AI to Optimize Digital Ad Creative
Digital ads are the new standard. Last year, advertisers spent more on digital than on television, with digital ad spending reaching $209 billion worldwide. And this is expected to keep growing, thanks to digital ads’ ability to better measure returns and customize campaigns at a fraction of the cost of some traditional ad formats.
But how many times have you been scrolling through your Instagram feed and that same, dull fitness app advert pops up? Sure, it caught your attention the first time you saw it, but how attention-grabbing is it now?
To optimize digital adverts — that is, to make them as effective as possible — traditionally the focus would be on changing the audience, search keywords, where the ads would be placed or how much you bid for it. But there is only so much these can do in today’s digital age. Something else needs to change to keep the campaigns novel.
The creatives in the adverts (the assets that make it up — images, video, copy) need to be optimized and constantly refreshed to hold our attention in this increasingly digital and attention-grabbing age. To really set your digital adverts apart, working on the creatives is vital.
Optimizing Digital Ad Creative Using AI
The introduction of machine learning technologies has leveled the playing field for all advertisers, and made it much easier to achieve optimization with regard to most of these aspects. Now, instead of having to set up separate campaigns for search and Google Play, for example, developers can use Google’s Universal App Campaigns (UACs) and they just need to add some text, images and their bid, while the technology does the rest.
Results from Google’s UAC are promising, too: Its use is delivering over 50% of all app downloads from ads and driving 140% more conversions per dollar than other Google app promotion products.
AI and machine learning have become something of a double-edged sword for advertisers, though. As they take over the reins of optimizing digital ad campaigns, there are few remaining levers for advertisers to pull to stand out from their competitors. One of the most important of which is creative.
Creative in Digital Ads Can Be a Brand Differentiator
Creatives have long been established as a crucial factor in ad success; research has shown that ad creative is the “single-most important factor” in driving up sales. Yet its optimization was left to the backburner for years, seen as subjective, time-consuming and expensive.
Advertisers are only beginning to realize why creative is the magic touch their digital ads need and how the process of optimization has been made easier by AI.
Deciding which creative asset to use for an ad was a game of guesswork in the past, with many advertisers relying on a highly questionable gut feeling to go with one over another. Those who wanted a greater degree of precision carried out A/B tests, but they took a significant amount of time and money before results were conclusive.
Fast-forward to today, and these problems have been eased by AI-powered tools. Crunching the data from past ads, machine learning can perform predictive analytics on new creatives to determine which would drive the best returns.
Even the process of building creatives is set to become more efficient. AI can now help you with the time-consuming task of combing through thousands of images to find the one that suits the messaging of your ad best, and compose original music to go with your videos among some of the more exciting developments.
While these applications can offer clearer insight into what works or not, they can’t take over the job of building creative entirely. Creative remains an area of marketing that can be assisted but not replaced by AI.
As the traditional methods of optimizing ads are becoming increasingly AI-powered, marketers would be wise to focus their efforts on using creative to set their campaigns apart. After all, AI can’t really reason, or think abstractly, or even develop a really unique idea (yet).
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