If you read marketing or tech blogs then the topic of AI is going to be all too familiar. As self confessed digital natives, we’ve been exploring and investing in AI for a while now at YS, specifically that of AI Performance Media. And our results to date have been very interesting.

But before we outline those findings, it’s worth taking some time to define what we actually mean by AI as it relates to Performance Media; there are different types.

Diving into the wonderful world of AI

If you sometimes find yourself confused about what people mean when they use the term AI, then you’re not alone. Today the term AI can stand for lots of different technologies designed to accomplish many tasks. To help clarify the confusion, we’ve broken AI Performance Media down into four levels of function.

Level 1. Machine learning optimisation

This type of AI is virtually ubiquitous and chances are you’ve used it already, maybe without realising it. Help and Search features in platforms like Google that analyse natural language patterns to interpret and answer your questions are examples of Level 1 AI. It also includes optimisations that occur automatically in Google Adwords and Facebook Business Manager. These things happen in the background of many digital platforms and we’re often not even aware of them. For this reason, Level 1 AI is really table stakes in today’s digital world.

Level 2. Intelligent recommendations

These AI integrate across a number of platforms and pull a range of data sets to give you a host of new and actionable insights, along with ways to view your data more holistically. Think of it as like having an augmented view of your systems.

Level 3. Intelligent action within a single platform

Going beyond mere optimisations and recommendations, Level 3 AI is where things start getting really interesting because we’re moving into the world of autonomous AI management. At this level, the process is only happening within the confines of one platform such as Adwords or Facebook Business Manager. Allowing the AI to assume direct and autonomous control of the account (within certain parameters) provides more efficient management and incremental gains over the performance that you would normally expect to see. It’s worth noting that there are no sure bets. But it’s also worth remembering that it’s early days and the efficacy of these AI are sure to improve over time. Watch this space (we sure are).

Level 4. Intelligent management across multiple platforms

Cross platform AI management the gold standard for AI Performance Media. (At least for now!) In our experience you need at least $40k total media spend per month to make it work. But what you get is an AI that can run your media across Adwords, Google Display Network, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And it can manage virtually everything for you. You provide the AI with a specific goal and a set of creative assets to use and it does the rest. The AI can establish its own testing strategies, and it creates its own accounts within platforms (that you still own) to target different groups of people. The AI will then test multiple messaging strategies across all of the platforms you give it access to. Over time it will optimise your media spend and put most of the money where it’s working the hardest. Same goes with the creative. It can even tell you when certain pieces of creative are ‘worn out’ or if it needs more of another type to optimise its strategy. And it’ll do all this 24/7. The only thing it can’t do is create the ads and creative assets it needs to operate. Maybe this will be Level 5 AI, who knows?

Does AI Performance Media work? 

The short answer is usually, but not always.

We’ve tried several Level 3 AI assistants so far; they’re the ones that run on one platform only. Depending on the client’s industry, some lifted performance by a healthy 20% to 30% while others had no appreciable effect. Interestingly, we never saw an instance where performance decreased because we added AI.

We’ve also had two trials using a Level 4 AI. On the first deployment it took around three weeks for the assistant to test and learn various strategies before it started returning results. But from that point on, the results have be an impressive 30-40% growth on top line revenue. The second result didn’t work so well though. The bot only managed to achieve about the same results as we did manually – in fact on the whole slightly worse. So sometimes the promise of big results doesn’t always deliver. 

So we can’t guarantee growth for everyone. But this tech is still developing. Overall we’re really excited by what we’ve seen of AI Performance Media tech. As we spend more time with it, and the AI gets smarter, the results will only improve.

Should your next hire be an AI Performance Media assistant?

If you’d like to know if AI Performance Media could give your ad spend more bang for its buck, we’d love to talk. If you’d like to find out more about our online marketing services don’t hesitate to contact us

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