In 2018, Lexus released the first AI-scripted commercial: The Lexus ES “Driven by Intuition” campaign. Lexus used IBM Watson, an AI system, to analyze 15 years of award-winning car ads: Footage, text and audio. Watson identified elements common to award-worthy commercials that were “both emotionally intelligent and entertaining,” according to IBM. But it’s not like the machine did all the work: The AI engine formed the script flow and outline, from which the creative agencies built the story. Watson identified which elements of successful ads resonated most with audiences.
Ultimately, “the magic of storytelling will always come to life in the human creative process,” commented Reece Medway, media and entertainment specialist for IBM Watson in the U.K. and Ireland. “Using Watson to identify the common attributes for truly award-winning creative work is an example of how man and machine will collaborate in the AI era.”
Today, advertisers are using AI to identify and segment audiences, build ad creative, test ads, improve ad performance, and optimize spend – all automatically, in real-time, at scale.
Watch the Lexus ES “Driven by Intuition” commercial.
“Generative AI, if it’s handled right, will have the ability to figure out who you are, where you are in the stage of the journey, determine what you are interested in, and serve [you] a context” or personalized images and copy, according to Dhruv Grewal, PhD, professor of ecommerce and marketing at Babson College.
What is AI advertising?
AI advertising is a term that can refer to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in advertising. This technology can be used to automate and optimize advertising campaigns, making them more effective and efficient.
AI can help advertisers in various ways, such as identifying:
- Target audiences
- Optimizing ad placements
- Creating personalized ads
- Predicting consumer behavior
- Analyzing campaign performance
By analyzing large amounts of data, AI algorithms can provide insights that would be difficult or impossible for humans to uncover.
For example, AI can analyze data about consumer behavior and preferences, such as search history, purchase history, and social media activity, to create more targeted ads that are more likely to resonate with the audience. It can also help advertisers to identify which platforms and ad formats are most effective for reaching their target audience. AI advertising aims to help advertisers to increase the effectiveness of their campaigns, reduce costs, and improve ROI.
Ad formats in AI advertising
AI advertising can be used with a variety of ad formats:
- Search ads: Ads that appear on search engines like Google or Bing, which are triggered by specific search terms or keywords.
- Display ads: Image or video ads that are displayed on websites and apps, typically using ad networks or programmatic advertising platforms.
- Social media ads: Ads that are displayed on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, which can target users based on their interests, demographics, and behavior.
- Video ads: Ads that appear before, during, or after online videos on platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, or Hulu.
- Native ads: Ads that match the form and function of the platform they appear on, such as sponsored content or promoted listings on e-commerce sites.
AI advertising can be used with a wide range of ad formats and platforms, providing advertisers with a powerful tool to optimize their ad campaigns and reach their target audiences more effectively.
Using AI to build advertising campaigns
Before creating ads, it’s important to define the goals and objectives of the campaign. For example, is the goal to drive sales, increase brand awareness, or generate leads? AI can help in building advertising campaigns in several ways:
- Audience targeting: AI algorithms can analyze consumer data to identify specific audiences that are more likely to engage with an advertisement. By analyzing data such as demographics, interests, and behaviors, AI can help advertisers to target their ads more effectively and efficiently.
- Ad optimization: AI algorithms can analyze ad performance data to optimize the campaign for maximum engagement. This includes testing various ad formats, placements, and messaging to determine the most effective combination.
- Personalization: AI can help advertisers to create personalized ad experiences based on a user’s past behavior, preferences, and other data points. This can lead to higher engagement rates and a better user experience.
- Predictive analytics: AI algorithms can analyze large amounts of data to make predictions about future consumer behavior. This can help advertisers to anticipate trends and adjust their campaigns accordingly.
- Creative optimization: AI can assist in the creation of ad creative by analyzing performance data and generating insights about which elements of an ad are most effective. This can help advertisers to create more engaging and effective ads.
How-to: AI use case
AI can show you exactly which audiences to target – and how to convince them to act on your ad messages. AI can analyze large amounts of data about consumer behavior, interests, and demographics to identify the most relevant audiences for a given ad campaign. This can help advertisers reach their target audiences more effectively and reduce wasted ad spend:
- Find new audiences: Albert uses AI to optimize your advertising, in the process finding new audiences for your products and services, based completely on what the system is learning from your advertising data.
- More conversions for lowest costs: Adobe Advertising Cloud is a demand-side platform that unifies advertising data from digital and TV campaigns. As part of the platform, Adobe Sensei, the company’s AI product, offers “predictions on how to get the highest conversions for the lowest costs”.
- More attention on your ads: GumGum uses proprietary AI-powered computer vision technology to scan images, videos, and content across the web. Then, it uses insights from that analysis to help your brand place ads where consumers are most likely to pay attention to them.
Write and test ads
AI can help write, generate images, videos and test different ad variations.
