By Josh Dorward

Generative AI tools promise to solve digital marketers’ creative challenges, but they fall short on brand consistency and quality, says Josh Dorward (general manager, Creative Automation). Here’s the missing piece of the puzzle.

Imagine that you’re a digital marketer responsible for managing paid media across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Chances are that at least three of your hair-on-fire problems boil down to not having the video and image assets that you need, on time, at scale.

  • Ad fatigue: The dropoff in performance (and the related increase in cost per result) when your audience has been overexposed to the same creative. This is primarily driven by a shortage of fresh campaign creative. (Meta’s guidance on combating ad fatigue: “Create a new ad with a new video or image that is materially different from the original creative.”)
  • A/B testing limitations: A/B testing is wildly popular – with 77% of companies reporting running A/B tests on their homepages. But it’s less common to see robust A/B testing in digital advertising – with ads missing from the list of most common A/B testing domains (website, landing page, email, and search). That’s because ads are significantly more resource-intensive, as they require tens–if not hundreds–of alternative video and image assets to properly test everything from calls-to-action and headlines to product displays and vfx overlays.
  • Personalization challenges: Every digital marketer dreams about delivering perfectly tailored ads based on everything from the local weather to a user’s next-best action. But it can be time-consuming and impractical to create multiple versions of a creative asset for each granular audience segment.

So, you’re under the gun to deliver ROAS and can’t magically multiply your creative team.

What can you do?

Where generative AI soars – and where it falls short

Generative AI (genAI) tools – like Dall-E and Midjourney – promise to transport digital marketers to a paradise free of creative bottlenecks. (Check out this article for a breathless review of the march of progress and some cool inspiration.)

Here’s the premise: instead of requiring costly photoshoots and dedicated design work, what if genAI tools could enable marketers to automatically specify every element of their ideal digital ad?

Want to alter the look of your model based on the demographic of a customer segment? Easy. Change the background of your photoshoot based on the weather conditions across 50 local markets? Nothing simpler.

It’s a great vision. The problem is that, well, it doesn’t work all that well. (Yet.)

As recapped here, generative AI tools tend to struggle with brand consistency (e.g., making sure that images match your e-commerce brand’s winky, irreverent personality) and quality control (e.g., making sure that all humans have five fingers).

It’s clear that there’s a missing piece in the creative stack for marketers to truly take over.

Marketers need creative “connective tissue”

Digital marketers need a new type of technology to help connect the raw potential of genAI platforms with the practical constraints and needs of digital advertising platforms.

Think of it as creative connective tissue. The translation layer between raw creative assets – whether it’s manually-shot photos or genAI-produced imagery – and the specific requirements for scaling on-brand imagery for digital advertising. The glue that brings together your brand’s creative DNA (look and feel) and the specific requirements (size, resolution, etc.) of your ad platforms.

Platforms like Creative Automation – the latest offering from image and video leader Cloudinary – exist to transform output from generative AI platforms into immediately useful digital ads at massive scale. Creative Automation takes your favourite design and maps each element to a spreadsheet, leaving marketers and creatives to simply add new data rows to quickly generate your new design variations. In the process it offers digital marketers:

  • Brand control: Full control over design elements in templates created in popular Adobe design tools, and the power to determine its placement, size, animation style, and final appearance without dragging and dropping for every variation.
  • Dynamic templates: Creative Automation streamlines tasks such as resizing, substituting, moving, and translating visual elements across different aspect ratios for all your audiences, products, etc.
  • Streamlined quality control processes: Generating and testing on-brand design variations is as easy as editing a spreadsheet, allowing marketers to overcome the back-and-forth with designers that come with scaling to all audiences.

Revolutionizing the digital ad world

GenAI has the potential to unleash digital marketers’ imagination and ultimately deliver ad experiences that are more relevant (and enjoyable) to consumers.

But for now, digital marketers need a creative translation layer to go from raw genAI output to on-brand experiences at scale. Platforms like Creative Automation can unlock immediate performance improvements across your ad landscape by harnessing – and channeling – the power of genAI today.

By Josh Dorward

Sourced from The Drum

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