AI is transforming marketing in profound and exciting ways. In my conversations, it’s inspiring to hear how marketers are using AI to drive new customer connections, build high-quality creative, and make confident decisions grounded in predictive data.
It’s important to acknowledge, however, that AI can’t drive marketing success by itself. AI is capable of multiplying business results and growth, but only when it’s paired with human expertise. Marketers will continue to be essential in setting clear objectives — aligned to broader business goals — so that marketing impact can be accurately measured and decisions about where to invest can be more informed.
With that being said, the speed at which technology is evolving can leave even the most innovative marketers wondering whether their current strategies are enough to unlock AI’s full potential and accelerate business growth. That’s where we can help.
For several years at Google, we’ve been building products that apply cutting-edge AI to help marketers navigate the rapidly changing landscape. In that time, we’ve had the privilege of working with thousands of brands and agencies to accelerate their business growth with AI, and through that experience we’ve learned what works.
Here are three key areas to prioritise for success with AI.
It’s been rewarding to see how much impact we can make by focusing our paid efforts on value.
Retailer H&M is a powerful example of how first-party data can be used to improve campaign performance. Last year, H&M’s global head of paid media, Kristoffer Ullenius, and its global digital media analyst, Katarina Ahlner, shared more about their strategy. “Where we previously didn’t optimise our paid Search campaigns towards acquiring new customers, we now started actively thinking about ways to reach them.” This meant refocusing the strategy to attract consumers who wouldn’t buy unless they were influenced by marketing.
H&M began by deepening its understanding of the value of each customer segment, using a customer life-cycle model rooted in first-party data. This helped the team identify frequent buyers and put less emphasis on reaching them with paid Search, to focus instead on acquiring incremental new customers. Only when customers became less active would they use Search ads to reengage shoppers.
This approach, coupled with a shift to a customer-focused Target ROAS bidding strategy, helped H&M grow online revenue from paid Search by more than 70% year over year. According to Ullenius and Ahlner: “As the whole business moves towards being more customer-centric, it’s been rewarding to see how much impact we can make by focusing our paid efforts on value.”
With AI-powered campaigns, we doubled our revenue without affecting our return on advertising spend.
Samsung recently put Performance Max to the test across multiple markets to find untapped consumer demand and drive incremental results from new search queries, channels, and audiences.
Sandeep Bajpai, director and head of direct-to-consumer marketing at Samsung India, explains: “The results were phenomenal. With AI-powered campaigns, we doubled our revenue without affecting our return on advertising spend too much.”
Silos can be kryptonite for AI, limiting its ability to optimise and maximise performance.
While AI solutions may be perceived as disruptive, they can be approached in a gradual manner. Embracing a culture of experimentation is a critical factor for organisations trying to reap the full benefits of AI.
For example, eyewear leader EssilorLuxottica spent considerable time thoroughly testing AI-powered campaigns and analysing the business impact of changes to bidding automation, campaign structure, and feed management. According to global performance marketing director Andrea Orlunghi: “Testing new solutions allowed us to create a shared definition of success that spanned across departments.” And its success was tangible. “In the past two years, combining a wide range of Google AI solutions contributed to nearly a 50% growth in the global online business of EssilorLuxottica.”
Fostering agility by balancing early plans with an ability to pivot is equally important, especially in the context of planning, allocating, and optimising digital budgets across channels.
Budget-agile marketers are 25% more likely than non-agile marketers to report their performance as stronger than industry competitors.
For many companies, however, quickly shifting budgets to the biggest opportunities isn’t easy. This is typically due to traditional silos in media channels that carried over to budgets and organisational structures. Unfortunately, these silos can be kryptonite for AI, limiting its ability to optimise and maximise performance.
By evolving your multichannel approach to be nimble enough to respond to consumer demands, you’ll be well-positioned to capture incremental performance opportunities as they emerge. This process can be further bolstered by directly aligning marketing KPIs with business goals and partnering with your executive leadership to accurately quantify marketing’s contribution based on key financial metrics. Research shows the results are worth it: Budget-agile marketers are 25% more likely than non-agile marketers to report their performance as stronger than industry competitors.1
In sharing these AI essentials, it’s my hope that you feel equipped to act today in ways that strengthen your marketing and accelerate business growth for years to come. If you’re interested in learning how you can use Google AI solutions to supercharge your strategy, review the full checklist below and share it with your team.