Issue 01 - 2024MAGAZINETechnology
GBO_ Ads 2.0

Ads 2.0: The AI Takeover

Despite AI and its result-oriented data mining capability finding a foot in the ad industry, there are concerns about the tech replacing human workers

The year 2023 has all been about the rise of generative AI tools. Using AI assistants, one can compose essays and emails, apart from performing software coding.

A less discussed topic has been the use of this disruptive tech, along with Machine Learning (ML) in the advertising field.

A McKinsey study remarks, “With the ongoing step-change evolution of generative AI (gen AI), we’re seeing the use of open-source platforms penetrating to the sales frontlines, along with rising investment by sales-tech players in gen AI innovations. Given the accelerating complexity and speed of doing business in a digital-first world, these technologies are becoming essential tools.”

“Almost all major platforms (Google, Facebook, Amazon) and independent programmatic ones currently employ smart algorithms for ad campaign optimisation. Meanwhile, Google recently climbed upon a completely new level of AI implementation in ad tech by introducing generative AI tools that can already replicate the work of professional marketing agencies,” commented a Forbes report, titled “Intelligent Advertising: How Will AI-Powered Ads Reshape The Market?”

“Ad tech giants are trying to outpace each other in the race for product advancements by introducing new predictive, creative-making, and efficiency-raising AI campaign tools. As the AI craze fuels the competition, it raises the bar for everyone in the industry,” the article added further.

Knowing the topic in detail

Just like any other sector of the global economy, AI is supposed to disrupt the marketing and sales domains too. When it comes to product demand, the aspirations of 21st century customers know no leaps and bounds.

“Today’s customers want everything, everywhere, and all the time. While they still desire an even mix of traditional, remote, and self-service channels (including face-to-face, inside sales, and e-commerce), we see continued growth in customer preference for online ordering and reordering,” the McKinsey study commented.

The same study also found that the companies winning in the above scenario (by increasing their market share by 10% annually), are using advanced sales technology, apart from building hybrid human teams and capabilities. These businesses are also using tailored strategies for third-party and company-owned marketplaces, to cater for customers based on the latter’s needs, profiles, behaviours, and market interactions.

Benefits of AI deployment

AI’s superior speed and problem-solving capacities can be teamed up with human professionals to ensure optimum outputs in a quick time.

The McKinsey study also suggested that a fifth of current sales-team functions could be automated, while AI can help human professionals formulate insights on market trends and consumer behaviour patterns, before companies take proactive and informed business decisions.

AI tools can do quick and near-efficient data mining, thus giving sales teams the right analytics and customer insights to capture demand. AI can also offload and automate mundane sales activities, thus freeing up human professionals’ capacity to spend more time with customers.

A company can take the customer interaction game to the next level by deploying both the human and machine elements, thus capturing the consumer insights at the most granular level, before forming personalised marketing and sales offerings.

Generative AI’s advanced algorithms can find customer and market behaviour patterns by targeting and segmenting relevant data, thus easily generating lucrative business leads. Also, these tools can help businesses to optimise marketing strategies through elements like SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), predictive analytics and data-driven product recommendations for customers.

Generative AI, by using data analytics, can analyse customer and demographic behaviours and preferences, while guiding companies to draw up hyper-personalised products and services. By using emails, chatbots and 24/7 virtual support, human sales professionals can offer tailored product recommendations to the customers, apart from seeking feedback, thus resulting in higher engagement and conversion rates.

AI can even provide real-time negotiation guidance and predictive insights to these professionals based on a comprehensive analysis of historical transaction data, customer behaviour, and competitive pricing. Real-time next-step recommendations, continuous churn modelling based on customer behaviour, dynamic customer-journey mapping, and all these AI elements can help a business drive disruptive customer engagements.

The industry is on the evolution path

McKinsey report saw 90% of its surveyed businesses wanting to utilise generative AI solutions “often” by 2025.

The report also stated that the surveyed businesses have a clearly defined AI vision and strategy, with over 20% of their digital budgets being invested in AI.

Businesses are hiring data scientists and strategists to make the optimum use of AI’s analytical abilities.

Take the retail sector for example. As per reports from ‘Verified Market Research’ and ‘BDC’, investment in biometrics and facial recognition tech, which can measure finer details like shoppers’ body language, times spent by them and the products they look at the supermarket display racks, will reach over USD 11 billion by 2030.

Let’s shift our attention towards the legacy domain called televised advertisements. Jason Fairchild, the founder and co-CEO of tvScientific, imagines a scenario where with the generative AI’s help, advertisers will be able to create TV-ready video ads by providing text inputs. AI algorithms will then create multiple versions of the same ad with element-level differences. Differences like the gender of the actor featured in the ad, colour scheme or messaging, to more subtle alterations like frame rate, aspect ratio, types of clothing worn, volume, etc.

A Lucidworks survey saw 88% of its respondents agreeing about AI’s decisive role in the segment called ‘Search Engine Optimization’. AI can be the perfect tool for ventures trying to get their content ranked first in Google searches. AI tools can assist marketers in finding relevant keywords to boost their article rankings in Google. It can also predict SEO rankings for a specific targeted keyword, thus helping content writers tweak their content to get better reach and interactions on the internet.

AI can also help a business to create unique page titles, thus bringing more visitors to the company’s website. By taking care of meta description, image alt tags, and article backlinks, AI will ensure that the content writer has optimised his/her article to the fullest, as per SEO guidelines.

However, challenges remain

Despite AI and its result-oriented data mining capability finding a foot in the ad industry, there are concerns about the tech replacing human workers. A ‘BuiltIn’ survey has stated that AI has replaced some 1.7 million jobs globally since the beginning of the 21st century. However, things are going to be completely different in the ad industry.

ChatGPT, after its launch in 2022, also grabbed headlines for giving inaccurate answers to human prompts. This instance alone shows that disruptive tech is a long distance away from replacing human professionals completely.

In fact, conversational AI tools operate with data fed to them by human programmers. Here, you can’t rule out the element called ‘bias’.

Yes, AI-powered data mining will rule the roost in the ad industry in the coming days, but a complete reliance on the method will come with business risks as well. Companies will still be requiring human professionals to use their market knowledge to verify AI-generated data. So, a 50:50 ratio between the man and the machine will be the way ahead.

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