If the hype is to be believed, AI is one of the most exciting innovations in the ad industry, with what tech can do, and what it will be able to do, set to change the world.
But while it’s tempting to go for the biggest and shiniest new AI solution, you should be very discerning about what is surface fluff, and what tech will actually make the most difference to the success of your business right now.
The thing is, despite the hype and visions of robots coming over the horizon, AI has been around for a while, and is very much here and happening. The tech you’re seeing now is what you can use now. If you sit around waiting for the future to arrive, you might find that other people are actually using what they’ve got in the present – to get ahead of you.
So, what to do? Well, it’s an old idea but it’s tried and tested: start small, start now, but start something. There is plenty of basic AI that marketers can be using to improve workflow or use A/B testing to identify the best subject line for an email campaign. Machines are already capable of lightening our load by taking on small jobs which save time – so don’t waste it waiting for what might be arriving in the future.
So, you start small and build slowly. Get the foundations firm and complete and then you can build more complicated features of AI into your campaigns from a position of strength and understanding, rather than one of starry-eyed enthusiasm. Remember that AI is a tool like any other with specific strengths for a specific purpose. Using it, for example, to create reams of data just because you can, is meaningless unless you analyse that data and use it for a purpose – not to mention a waste of money and time.
You have the opportunity through the AI that exists now, to understand your audience better and in a more nuanced way. Instead of simply pushing more and more ads, through AI you have the opportunity to target them in a much more specific, less scatter gun way. This means that you’ll have a far better understanding of when, where, how and how much to engage with them. More efficiency, less waste. And, of course, by not bombarding consumers with the same message, on the wrong platform, at the wrong time, they are likely to be much more receptive when you do capture their attention. Remember quality, not quantity, is key.
Be consistent. Long-term success will not come if you jump from new technology to new technology, at different times, in different areas, just because it’s there. Across your team you need to adopt a unified and consistent approach – it’s not a competition to see who the best is at using AI. Just make sure, whatever you’re using it for – optimisation, data stories etc. – that you implement it consistently across all platforms.
Pay attention to detail and be strategic. This way your message will be consistent to consumers and more likely to have the desired result. Yes, it takes a bit of bravery to jump in and get on with it, but if you wait for the next thing to come along, you’re missing out on what AI can do for you now.
And then, when the future AI does arrive, you’ll be in a great position to know what to do with it.