of creative as ‘Component-based’ wherein the asset list is focused on building as many different individual components (video hooks, bodies, cta’s, images, headlines, etc.) as possible, and then feeding those to algorithmic systems that can mix and match the right assets for the right people.

Takeaway: Adopt AI-driven content creation to cater to individual audience preferences for higher engagement and leverage AI built creative to operate at scale. 

Navigating the AI-Driven Future of Paid Digital Media

As the digital advertising landscape rapidly evolves, the integration of Artificial Intelligence stands as a transformative force. As we headed into 2024, understanding and swiftly adapting to the changes driven by AI isn’t just advantageous—it’s imperative for senior marketers.

AI’s influence is profound. It reshapes not only ad targeting, budgeting, and optimization strategies but also demands a fundamental shift in marketers’ mindsets. Recognizing AI as a central tool for decision-making and campaign optimization is crucial for success.

Adapting to AI-driven changes means more than just utilizing advanced tools; it requires a fundamental shift in approach. Marketers must embrace AI as an integral part of their strategies, integrating it into their decision-making processes and leveraging its insights for more agile and optimized campaigns.

The future of paid digital media is intrinsically entwined with AI. Marketers who not only recognize its significance but also adapt their strategies accordingly will not just survive but thrive, those who do not will suffer the consequences.

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