Don't fear AI. Feed it.

Kyle Johnson, Head of Paid Media,

2023 has undeniably become the year of AI, with every product update, marketing summit, car launch, and business highlighting their use of AI. We counted 143 instances of AI being mentioned in Google's 2 hour IO Keynote earlier on the year alone!

With all the AI hype, the conversation has swiftly shifted towards concerns about AI replacing humans and questions about where we can continue to add value. While I can't guarantee that the world won’t be run by AI in the future, I do know that this won't happen anytime soon. AI still has much to learn from us, and from a paid media perspective, combining humans and AI really does equal the best outcome for performance.

Why We Don't Fear AI

At 26, we've always embraced new technologies, from early scripts for bid optimization to third-party bidding platforms like Marin, and now Google's Auction Time Bidding, which utilizes hundreds of signals to adjust bids in every auction to help advertisers meet their goals. Utilizing these technologies has consistently given us an edge when other advertisers have been slow to adopt, sceptical of the technology, and concerned about automating themselves out of a job.

The Need to Feed AI

AI relies on the input provided by humans to perform at its best. While using AI products alone often outperforms humans, combining human input to enhance data improves performance even further. So, how can you enhance data inputs? Here are the four main ways to feed AI and improve your performance:

Data Integrity and Measurement Future-Proofing

Ensuring data reliability is the first crucial step. AI using unreliable data results means you’ll underperform against your goals. Robust testing of your tagging setup and site's data layer to ensure accurate data extraction is essential to give AI the best chance. Simply setting it up and leaving it isn't sufficient in the world of GDPR with added consent measures, and depreciating third-party cookies. Implementing Enhanced Conversions, Consent Mode, and server-side tracking are a few ways to protect your data integrity as we move into the next year.

Shopping Feed Management

100% of search terms through shopping campaigns are generated based on the Shopping feed. Therefore, a well-optimized feed is vital if you want to meet your goals. Not only does a high-quality feed ensure customers can find you, but Google will also reward you with CPC savings for being more relevant.

Optimizing Towards Business Goals

Shifting marketing metrics such as CPA and ROAS towards business priorities like qualified leads, profit, and qualified calls can transform your account and help AI better meet your goals. Most advertisers using performance channels like Meta and Google still rely on basic unqualified conversions. By giving AI access to more data that shows them who your qualified customers are or how you generate the most profit, it can focus its bidding and find more of these valuable users.

Creative Excellence

Last but not least, creative elements are often overlooked but are a crucial driver for AI. While the industry has moved towards less complex, simplified account structures, creativity remains significant. Understanding your customers' barriers and motivations and incorporating them into compelling creatives that are suitable for the platform supports AI in pairing the right creatives with the right users. When done correctly, this can make you eligible for more inventory at lower CPMs/CPCs and support achieving a higher CTR, thereby helping you meet your objectives.

In 2023, AI has taken the marketing world by storm. While the fear of AI replacing humans looms, the reality is that AI still needs our guidance. Combining human input with AI yields the best performance. The future of AI in marketing looks promising when harnessed as a collaborative tool, not a replacement.*

Remember, you’re not competing against AI, you’re competing against other humans using AI.

If you'd like to see how we can help strengthen your Paid Media campaigns, get in touch with our team today.

*Summary written by AI.

Headshot of Kyle Johnson, with the 26 logo in the background.

Kyle Johnson, Head of Paid Media

 “We make sure brands are targeting carefully curated audiences, with personalised and highly effective ads, wherever these audiences are. By embracing data and machine learning, we’re effective at driving performance against business goals - and we’ve scooped a few industry awards in the process!”

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