The smarter companies are able to get about direct response advertising in any form—infomercial spots, radio media buying, digital direct response—the better the ad will work. So it's no wonder advertisers and media buying agency execs are talking up AI (Artificial Intelligence) as the next big thing in advertising.
Direct Response ads rely on data to find their audience. Data can tell us the basics, like location, age and gender, but digital data can dig deeper, and reveal where a person shops online, what they do for a living, whether they've had a recent life milestone like a marriage or whether they are single or have a family. Advertising AI platforms like IBM's Watson takes that data and transforms advertising into responsive experiences. Suddenly shoppers looking for a jacket might find themselves being targeted to buy a specific make and model based on their personal style, their gender, and what the weather is like where they're travelling next month.
While AI software like Watson is still too expensive for the average company to get in on, there are some lessons to be taken from the AI world that can be applied to your next DR campaign, whether you advertise on television, advertise on radio, or work in digital.
Diversify Your Message
AI works by identifying audiences and targeting messaging and preference based on what we already know about that person. But you don't need a bot to do that. Your product or service might have a number of different audiences, but that doesn't mean you should speak to them all in the same way. Work with your media buying agency to develop messaging that caters to your priority audiences differently and then precision targets them.
Make Your Campaign Nimble
AI adjusts messaging and creative as a campaign runs, correcting based on what's resonating and what isn't. You can do that too. Ask your direct agency for mid-campaign reporting to better understand when people are clicking, calling in and buying—and when they aren't. With that information you can test other messages and adjust accordingly.
Read Your Reports
AI uses data to evaluate audiences and craft direct response experiences that appeal most to them. Chances are, you already have a lot of data on your audience, you just might need some help understanding how to use it. Talk to your direct response media buying agency about getting better mileage out of your existing reporting. If you use an eCommerce platform, you should be able to pull info on your customer base that will give you a picture of what customer profile buys your product or service most frequently. On the web side, Google Analytics is free, and can tell you where customers are clicking on your page—this might reveal what they're most interested or what messages are most effective. Finally, your Direct Response agency will provide reporting on your campaign to help you better understand what worked and what didn't—and who clicked, called, and purchased.
When it comes to direct response advertising, machine learning and AI are making great strides, but at the end of the day, it's still humans who make decisions as to whether or not to engage or purchase. How will you be incorporating machine learning into your next DR campaign? Let us know at twitter.com/kingstarDM.