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To erase the line between man and machine: why marketers should embrace AI’s ascension 

by Staff GBAF Publications Ltd
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By Gustav Westman, Founder & CEO at Brightbid

What do The Matrix, Ex Machina and Alien all have in common? 

Aside from being smash hits at the box office, these films broke new ground in their portrayal of AI as the ultimate villain – a warning to anyone thinking of putting their trust in machines. 

But whilst Agent Smith, Ava and Ash are all icons of the silver screen, they are a reflection of outdated fears. Technology has become an integral part of the modern world. It increases the efficiency of whatever task it is applied to – and advertising is no exception. 

Digital marketers spend their lives trying to understand their audience and their changing needs. Timing is everything. Knowing when, where and how to reach out to prospective consumers is the difference between a positive return on ad spend and a negative one. Consistently delivering ads to ‘high intent’ prospective consumers is key to maintaining acceptable cost-per-click and cost-per-conversions – this is where AI works to set campaigns apart. 

Not by ending the world. But simply by unlocking improved conversion rates whilst minimising your total spend.

A landscape in flux

Digital advertising is going from strength to strength in 2022. ISBA reports that 67% of UK advertisers are reducing television spend in favour of digital media – with AA-WARC forecasting that search advertising spend will hit £3.4bn during Q4, representing a 7.3% rise from the previous year. 

But brands cannot be complacent in the fight for eyeballs. Standing out from the crowd has become increasingly difficult post-pandemic, with more businesses vying for market share. And whilst the latest IPA Bellwether Report revealed that 22% of UK companies increased their marketing budgets during Q3, rising inflation means that the total UK advertising market will grow less than 2% this year. 

Digital marketers face an uphill battle trying to maintain the status quo. Increasing ad spend is one viable option – but exploring new search strategies that focus on efficiency should be the priority. 

Utilising Google Ads’ in-built AI tools is a positive start. Automated bidding improves time management for marketing teams but can be a ‘black box’ that’s hard to rectify if it goes off track. Adding bespoke AI tools on top of Google’s enables marketers to have greater control over their investment and keep the train on the rails. It ensures ads appear in front of relevant, ‘high intent’ audiences. Overall impressions may fall when pursuing this strategy – but the boost to total return on ad spend (ROAS) makes this a worthwhile trade-off. 

Two is better than one

Google Ads’ tools provide a solid foundation – but relying solely on them is a risky strategy. Brands can struggle to distance themselves from direct competitors and the tools’ ‘one-size-fits-all’ nature means hitting specific performance goals can be far from straightforward. 

Tailored solutions which cater to particular requirements are vital for a seamless advertising strategy. Introducing a supplementary AI engine which can work in tandem with Google’s own automated software can be the catalyst to navigating complicated consumer conversion journeys with ease. 

AI’s ability to process massive amounts of data within seconds allows you to effortlessly identify keyword trends and tailor campaigns to your niche audiences. Your team can subsequently concentrate its efforts into ventures more in-keeping with their talents – such as developing creative advertising concepts or testing new channels. Technology shouldn’t be viewed as the replacement to marketers – rather, it can augment their efforts and allow them to focus on tasks that only humans can do. 

Consumers crave relevant experiences – and this doesn’t just apply to the content they are consuming. Hyper-personalised advertising is the new frontier. 72% of consumers acknowledge they only engage with personalised messaging. AI can facilitate personalisation on a macroscale and test this approach in flight enabling marketers to deploy A/B variants of copy. This is a stepping stone to better understanding what resonates with audiences. 

Technology’s back-end support cannot be overlooked. Brands have their work cut out trying to control search engine results page (SERP) rankings. AI-powered tools will automatically scan your website in search of underperforming elements which can be improved. 

Never send a human to do a machine’s job

Agent Smith may have been a character bent on destruction – but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t capable of insight. Technology was an easy target for fear-mongering twentieth century filmmakers. The world has come a long way since. Its ability to deliver efficient processes is unrivalled – and nowhere is this more apparent than in marketing circles. 

Google Search is the cornerstone of modern marketing. Brands, however, cannot remain stagnant. AI and machine learning have the potential to enhance ad campaign effectiveness – but only when coupled with human expertise.