Media Measurement Artificial Intelligence Machine Learning

AI won’t take your job; it’ll help you do it better. Here’s how.

By Michael Nutley, Writer for The Drum

October 31, 2023 | 8 min read

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Leaders from Anthropologie, J Crew Factory, Molson Coors, Publicis, and Forrester join Meta to explore four ways AI is changing marketing at Advertising Week New York.

Meta panel at AWNY

Michelle Nagel, Rory McClenaghan and Bianca Bradford - Advertising Week New York 2023 / Meta

2023 will go down as the year generative AI burst into our professional and personal lives. The rise of ChatGPT brought home the power of AI in a tangible way, but all the furor also obscured some of the other ways the technology is changing the ways we live and work.

Meta’s contribution to Advertising Week New York 2023 was timely in showing the impact of AI on organizations from top to bottom, from the minutia of individual campaigns to putting marketing at the center of the business. Four effects were particularly exciting:

The end of the ‘one perfect ad’

One of the most revolutionary ideas of the whole week was introduced by Karin Tracy, Meta’s head of industry, retail, fashion, luxury. Speaking in a session called ‘Cracking the code of creative resonance and performance’, she suggested that the days of producing ‘one perfect ad’, that a brand would then place everywhere, were almost over.

“The amount of content in the world is overwhelming, and it’s hard to absorb, so the one perfect ad you create could easily be overlooked,” she argued. “But creative has never been more important. It’s the number one lever in terms of performance.”

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The next stage, she suggested, will be the alignment of human creativity and machine-driven ad placement. This, Tracy said, is creative-as-targeting. In the first step, generative AI tools will allow marketers to create a huge selection of variants on the basic campaign assets. Just before AWNY, Meta began rolling out its first generative AI-powered features for ad creatives in Ads Manager. These are background generation, which can create multiple backgrounds to complement an advertiser’s product images; image expansion, which automatically resizes images as required; and text variation, which takes the original ad copy and tailors it to different audiences.

After that, predictive AI can optimize a campaign to deliver the most relevant, resonant variant to each individual consumer.

The impact can be striking. As Elizabeth Preis, global chief marketing officer at specialist fashion and homeware retailer Anthropologie explained, first trials showed the brand could get better exposure to new customers more efficiently than before.

“More creative costs more, of course,” she said. “But we found we were ultimately able to reach more customers more efficiently, because spending media dollars on ads that don’t work is a waste of money.”

Test. Learn. Repeat.

Preis also pointed out that moving away from one perfect ad also plays into the current trend for a test and learn approach.

“We’re not going to get it right every time,” she said. “Now we can try things and take them down if they don’t work.”

Super-charging test-and-learn with AI was a theme that appeared across all the Meta sessions. As Jennifer Mehr, senior vice-president of marketing and ecommerce at J Crew Factory explained, using Meta Advantage, Meta’s portfolio of AI-powered automated business tools, to increase the speed at which the marketing team could test and learn led directly to them doing it more frequently, dramatically improving results. But she also pointed out the importance of staying within brand guidelines.

This idea was reiterated in a session when Michelle Nagel, senior marketing manager for Miller Lite at Molson Coors, talked about the brand’s approach to Reels.

“Whatever you’re doing, you have to make sure your brand has a role,” she said. “It’s low-risk to test, but you have to stay true to your brand and make sure your consumers see what they want to see.”

Another session that focused on increasing marketers’ use of iterative approaches was the one introducing Meta’s Measurement 360 concept. Kathleen Ollen, senior manager at Deloitte Consulting worked with Meta on the Measurement 360, which she described as an attempt to make measurement ‘always on’.

“We wanted to give marketers a way to test and learn across the entire marketing organization,” she explained.

Tell the story, unite the business

The second part of Measurement 360’s goal, Ollen said, was to help marketers explain to senior management what they’re trying to do, and have them buy into it.

“It’s really about going back to the beginning and establishing a business goal, then using a measurement framework that not only the CMO understands, but that the CFO is also bought into, so they believe in the results of the work marketing’s doing,” she said.

“CMOs are under pressure, so they need to have the business acumen, they need to understand digital media, but really it’s about telling the story. It’s connecting the work we’re all doing back to the bottom line and making sure everyone is speaking the same language.”

As part of this, Ollen highlighted the importance of AI in helping marketers parse the enormous amounts of data now available. But she also pointed out the need for there always to be a person in front of the data to deliver the insight and tell the story that data contains.

AI is my co-pilot

In a session about the over-arching impact of AI on marketing and marketers, Meta’s vice-president, global business group, Alvin Bowles talked about how AI is becoming the marketer’s ‘co-pilot’.

“At Meta, we understand the value of combining human and AI to put more time back into the process of being creative, more time into doing what’s best for the industry,” he said.

Bowles followed up by asking Jay Pattisall, vice-president, principal analyst at Forrester, what the real impact of AI on marketers’ jobs would be.

“We’re really talking about two things; predictive AI and generative AI,” Pattisall said. “The first lends itself to automating jobs, and the second lends itself to generative influence. The automation side is quite small. The generative influence is huge, and it hits across a much broader spectrum of employees. Process-oriented jobs are more likely to be completed more quickly and more effectively by a machine, while creative problem-solving jobs are much harder for a machine to replace. So people in the process-oriented jobs will upskill themselves into creative problem-solving, because that’s the area that’s going to grow.”

Visit the Meta Advertising Week New York content hub to watch all these sessions and more.

Media Measurement Artificial Intelligence Machine Learning

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