How Generative AI is Propelling Local Advertising Street Fight

How Generative AI is Propelling Local Advertising

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The digital advertising landscape has never been more dynamic or more complex. As small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) grapple with these changes and challenges, they also face opportunities for growth. Generative AI technologies are empowering marketers with intuitive, powerful, and personalized advertising strategies, helping them to save time and effort and compete like never before.

Generative AI is transforming SMBs into creative powerhouses and performance marketing masters. But just because the technology has arrived, doesn’t mean we know where to start or how to incorporate generative AI into the marketing mix.

In 2023, we just began to explore and learn about the value of generative AI. Now, we are seeing tangible benefits across several pivotal areas, empowering SMBs to thrive in today’s competitive landscape. As a result, SMBs can expand their reach, attract new customers, and ultimately drive business growth.

It’s time to breakthrough and tap into the power and potential of generative AI.

Leverage multi-functional creative AI tools

Generative AI introduces a suite of transformative tools that revolutionize traditional advertising approaches for SMBs. It can act as a highly skilled creative assistant at your fingertips, helping you create visually rich and dynamically personalized ads in seconds. This technology supports many aspects of the campaign creation and creative process, such as recommending or creating images, getting help with ad copy and headlines, and tailoring content, designs, and strategies to your branding and advertising goals.

For example, by using new innovative creative tools, image asset creation is a few clicks away for SMBs. You simply input a description of the images you’d like to generate, and you can create images personalized to your business. The more information you provide, the clearer the image.

It’s crucial that SMBs build the ability to talk to AI and experiment. Prompts for image creation should be as detailed as possible, like you’re describing a scene or object from a story. Include object(s) in the scene, be it a person, people or tangible materials, while being specific on their appearance and context to the scene. Try different concepts, styles, keywords, and phrases to see how different variations in your prompt can affect the outcome. Avoid using others’ brand logos, taglines and confidential information.

Unlock productivity and better performance with AI

The automation of real-time creative testing and optimization at an unprecedented scale through generative AI enables SMBs to save time and enhance campaign performance. From automating ad copy generation and crafting dynamic product descriptions to reporting performance and optimizing campaigns, cutting-edge generative AI tools are streamlining campaign workflows, freeing up SMBs to focus on “bigger picture” tasks and allowing them to maximize their performance while looking ahead to what’s next.

Tools like Copilot in the Microsoft Advertising Platform help SMB marketers keep up with the modern-day demands by acting as a virtual marketing manager. Imagine if you could provide a website URL and then get recommended images and copy assets for your campaign in real-time, never needing to start from scratch again.  This is a reality.

A PPC specialist utilizing Copilot in the Microsoft Advertising Platform found they could use generative AI to effectively craft and refine compelling ad copy, aligned to their business.

“Using our Japan Tours page, Copilot in the Microsoft Advertising Platform produced clever ad headlines with descriptive words, all of which align to our brand: ‘Japan’s Cultural Treasures’, ‘Japan – A Land of Wonders’, and ‘Exotic Japan Getaways’.” Temesgen Zerighaber, PPC Specialist, Inspiring Vacations

Distinguish between utility and hype of AI products

The Wild West of the current AI digital landscape is brimming with untapped potential but marked with sheer unpredictability and uncertainty. As new AI tools emerge at rapid pace, marketers find themselves in a frontier where the rules are undefined, and every innovation promises revolutionary change. This environment requires marketers to be both pioneers and skeptics, ready to explore the potential of AI to transform their strategies while critically evaluating each tool and partner against their objectives.

As we inch towards 2025, here are some practical tips to help marketers capitalize on genuine opportunities and not just the hype surrounding new technologies:

  • Set Clear Objectives: Clearly define what you want to achieve with AI. Whether it’s increasing personalization, leveraging new insights, or automating processes, having specific goals will guide your AI implementation strategy.
  • Stay Informed and Educated: The AI landscape is rapidly evolving. Educational resources such as the free Microsoft AI Business School offer valuable insights and training tailored for SMBs. AI partners should guide you in building your knowledge base and learning how to incorporate AI into your marketing strategy.
  • Seek Out Skilled, Trusted, and Transparent Partners: Choose AI solution providers carefully, seeking out those who offer personalized support and partnership. The right partner is one that gives you the innovative technology you need and provides access to human service to support you along your journey. Look for trusted partners that prioritize responsible AI practices, data quality and privacy.
  • Emphasize Adaptability and Integration: Select AI tools that not only adapt quickly to changing market dynamics but also seamlessly integrate with your existing marketing stack.

Embrace Generative AI

Of the 71% of workers who found Microsoft Copilot saved them time on mundane tasks, 67% said it gave them freedom to devote more time to activities that drive outcomes such as creative development, strategic planning, and relationship management.

AI is an empowerment tool to assist with human workflows and augment your work by taking over repetitive tasks, while also helping to boost your efficiency and minimize errors.  In the era of AI, companies like Microsoft are working to democratize access for SMBs so you don’t need to be a large company to tap into the power of AI.

And while generative AI allows SMBs to concentrate on more significant tasks, it’s important to recognize that it is not a replacement for human creativity and insight.

Navigating the future of generative AI

Providing SMBs with a competitive edge in navigating the intricacies of the digital ad market, generative AI is proving to be a gamechanger, unlocking newfound creativity and fostering efficiency.  This transformation allows SMBs to focus more closely on their business goals, while AI handles the complexities of channel and budget management.

Generative AI solutions are not just tools; they are your always-on liaison and partner in creativity and performance, empowering SMBs with intuitive, powerful, and personalized advertising strategies for sustainable growth and success in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

As Vice President, Global SMB and Growth for Microsoft Advertising, Kenneth helps provide guidance, tools, and technology to enable SMBs to make smart marketing decisions, drive new leads, and expand their revenue potential.