How AI is Improving Advertising

How AI is Improving Advertising
Photo by Alice Dietrich / Unsplash

On November 1st, 2022, chatGPT took the world by storm. Like you, I will never forget my first hands-on experience with the tool. Excitement, optimism, anxiety, and fear were what I felt simultaneous. chatGPT offered us a hands-on experience with AI for everyone.

But artificial intelligence is not a novelty for advertisers; it's a technology that helped us make better daily decisions in the last decade.

Here is a personal take on how AI is changing advertising development, looking at the past, present, and future.  Take my predictions with a grain of salt; they are just predictions. I will use November 1st as the beginning of the chatGPT era.

The Pre-GPT Era, aka YESTERDAY

The traditional communication development cycle that begins with identifying the consumer opportunity or need -> agency brief -> big creative idea -> client feedback -> assets development has remained virtually unchanged for years.

Technology played an increasingly more significant role at each step, but without drastically shifting the flow.

We wrote longer briefs, we briefed more agencies, we gave less feedback, and we developed more assets. We squeezed timelines to do more, not because we have more tech.

The GPT Era aka TODAY

Today, everywhere you go, you hear about the death of the ad agency and the 100% automation of marketing or advertising to algorithms. While this is a possible future, we are still far from that.

At best, we still need the expertise to select the consumer benefit that will ignite a creative spark for big ideas. Yes, AI can be a big help in execution, but the early stages of the process are still "human-first.".

We just started including generative AI in the briefing process. We tested how generative AI could replace research or even executions. Still, we largely continued to use AI at every stage in the "old ways": from generating consumer insights via sentiment detection or attention measurement to optimizing in-campaign using automated algorithms to improve engagement and addressability.

The Post GPT Era, aka TOMORROW

Tomorrow, this all might change.

Our roles as marketers could become similar to that of an orchestra conductor, a conductor of an AI orchestra. We will browse the immense range of synthetically generated consumer insights to select the best opportunities to focus in our briefs. Adding a personal touch to all brief templates that can become more templates than unique briefs. And lastly, challenging creatives to come back with multiple big ideas, enough to A/B test them in execution.

AI will offer the most considerable short-term help to bridge the gap in asset development for the hundreds of formats and versions we now think we need for every campaign. Coming up with a unique creative big idea will be difficult for AI (hopefully), but creating versions of ads will not be hard.

Generative AI won't take our jobs; I see a bright future for our profession. But at the same time, it could shake us. It could accelerate the proliferation of work, making us busier and more stressed. Just because we can do AI can develop ten versions of the same ad, we should not be doing it. If we are not careful, that could also lead to a one answer fits all marketing approach.

When dialing up the science, we will probably hurt the art.