What does AI mean for the future of…
Welcome to our exciting new blog series. In this collection of bite-sized, thought-provoking pieces, a panel of experts will dissect the latest advancements in AI, with a particular focus on generative AI, and explore how these developments will revolutionise our approach to marketing.
The power of AI technology in algorithms for digital advertising has been evident for quite some time. As algorithms continue to advance in power and capability, the era of painstakingly detailed audience strategies, campaigns meticulously segmented into micro target groups, and bids endlessly adjusted and tweaked by a team of diligent account managers is fading into the past. Gone are the heady days of allowing account managers only a brief half-hour lunch break for fear of letting the account run wild and untamed.
Welcome to the new era of broad audiences! Everything consolidated into one behemoth ad group, entrusting the ignition keys to the mysterious black box of Google and Meta's optimisation engines.
The reality is that hyper-granular targeting in our digital channels is no longer efficient or effective.
For our clients, we’ve already seen that Google and Meta’s AI-powered bidding technologies outperform detailed manual audience strategies and campaign builds. Transitioning to PMax, Google Ads' AI-driven optimisation tool that consolidates all Google ads inventory and formats into a single campaign, has led to remarkable increases in return on ad spend, often exceeding 50%. Additionally, shifting to broad audience targeting within single campaigns on Meta has resulted in significant reductions in cost-per-acquisition, ranging from 6% to an impressive 50%. As a result of the undeniable power of this tech, we now have the highest adoption of PMax of any agency in the UK.
With the diminishing need for intricate audience segmentation, the pressing question becomes: how can brands sustain a competitive edge in digital advertising when the same major players and big tech are accessible to everyone?
The solution, in my view, lies in a deep understanding of the audience and, most importantly, in the creation of high-quality content. Position yourself where others aren't, present your content in a format your audience hasn't encountered before. Dare to be distinctive, to be meaningful to them. Strive for relevance, contextuality, originality, and offer value that captures attention.
At Merkle, we've been reshaping our perspective on the role of our media planners. We've shifted away from a primary focus on who to target and moved toward a more central focus on how to engage them.
Step aside audience planning, welcome to the brave new world of content planning.
Audience profiling and insight remain vital for today's marketers, but with a focus on motivations and establishing connection. Digital marketing is always evolving, with a horde of new formats and platforms appearing seemingly daily. From image-rich search engine results to the expanding caverns of social media, we'll need all the help we can get to navigate this complexity…
Which is where AI will come to the rescue once again; generating and disseminating the vast amount of content demanded by the cyber-sphere.
A great example of content planning in action is the work our team have recently completed with Hilton: Understanding not just who the audience for Hilton are (with 46% owning a dog), but how to engage them (we see 65% of dog owners posting at least twice a week about their pets on social).
We collaborated with TripAdvisor to launch the world’s first online travel agent “run” by dogs, PupAdvisor. Now we could create social content that audiences actually wanted to see, completely at home on those platforms. We also built a custom hub within Tripadvisor that was entertaining and completely native to that website.
The social campaign surpassed all traffic targets and overall, we drove a whopping 12% increase in brand preference.
The most successful brands will adapt quickly to the changing landscape. They will have access to a deep specialist knowledge of digital media platforms, a rich, experience-based understanding of the messages that will connect and the ability to deliver them in the beautifully complex sprawl of digital media.
As a long-serving digital strategy specialist this is good news indeed for me and my team. If you’d like to understand how we can help you develop a successful approach to digital content, then get in touch with UK-Media-Planning&Strategy@merkleinc.com. Let’s chat!