Do I Need a Digital Marketing Agency in the Age of AI?

by | Feb 7, 2024

 

As digital marketers, we’re always looking for ways to optimize our campaigns, save time, improve results … and keep up with the ever-changing ad platforms. One of the biggest changes over the last year or so is the integration of AI and algorithmic-focused campaigns. A few examples include the Performance Max campaign from Google Ads, or the Advantage+ campaigns from Meta Ads.

As companies like Google Ads and Meta Ads integrate more AI features into their campaign types, digital marketers have a lot of questions:

  •  What do AI-based campaigns mean for the future of digital marketing? 
  •  How should AI-based campaigns fit into a marketing strategy?
  •  Is there anything wrong with using AI-based campaigns?

These new types of campaigns use AI and machine learning to optimize ads based on your goals. But are they really worth it? We think so. That said, it’s important that we understand what AI can do for us  in order to better leverage AI for healthier ROI and ROAS and to shine light on how it can sit in your marketing mix for long term growth. So let’s take a deep dive into the pros and cons of using automated and AI-based campaigns, and why it’s helpful to have an agency partner even with these shiny new features.

 

AI Campaigns Bring Fast Campaign Building and Smarter Audience Targeting

 

One of the biggest benefits of using automated and AI campaigns is that they can save a lot of time. Instead of spending hours tinkering with targeting or shuffling assets around, the AI algorithm takes on a lot of that lift. In some cases, the campaigns can pull everything from ad copy to images right from your website without you needing to generate anything. In a lot of ways, this leaves more time for analyzing holistic account performance and general strategy.

For example, companies who have a well-developed website or a large inventory can benefit from some automation through Dynamic Search Ads; by simply providing a category page, and Google Ads does almost all of the rest of the work with the ad build and delivery.

Another key benefit is that they are optimized for driving conversion volume. Automated and AI campaigns use machine learning to analyze user behavior and identify patterns, then apply that data to your campaign. From existing customers to lookalikes, the AI campaigns can reach people who might have never heard of your brand, right when it meets their need. This smart and dynamic targeting increases the likelihood of your ad being served to the right audience at the right time, which can translate into better conversion rates.

Meta Ads is so confident in their ability to pinpoint the right audience through their Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns that advertisers aren’t even able to layer in specific detailed targeting, but rather marketers can provide “suggestions” for things like general interests.

Loss of Control and Lack of Data

 

On the flip side, there is a substantial loss of control for marketers. In order to really take advantage of the AI and platform algorithms, marketers have to let Google or Meta test out the targeting, update the creatives, tweak the copy, and more. For brands that have strict branding guidelines or extremely niche goals, this can be a dealbreaker.

Additionally, when we leave all the small details to the AI, the AI doesn’t typically share the results back. AI campaigns don’t offer up granular data points, like which specific headline or ad variation had the best conversion rate. For e-commerce companies who use the Google Ads Performance Max campaign type as a shopping campaign, understanding product- and category-level performance can be difficult since Google Ads doesn’t share granular performance data, specifically which specific. products are delivering (or not delivering) conversions.

When it comes to optimizing these campaigns, it requires a bit of educated guess work. Marketers have very few levers to control – budget allocation, target KPIs and some creative control, but we don’t get a lot of data on a granular level.  So, we typically don’t recommend starting with AI because evolving success is as much about garnering specific learnings as it is hitting target KPIs.

 

What Do I Need an Agency For Then? 

 

So when AI becomes your copywriter, graphic designer, analyst, and campaign builder, what is left to do? Take a step back and notice that a key element is missing: strategy.

While automated and smart campaigns can be a great addition to your advertising strategy, they are not a replacement for all of your campaigns and your digital marketing agency. Agencies like Pantelope bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the table that an AI simply can’t match. Agencies can help you to define your business and marketing goals, create a perfectly tailored strategy, and optimize your campaign blends based on your specific needs.

We can also help you with your overall branding strategy, which is something that an AI can’t do. If you’re focusing solely on conversions, you may be missing out on opportunities to build your brand and establish a strong identity in your industry.

If you are interested in learning more about how AI and smart campaigns should fit into your overall marketing mix, reach out to learn more and for a free audit of your ad accounts.

 

 

 

 

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