AI Comes in Many Shapes and Sizes: Which Ones Are the Best Fit to Transform Your Marketing Operations?

By David Spencer, Chief Technology Officer, Acceleration, A WPP Company

Artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping the digital world, with Google looking to use generative AI to enhance its search engine and to leverage the technology to drive deeper engagement with consumers and advertisers alike including the ability to drive onsite personalisation further.

But generative AI is part of a much larger family of AI technologies. One that has a variety of use cases which can help transform marketing efforts and drive performance. So, how can marketers make the most of AI and adopt the technologies best suited to their needs?

AI will shape the future of marketing

AI is a powerful helping hand that can do the heavy lifting for many elements of marketing operations. Between 2018 and 2022, the average number of AI capabilities used by organisations doubled, with 70% of businesses that leverage AI for marketing and sales seeing an increase in revenue as a result. AI capabilities are being used to streamline complex tasks, automate time-consuming ones, and execute strategies that contribute to greater commercial success.

It is also critical to note that human oversight and intelligence will direct this helping hand to generate results. AI will continue to need the regulation, knowledge, and innovation of humans to develop it in a way that is ethical and effective. Ensuring transparency is a priority for both of these points. The humans using AI must have a clear understanding of how the algorithm works to make certain it is unbiased and delivers the best output.

AI in action

With the right expertise, AI solutions can be customised to address specific business challenges using a range of capabilities, including:

Expediting data processing with AI — AI can be used to intake huge quantities of text, identify patterns, and recognise and produce natural human language. Adding a conversational interface(chatbot) to query all available business data using LLMs to drive outcomes in less than a second would change the pace business can identify opportunity and act. It will become more about questioning vs having to task teams to build views into the business to answer those burning questions each time. Investing in foundation to facilitate AI at scale is key and would have significant benefit in cost saving in time to answer, content and scale.

Universal Pictures, for instance, used AI to automate the process of categorising its rapidly expanding film database and achieve time efficiencies. AI allowed us to quickly create a common code base to ingest data from various sources. Given that Universal Pictures’ database consists of more than 500,000 titles, the time spent to manually gather and compare the data required to define categorisations would be over 41,660 hours. This laid the foundation for applying AI to build out better customer segmentation and insight in future.

Using AI, the entertainment titan decreased the time needed for data processing by 67%. This enabled Universal Pictures to generate marketing insights more quickly and inform impactful optimisations to maximise performance.

Identifying high performing creative with automated meta-analysis — The ability to refine ad creative based on performance maximises results and AI enables marketers to automate the assessment of thousands of creative iterations. When a leading automotive brand aimed to optimise video performance across more than 1,000 creatives, it used AI to evaluate which aspects of the creative made a positive impact on audiences.

The AI tool extracted detailed insights on the videos’ content, audio, text, logos, subtitles, artistic background, and more, automatically creating a database of attributes. With this database, the automotive brand could conduct a meta-analysis of which attributes had historically delivered the best performance. The brand was then able to craft an ad creative that was optimised for their marketing goals.

Turbocharging performance with predictive capabilities — With human insight and past data, AI can be applied to precisely forecast future events. For marketers, this allows them to rapidly compute the results they can expect from their media plans. When every penny of media spend must deliver measurable performance, predictive AI is beneficial for calculating the most likely outcomes and informing more impactful decisioning.

Following the in-depth meta-analysis of its ad creative, the leading automotive brand leveraged predictive AI capabilities to forecast how each creative would perform. The findings then informed which creatives would be deployed in the video campaign, maximising performance.

After categorising its film titles, Universal Pictures also used its database to not only carry out internal reporting and competitive analysis, but predict how its new releases would perform as well. This allowed it to set realistic performance targets for new film titles and allocate media budgets accordingly across social, paid search, and display.

AI offers marketers an extensive suite of capabilities that can complement one another to boost marketing performance. When fuelled by quality data and controlled by human oversight and expertise, AI can be customised to unique business needs. From automating data processing and meta-analysis to accurately forecasting the impact of marketing efforts, these technologies are and will continue to be highly valuable to marketers.

Tags: AI