A.I. In Digital Marketing. Is This The End?

Okay, we’re admittedly about 9 months late to the party, but we’ve really started to mess around with AI applications in our day-to-day operations and it’s cathartic to report just how terrified we truly are. There’s no need to put on a brave face here – we should all be a little nervous about the potential impact AI will have on our profession. But until the rise of the machines takes place (we’re guessing March 2024), we’re going to leverage this groundbreaking technology to make our efforts as an agency smarter, faster and (shockingly) more human.

Here’s how:

1. Data-Driven Decision Making: AI is a data-crunching wizard, capable of analyzing vast amounts of information at lightning speed. By integrating AI-powered analytics tools, we’re able to make more informed decisions based on real-time data insights. These data-driven decisions ensure that our strategies are not based on gut feelings but on concrete evidence, leading to better-targeted campaigns and improved ROI.

2. Personalization at Scale: One of the greatest challenges we face is delivering personalized experiences to each customer. Through AI-driven algorithms, we can segment audiences more accurately, tailoring content and offers based on people’s individual preferences. This level of personalization fosters stronger customer relationships, boosts engagement and increases brand loyalty.

3. Predictive Analytics for Future Planning: This is where things get scary. We used to rely solely on historical data to plan marketing initiatives, because time machines still haven’t been invented (we’re guessing April 2025). With AI-driven predictive analytics, we can now forecast future trends and customer behavior that enable us to create proactive strategies, launch timely campaigns, and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

4. Automated Campaign Optimization: This one is kind of in motion already with “machine-learning” based campaigns like Performance Max and Advantage+ Shopping. These campaigns let the robots take the wheel in optimization, running A/B tests, analyzing results, and making real-time adjustments to optimize ad placements, messaging, and targeting. We’ve got lots of these campaigns live right now, and they’re terrifyingly effective.

5. Content Creation Assistance: While AI still cannot be trusted to generate all of your marketing content (we’re guessing September 2023), it can be a great thought-starter to get the ball rolling. From generating topic ideas to optimizing headlines and even suggesting improvements in writing style, AI tools can help marketers produce rock solid content faster. The machines can take the first draft, leaving us to make it fun, pretty and engaging

All in, AI is not going anywhere so we have no choice but to embrace our robot friends, give them lots of tera bytes (or whatever it is they eat), and leverage their advanced capabilities to help elevate our efforts to new heights. They will lay the ground work, and we will step in to leverage the findings, put our unique twist on it, and generate numbers greater than we ever thought possible. “Let us embrace this era of AI-driven marketing, where creativity meets cutting-edge technology, and forge ahead confidently into a future where performance is better than ever before.” – The AI engine we used to write this article.


Is Your Product Fun? Asking For A Friend.

Is your product fun? That might seems like a ridiculous question for a business owner to consider, but when it comes to managing your media budget, it’s actually kinda crucial. 

If you’re selling something fun like sunglasses or finger puppets that make your hand look like a squirrel, then you want to focus your spend on days/times when people are just hanging out like nights and weekends. 

On the other hand, if you sell something like a B2B software (looking your way FIXE) or a life-altering product like an engagement ring (now looking at you Plum), then you’re not going to have much luck selling your product while people are sipping margaritas poolside. Rather, you’re going to want to find these people when they’re caffeinated, wearing shoes and ideally sober.

Here are the questions to ask:

– Is paying for your product/service part of someone’s job?

– is it a high consideration product that requires significant research?

– Is your price point outside of your target customer’s comfort zone?

– Do you sell something other than squirrel finger puppets? 

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, I’m sorry to tell you that your product is decidedly not fun, and you should plan your media push accordingly so that you don’t waste money or misclassify creative as underperforming, when really it was just not the right time or place.


Yes, But What IS Your Strategy?

No term gets abused more in the digital marketing space than “strategy.”

People fling this term around, giving it 12 different meanings, and usually none of them are correct.

Here’s how we define it: A marketing strategy is your game plan for how you get someone from complete stranger to lifelong customer. It explains in the highest level terms possible how to make them aware of the product, get them to trial it and ultimately to buy more and tell their friends, family and mailman about it.

Seems simple enough, and yet so many people skip the strategy step because they want to be on Tik Tok or do a tap through instagram story like that brand they think is cool.

You would draft a blue print if you were building a house, so why would you treat your brand any differently?


Of Course Facebook Ads Work

Attribution is simultaneously the best and worst thing to happen to digital media. The ability to point to a sale and correlate it back to the ad that drove it is what make the digital media landscape so powerful. It’s not the spray and pray approach of print, radio or tv. You can narrow down your audience, target your communication and identify all of the sales that result from the campaign. In some cases you can even look at the specific image or line of copy that produced the sale. It’s a beautiful thing.

However, much like Disney cartoons and the moon, there is a dark side to attribution, in that it makes marketers and clients alike short sighted in the way they view results. If a campaign does not immediately deliver a positive ROAS, it’s considered a bust, and quickly discarded in favor of the next campaign, which is held to the same standards. The issue with this approach is that the sales cycle can take longer than the 7-day click attribution window offered by most platforms. People need time to check out your product, talk to their friends, and decide if that cable knit sweater or collagen powder is right for them. This may take longer than 7 days, and yet, that doesn’t mean the campaign that made them aware of the brand or the site is a failure.

Things only got worse with the release of IOS14 and their privacy changes, which obscured even more sales from being tracked in platform. CPA’s went through the roof and ROAS’s went into the toilet, and all of a sudden people started asking if Facebook ads actually work. Of course they work, ya moron. The fact is that Facebook (and by that we mean Facebook and Instagram) remains the most efficient effective media channel for digital sales. There.. we said. Whether you can directly see the sale or not, no other advertising channel provides the targeting capabilities, creative freedom, machine learnings, reach or effectiveness of Facebook. It is engaging, but not so engaging that users are unwilling to abandon the platform to go check out your site or app.

Quite simply, Facebook and instagram need to be the back bone of any digital customer acquisition strategy and other channels are simply top of funnel complements until proven otherwise.