- Write ad copy: Use AI-powered tools for copy brainstorming, get different ideas that you can spin off for ad copy. Ideate campaign concepts, headlines, copy ideas, or even tone suggestions. Then work with humans on determining the best direction. Writer.com is an AI-powered writing assistant that provides personalized writing feedback and suggestions. It uses natural language processing and machine learning to analyze text and provide suggestions on grammar, clarity, style, and tone. Writer.com can be used to improve a wide range of writing, including emails, blog posts, reports, and social media posts.AI-powered tools that uses generation (NLG) technology available for ad copy creation, some of which include:
- Create ad creative: Use AI tools to generate images or videos that are relevant to the ad copy and target audience. This can include using machine learning to generate personalized product recommendations or using image recognition to match images to the target audience’s interests. Canva: Canva is a popular design platform that uses AI algorithms to generate images and graphics. It has a range of design templates, including social media graphics, posters, and business cards, and uses AI to suggest layouts, colors, and font combinations based on the user’s preferences. Lumen5: Lumen5 is an AI-powered video creation platform that can turn blog posts, articles, and other text-based content into engaging videos. It uses natural language processing to analyze the text and generate video scenes that match the content.
- Test ad variations: Use A/B testing to test different ad variations and identify the most effective ad copy, creative, and targeting strategies. AI algorithms can analyze data about ad performance and provide insights into which ad variations are performing best. Platforms like AiAdvertising can use AI to predict ad performance in advance.
Optimize ad spending
AI is able to optimize budgets in real time or near real time, across channels, faster and better than humans.
- Optimize advertising spend: Albert uses AI to help brands optimize their current advertising spend by adjusting it continuously across specific platforms to maximize ROI.
- Optimize media: Blackwood Seven is an AI-powered media planning and optimization platform that uses machine learning to analyze data and predict the impact of media campaigns. It can provide recommendations on media planning and budget allocation to help optimize campaign performance.
- Don’t waste money: WordStream is an ad management platform that deploys AI in a number of ways to quickly analyze your advertising, recommend ways to optimize ads so you don’t waste money, and make changes to campaigns in just a few minutes and at scale – rather than the hours, days, or weeks it might take to execute manually.
AI advertising tools
Here are some of the top AI advertising tools to look into for smarter, scalable ad campaigns. Each tool offers different capabilities and features, so it is important to choose the right tool based on the specific needs of your campaign.
AI-powered tools available for campaign optimization:
- AiAdvertising: AiAdvertising provide AI-powered AdTech software and optimization services so advertisers can eliminate guesswork, predict creative, and prove performance. Marketers can predict, scale, and execute hyper-personalized campaigns. In the process, they eliminate waste and supercharge performance.
- Albert: Albert is an AI-powered marketing automation platform that uses machine learning to optimize campaigns across channels. It analyzes data to identify the most effective messaging, targeting, and creative elements for each individual user.
- Amplero: Amplero is an AI marketing platform that uses machine learning to analyze customer data and make real-time recommendations for the next best action. It can optimize campaigns across multiple channels and deliver personalized experiences to each individual customer.
- Cortex: Cortex is an AI-based tool that helps advertisers to create and optimize ad campaigns across multiple platforms. It uses machine learning to analyze data and generate insights about which ad formats, placements, and targeting strategies are most effective.
- Emarsys: Emarsys is an AI-powered marketing automation platform that uses machine learning to analyze customer data and deliver personalized experiences. It can optimize campaigns across email, social media, mobile, and web channels.
- ReFUEL4: ReFUEL4 is an AI-based tool that helps advertisers to create and optimize ad creative. It uses machine learning to analyze data and generate insights about which creative elements are most effective.
- OneScreen: OneScreen uses AI for out-of-home ad delivery, targeting, and measurement. The company’s machine learning algorithm automatically optimizes which content and ads get shown to audiences, taking the guesswork out of out-of-home advertising.
- Pathmatics: Pathmatics uses AI to bring transparency and insight to advertising. The tool shows you exactly how your ads perform across channels and gives you competitive intelligence about how your competitors’ ads perform, fueling ideas for effective creative and placement.
- Beam.city: Beam.city helps clients affordably and quickly acquire customers with AI-powered ads on millions of sites. Beam.city uses AI to do automatic ads setup, monitoring, learning, and optimization pattern recognition. They also use AI to create predictive datasets for targeting personas based on where they live and work in Canada and the US.
- GumGum: GumGum is an AI-powered tool which uses computer vision technology to learn from images and videos across the web, then help you place ads in the exact spots consumers will see them.
- Adcuratio: Adcuratio is an AI-powered tool that can predict the performance of an advertising campaign by analyzing historical data and current market conditions. It can provide recommendations on budget allocation, target audience, and creative elements to optimize campaign performance.
- Blackwood Seven: Blackwood Seven is an AI-powered media planning and optimization platform that uses machine learning to analyze data and predict the impact of media campaigns. It can provide recommendations on media planning and budget allocation to help optimize campaign performance.
