AI answers a pressing need for digital advertising

Here's how advertisers can test and curate their digital ads to best drive brand lift.
03 October 2022
Glass prism
Duncan Southgate
Duncan
Southgate

Senior Director, Creative & Media Solutions, Kantar

Kerry Benson
Kerry
Benson

VP, Content Analytics, North America

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You all know the story. Responding to shifts in consumer behavior, advertisers are seeking to leverage the power of digital to build brands, drive traffic, and promote products. In 2022, it is expected that digital advertising will take over 60% of global ad spend, with digital video and social media advertising accounting for a substantial proportion of that spend. And digital spend is only expected to rise in 2023, according to Kantar’s latest Media Reactions study, with online video leading the way.

Digital advertising is becoming a high stakes investment

Digital advertising is now the biggest game in town, but many advertisers are still grappling with how best to place their bets. As the scale and quality of digital campaigns has increased, so too have the table stakes. Ensuring a good payoff is front and center in most advertisers’ minds, but that is not easy when so much content is produced, and in a wide variety of formats. Further, when it comes to brand building, most of the expected consumer response is attitudinal, and not just behavioral.

Brand lift studies are a leading way to measure digital impact

To assess the impact of their digital brand campaigns, many advertisers turn to brand lift studies. Since the very first brand lift study in 1996, the methodology has evolved to become an industry standard, with the impact of tens of thousands of digital campaigns being measured every year. Advertisers use these studies to assess overall campaign efficacy, guide important media choices, and learn for the future. But no matter how useful and widely used, one problem remains. Most studies are only reported at the end of a campaign. And what most advertisers really want to do is identify their best performing creative before their campaign runs, so their campaigns pack the most punch.

Link AI for Digital now predicts brand lift before your campaign runs

To answer that need, the power of AI is already being used to quickly predict the likely efficacy of digital content. Until now, however, pre-screening was limited to predictions of viewers attitudes towards the creative and their likely behavioral interaction with the ad. Brand lift metrics still needed to be captured post-campaign. But now that has all change. Link AI for Digital on Kantar Marketplace can now test content at scale to indicate which ads will best drive brand lift, in addition to providing behavioral and attitudinal response insights.

For the first-time, advertisers can get a holistic, cost-effective prediction of the likely brand impact of their creative content, at scale, and in as few as 15 minutes. This allows you to scale your creative testing programs beyond the key, “must win” campaigns, to ensure that a higher proportion of ads are likely to meet brand building goals such as building awareness and driving consideration.

Use cases for AI in creative testing

While Link AI for Digital answers a widespread need for many advertisers, the application of AI has opened new opportunities to test and learn. Adding brand lift metrics into the mix only makes these opportunities more valuable. For instance,

  • As the investment in digital advertising scales, so too does the investment in producing digital assets. To ensure that money is well spent, AI can be used to iteratively test likely brand impact and optimize content in real time.
  • Many companies enable global access to their digital brand assets, but creative content often performs differently across cultures. AI can be used to test content to identify the ads most likely to work in a destination country.
  • Competitive testing can be a bit of a holy grail, with most advertisers understanding the value but not having the time or budget to execute. AI changes that making assessments of the creative landscape quick and economical. Breaking campaigns can be tested in minutes, and the results used to inform both tactical and strategic decisions.
  • Last, but not least, the use of AI allows for rapid batch testing and creative meta-analysis. Ads can be coded by creative elements, such as humor, sustainability or when the brand first appears, to identify which ones are most likely to drive brand impact across brands and product categories.

AI complements established best practice

While the addition of brand lift metrics to Link AI for Digital is an exciting development, it is important to remember that the results are only indicative of likely performance. This makes Link AI for Digital a useful solution for the many occasions when an in-depth test is either not practical or too costly. However, particularly when seeking to change strategy or creative approach, a more in-depth assessment is still recommended. There is no substitute for measuring the response of real people to understand campaign effectiveness, and Kantar has extensive experience of what works with video advertising. Indeed, Link AI for Digital would not exist without access to the results from a huge number of pre-tests and brand lift studies.

Don’t bet on digital ROI, test it instead

Many times, it is only after the campaign is over when advertisers truly understand whether their big bet on digital brand building has paid off. Now, with the inclusion of brand lift metrics in Link AI for Digital, you can be out in front, predicting in advance whether your campaign will have the intended impact. Book a demo today to find out how Link AI for Digital on Kantar Marketplace can help you to get the maximum return from your digital campaign investments.

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