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Harnessing AI: Transforming Creative Development In Advertising

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AI is the belle of the ball in advertising industry media coverage. It’s impossible to take a twirl around the dance floor without tripping over another article about AI and advertising. Yet advertising professionals and consumers hold contrasting perspectives on AI. A Yahoo and Publicis Media study found that 77% of advertisers hold a positive sentiment toward AI compared to only 38% of consumers.

Advertisers see the value in AI. Eighty-six percent have already used an AI-enabled tool to move faster and stay relevant by personalizing messaging to match the needs of prospective buyers. Still, there’s plenty of potential that remains untapped. When it comes to developing creative, large language models (LLMs) have yet to master the craft.

As the majority of the advertising industry heads to the French Riviera next week for Cannes Lions, the industry needs to explore additional ways to use AI across all aspects of creative development, from increasing production scale and accelerating personalization to considering an alternative to A/B testing.

Combining AI and human talent can streamline production

To keep up with the media landscape’s swift speed, brands need to generate creative assets quicker than ever before. However, 95% of advertisers face challenges when building and managing creative, according to a recent Yahoo and Advertiser Perceptions study. Amid the rush and pressure, quality suffers, which can make or break a campaign.

While some futurists tout the promise of AI, it’s actually the marriage between a talented human and a powerful AI engine that produces the best results.

Imagine one set of creative assets withstanding a full year sans burnout in effectiveness, with AI enabling a designer to swap a summery background for a snowy winterscape. Or suppose we needed an image of an SUV to go from a zoomed-in asset to a large-scale DOOH experience. AI can frame it in a beautiful mountainscape by expanding the background of the image and adding in features prompted by the designer.

The artful eye of a designer can uphold creative quality when AI falls short, while AI delivers unprecedented scale. With an AI companion, marketers can refine creative workflows and advance production with image creation, image editing, image fill and more. It’s essential, however, that the partnership is a responsible one. That means all images are ethically sourced with proper attribution to artists.

What, like it’s hard? The ease of dynamic personalization

Delivering personalized creative in real time requires careful orchestration to ensure the right advertisement is reaching the right user. This can be extremely labor intensive, but AI can play a critical role in increasing efficiency.

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Another survey Yahoo conducted with Advertiser Perceptions found over half of advertisers agree it’s time-consuming to build the necessary assets to make dynamic creative optimization (DCO) work. DCO allows advertisers to use real-time insights to build and optimize the creative performance while the ad is being served. Although DCO has been around for many years, AI is accelerating personalization through image classification and image transformation.

With AI, teams can better automate the initial content analysis of images and videos within a digital asset manager, including object detection, segmentation and classification for personalization. And to update images, AI can simplify common image manipulation tasks like color change, resolution enhancement, blurring or sharpening and background removal.

Not your grandma’s A/B testing

A/B testing has long been a staple in marketing content development, from website copy to email marketing subject lines. There are still many areas where this methodology is effective, but AI offers another option.

To enhance decision-making and maximize every impression, advertisers can use AI-powered multivariate testing and optimization. By eliminating the need to manually create hundreds of variations, multivariate testing increases performance by enabling advertisers to iterate quickly. Additionally, AI-based optimization drives performance and automatically pauses underperforming creative, ensuring only top-performing ads are served.

When harnessed correctly and enabled responsibly, AI has the capacity to accelerate creative ingenuity, speed and, most importantly, brand outcomes. Each of these advancements ensures advertisers can be leaner and more effective with their resources at each stage of the creative production process.

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