How will AI *actually* change advertising?

Like most folks, I’m getting tired of AI dominating the narrative of every article. Although there’s a lot of agreement that we’re witnessing a fundamental shift in the world, there's not a lot of intelligent rhetoric on how it will actually change an advertiser’s daily life. You can wade through 100-page manifestos where Open AI researchers claim AI will be “able to automate basically all cognitive jobs”, or watch Elon Musk haltingly hand-wave an assertion that AI will “provide universal high-income [and make] work optional” for all of humanity, but it's not practical or helpful in understanding how it will impact our daily lives.

I can think of four main themes in how AI will change our future as mobile growth leaders:

  1. ML takes on targeting and campaign optimization: We’re already doing this today; Google’s PMax and Meta’s Advantage Shopping Campaigns are using broad-based ML targeting and feedback loops to increase the efficacy of performance advertising. This takes the bidding and targeting strategies out of advertiser hands and puts them into a much more diligent and scalable algorithm. While it takes away visibility and customization, it allows for very scalable and effective performance advertising.
  2. GenAI runs ad creative creation and optimization: Again, this is already happening in-market. Meta and Google are testing this today, but there are smaller players already running at scale. The folks at Poolday are auto-generating TikTok creative, creating scary-realistic influencer ads. This will decrease cost and effort in creative production and testing, leading to better performing (and more cost-effective) advertising.
  3. SEO will become “AIO”: Google has announced the insertion of sponsored results into AI Overviews, hinting at future branded AI suggestions. This is especially advantageous to Google as it can heavily rely on the existing keyword framework — the backbone of its incredibly successful search ads business — for context to intelligently provide helpful AI suggestions with no need to change workflows. As this use case matures, I expect to see innovators quickly start to learn methods for measuring and optimizing this new ad paradigm.
  4. Finally, Apple Intelligence Advertising: Apple’s WWDC announcement of Apple Intelligence, which allows users to string in-app actions together via the App Intents framework, signals a coming gold rush of opportunity where apps will learn how to choose, market, and measure how App Intents drive user behavior. It’s not a stretch to see App Intents take the shape of the App Search Ads, where apps will bid on popular terms for a chance to get in front of the user. And even if it doesn't turn into an ad network, it’ll certainly be an opportunity for analytics and optimization.
Adam Landis

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