“A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers” – Plato.  

Instead, it should read, “A good decision is based on knowledge and not solely on the numbers” – Rishad Tobaccowala

In the modern era, however, we have bared witness to numerous examples of how the numbers, when leveraged by artificial intelligence engines, can actually make smarter decisions than humans with all of the knowledge in the world.   Most AI advances in digital marketing leverage the economies of scale that humans just can’t provide. The earliest example in my career of this was when Target predicted when someone was pregnant before her parents even knew, based on shopping behaviors and patterns.    Predictive analytics at Starbucks that accurately guess what coffee you get on which day of the week.  Personalized headlines from Chase that increase conversion rates by 21%.  

This is why nearly all companies are exploring ways to leverage AI, with marketing and advertising departments leading the way. A 2018 survey from Accenture, found that marketing functions were some of the most popular areas for deploying AI solutions, with more than 66% saying it was currently being used in marketing.   Across all industries, executives see predictive analytics and real-time operations management as the top 2 areas where AI can drive business results – and this is exactly how AI is best leveraged with digital media campaigns.

At Coegi, we take an agnostic approach to the vetting and deployment of ad technology.  It’s an important part of our philosophy as a company because it allows us to focus specifically on our client’s goals above all other considerations.   This includes our selection and deployment of artificial intelligence tools. There will never be a one-size-fits-all approach that works for all advertisers and in all situations.  Depending on our client’s goals and needs, artificial intelligence engines can be applied to media planning, creative messaging or buying optimization, and the tools leveraged for each of these cases vary.  For media planning, AI lets us analyze a brand’s site visitation patterns and social media following before a campaign launches, allowing us to leverage a ‘pre-optimized’ media campaign. It is a technique that has shown great efficiency with Volkswagen.

While it’s clear that AI can be a valuable component to any marketing campaign, having the skills to know when and how to deploy AI technologies is even more valuable. A fully automated campaign will not provide the same learning opportunities as one that is managed with a human touch.  As AI becomes more and more heavily integrated with the marketing world, the most comprehensive campaigns will be managed by skilled marketers who find the right balance between machine learning and manual efforts to test theories, garner insights and deliver results for their clients. 

Author: Ryan Green, Senior Director of Strategy