- IBM Watson Advertising: IBM Watson Advertising is an AI-powered advertising platform that can predict the performance of ad campaigns using machine learning algorithms. It can provide recommendations on ad creative, target audience, and media planning to help optimize campaign performance.
- MiQ: MiQ is an AI-powered marketing intelligence platform that can predict the performance of ad campaigns using machine learning algorithms. It can provide recommendations on media planning, target audience, and creative elements to help optimize campaign performance.
AI-powered tools available for generating ad copy:
- Copy.ai: Copy.ai is an AI-powered tool that uses natural language processing to generate ad copy, social media posts, and other types of content. It can generate copy in a variety of tones and styles and is trained on a large database of text to ensure high-quality results.
- Writesonic: Writesonic is an AI-powered writing assistant that can generate ad copy, product descriptions, and blog posts. It uses machine learning to analyze language patterns and generate copy that matches the tone and style of the user’s brand.
- Adext: Adext is an AI-powered ad optimization platform that can generate ad copy and optimize ad campaigns. It uses machine learning to analyze ad performance and adjust targeting, bidding, and creative elements to improve ROI.
- Writer: Writer.com is an AI-powered writing assistant that provides personalized writing feedback and suggestions. It uses natural language processing and machine learning to analyze text and provide suggestions on grammar, clarity, style, and tone. Writer.com can be used to improve a wide range of writing, including emails, blog posts, reports, and social media posts.
- Persado: Persado is an AI platform that helps advertisers to create more effective ad copy. It uses natural language generation (NLG) technology to generate copy variations and test them for effectiveness.
- Phrasee: Phrasee is an AI-powered tool that helps advertisers to create effective email subject lines and other marketing copy. It uses natural language processing (NLP) technology to analyze data and generate copy variations.
AI-powered tools available for generating images or videos:
- Canva: Canva is a popular design platform that uses AI algorithms to generate images and graphics. It has a range of design templates, including social media graphics, posters, and business cards, and uses AI to suggest layouts, colors, and font combinations based on the user’s preferences.
- Adobe Spark: Adobe Spark is a design tool that uses AI to generate graphics and videos. It has a range of templates for social media posts, web pages, and videos, and uses AI to suggest design elements and layouts that match the user’s brand.
- Lumen5: Lumen5 is an AI-powered video creation platform that can turn blog posts, articles, and other text-based content into engaging videos. It uses natural language processing to analyze the text and generate video scenes that match the content.
- VidMob: VidMob is an AI-powered video creation platform that uses machine learning to analyze video performance and optimize ad campaigns. It can also generate video ads using AI-powered templates that match the user’s brand and target audience.
- RunwayML: RunwayML is an AI-powered tool that can generate images and videos using machine learning algorithms. It can be used to create generative art, video effects, and other types of visual content.
Free AI tools for digital advertising
There are hundreds of free tools out there that can help you improve your advertising. Three tools to get you started:
- Google Trends: Google Trends allows you to research what type of queries people are searching. It can help you decide what type of message to put where.
- Google Search Bar: The Google Search Bar can give you insight on what people are searching. If you type in a partial phrase, Google’s machine learning algorithms will suggest common searches.
- Google Keyword Planner: Google Keyword Planner tells you which keywords to compete for with a breakdown of their costs and even what time of year to invest in them.
- WordStream: WordStream allows you to gain better SEO and SEM keywords by collecting data from every search engine on the internet, not just Google.
AI advertising pitfalls
This article shows that AI advertising can provide many benefits, but there are also some potential pitfalls to be aware of:
- Bias: AI algorithms can sometimes reflect the biases of their creators or the data they are trained on. This can lead to unintentional bias in advertising, such as gender or racial stereotypes. It’s important to carefully monitor AI algorithms to ensure that they are not perpetuating harmful biases.
- Lack of transparency: AI algorithms can be complex and difficult to understand, which can make it hard to identify issues or errors in the system. This lack of transparency can make it difficult to fully understand how decisions are being made and can lead to mistrust in AI-powered advertising.
- Privacy concerns: AI advertising often relies on data collection to target ads to specific audiences. This can raise privacy concerns if users are not aware of how their data is being used or if data is being collected without their consent.
- Over-reliance on automation: AI algorithms can be very effective at automating certain advertising tasks, but it’s important to balance automation with human oversight. Over-reliance on automation can lead to issues such as irrelevant or inappropriate ad placements.
- Cost: Implementing AI advertising solutions can be expensive, especially for small businesses. It’s important to carefully weigh the costs and benefits of AI advertising before investing in these solutions.
Marketing AI Institute: AI in Advertising: Everything You Need to Know
Marketing AI Institute: 3 Huge Advertising Problems You Can Solve with AI
Marketing AI Institute: 6 Tools for AI in Advertising
Marketing AI Institute: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to AI in Marketing
Marketing AI Institute: Use Cases for AI in Advertising
Marketing AI Institute: 4 Easy Steps to Get Started with AI for Digital Advertising
Marketing AI Institute: Why AI Is the Future of Advertising