How to Start Using AI In Digital Advertising (and When To Stop)

By Jim Foreman| 7 Min Read | April 5, 2024
AI in Digital Advertising | AI in PPC | AI in Advertising

Everybody’s talking about AI. When ChatGPT dropped into our laps, it didn’t take long for marketers to start using it to do everything from planning their vacations to writing their legal briefs (please don’t do either of those things). 

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And yes, it’s 2024 and we’re still all talking about AI. 

You might even say we’re talking about AI even more than we were before. Pretty soon after you’ve started using these AI tools to do things for you, you start to bump against the limitations. The ad headlines it writes start feeling very samey, or the grammar it uses in the descriptions starts to sound robotic. 

Even if you haven’t tried ChatGPT, chances are AI is already part of your digital advertising toolkit. Platforms like Google Ads use it behind the scenes for tasks like:

  • Smart Bidding: AI can analyze real-time data to automatically fine-tune your bids, aiming for maximum conversions within your budget.
  • Audience Targeting: AI helps pinpoint the exact demographics and interests most likely to engage with your ads.
  • Responsive Ads: Using machine learning, AI can mix and match different headlines and descriptions to find the combos that resonate most with potential customers.

AI can do a lot, but it can’t do everything. Let’s get into it:

Where to Find Quick AI Wins

Let’s start with what you can do pretty much right away. Here are a couple of areas where it can start paying off fast:

Hyper-Personalized Ads

Think of AI as your customer data detective, piecing together a detailed profile of your ideal buyer. It digs into everything from purchase history to browsing patterns, figuring out what makes each individual tick. Using that intel, you can tailor your ads so they feel less like generic marketing and more like a personal recommendation. 

This precision targeting leads to higher engagement and a much better return on your ad spend.

Chatbots that Convert

Chatbots are a 24/7 sales assistant who never gets tired and always knows the right thing to say. AI-powered chatbots can offer tireless support, answering customer questions instantly and guiding them through the decision-making process. 

These bots can learn from each interaction, qualify leads, and even gently nudge potential buyers towards that checkout page. 

AI for the Creative Spark

AI can be a powerful spark plug for your advertising creativity, but it’s important to remember: it’s a tool, not a substitute for your marketing team. AI might replace everybody eventually, but not today (or tomorrow). Even so, there are ethical and smart ways to use AI when creating ads. 

Content Creation that Doesn’t Feel Robotic

Need a batch of punchy headlines? Stuck on a captivating product description? 

AI can brainstorm ideas, suggest variations, and even draft whole ad campaigns. This can be a fantastic way to break through writer’s block and get fresh perspectives flowing. The key is to use AI output as a starting point, then layer on your human touch to refine, polish, and give it that special something that only your brand can provide.

Stunning Visuals in a Snap

AI image generators can create eye-catching graphics, design layouts, and produce variations on your existing images. If you’re short on designers or need quick visuals for social media ads, this can be a lifesaver. 

Remember, human review is essential. Use your judgment to choose the images that align best with your brand messaging and resonate with your audience. 

It bears repeating: use AI in creative endeavors sparingly, if at all, and never without significant human intervention. Savvy users can smell AI from a mile away. 

AI-Powered Ad Optimization

AI can tirelessly analyze mountains of campaign data, from ad performance to audience behavior. This unlocks insights that might take a human weeks to uncover. 

Here’s how AI can help your advertising dollars work harder.

Let the Data Drive You

AI can monitor your campaigns in real-time and identify what’s working (and what’s not). This allows you to make continuous micro-adjustments to your budgets, targeting, and bidding strategies. You’ll squeeze the most efficiency out of every campaign instead of relying on broad-stroke guesswork.

Bid Smarter, Not Harder

AI-powered bidding tools can analyze patterns and predict the best bids for each individual ad placement. This takes the headache out of manual bidding and helps you win more ad auctions without overspending.

Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

AI is a powerful addition to your marketing repertoire, but you can’t ignore its limitations. There are areas where human judgment, creativity, and intuition still reign supreme:

The Essential Human Touch

Building trust and forging genuine connections with your audience requires an understanding of emotion and nuance that AI still struggles to fully replicate. The heart of your brand strategy, the sensitive handling of complex topics, and the overall voice of your messaging are best left to your expert marketing team.

Danger of Bias

AI learns from the data it’s fed. If that data contains hidden biases, the AI can perpetuate those biases in its output. Careful monitoring, ethical considerations, and an awareness of potential blind spots are absolutely essential to avoid unintentionally discriminatory or harmful content. This seems like an obvious concern, but it shouldn’t go unaddressed.

Ethical Considerations

The use of AI in advertising raises questions about transparency and consumer privacy. Being open about your use of AI and offering customers choices helps build trust. 

You Gotta Know When To Hold ‘Em

Kenny Rogers wasn’t singing about using AI to make or manage your digital ads, but the basic lessons remain: you have to know when to use the tools and when not to. 

If somebody is telling you they can replace everything you do to create, run, and optimize your ads with a single tool, they’re going to try selling you a bridge next. Don’t be a sucker. AI isn’t there yet. 

The key to success lies in strategic use – knowing when to harness the power of AI and when to lean into the irreplaceable human element.

At DOM, we know all about when to use AI (hold ‘em) and when not to (fold ‘em). We’ve been helping businesses just like yours for a long time with their ads, and we don’t take a penny of your ad spend for ourselves. 

Get started with the DOM difference today with a free consultation. 

Key Takeaways

  • AI is already integrated into many advertising platforms. Even if you’re not actively using AI tools, it’s influencing how your ads are served and optimized.
  • AI excels at streamlining tasks and data analysis. Use it for hyper-personalized targeting, chatbot interactions, and finding the best times and ways to bid to maximize your ROI.
  • AI can kickstart your creative process but shouldn’t replace it. AI-generated headlines, copy, and visuals are great for inspiration, but the human touch is needed to add finesse, brand voice, and emotional resonance.
  • Be aware of potential bias in AI output. Always review AI-generated content before publishing it to ensure your ads are fair, inclusive, and align with your ethical standards.
  • Strategic use is key. AI is a powerful tool, but it’s not a silver bullet. Combine AI’s strengths with your marketing team’s expertise and judgment to drive the best results.

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