Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Generative AI: The next frontier for advertisers

By Theo Theodorou, UK Managing Director, Microsoft Advertising

“What makes a good brand great?” I posed this question to the audience at New Digital Age Foresight in London last month, receiving answers ranging from ‘the people’ through to ‘brand positioning’ and everything in between.  So, let’s get specific; what is it that ensures continued success and longevity for a brand? My answer, how strong the company’s unique selling point (USP) is.

Every successful brand has a specific USP that sets them apart from their competition.  As long as their audience still wants and needs what they are offering, they can make a success of this for a long time.  Take Coca-Cola, their timeless product now over a century old, continues to be enjoyed by consumers around the world, generating the company billions of dollars. However, such longevity is rare.  As consumer behaviour evolves due to technological advancements and/or socioeconomic trends, companies must adapt to ensure continued growth and success.

The quest for the next advantage

While companies often start with one strong USP, staying relevant requires more.  Spotify for example launched in 2008, offering users unlimited access to millions of songs for a monthly fee instead of per song or album. As the streaming market became more crowded, Spotify evolved their offering to include personalised recommendations based on user’s listening habits, preferences, and mood, helping it become one of the world’s largest music streaming services.   

Similarly, in 1980, Bill Gates shared his vision to have a ‘computer on every desk in every home’ with Microsoft’s personal computing software. As adoption grew, that mission evolved to focus on empowerment.  Today that mission is to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more.  In the digital advertising space, that mission transcends, and Microsoft Advertising remain focused on building and leveraging innovation to reimagine consumer and advertising experiences.   

But with consumer connectivity reaching unprecedented levels today, the advertising industry face intense competition to capture their attention and deliver best-in-class experiences.  The question for advertisers now is “what’s next?”

The generative AI era

Generative AI has created a transformative moment across many industries, not just advertising.  Its exponential growth parallels the dawn of the internet, mobile devices, and the cloud.  As it improves benchmarks in object and speech recognition, synthesis, and language understanding, it is reshaping consumer’s digital experiences.  Bing Chat queries are, on average, longer than traditional searches, particularly across younger searchers. This is because the chat function provides a more conversational way for users to engage with their search, asking questions that allow them to dig deeper to find exactly what they are searching for. As a result, advertisers have an opportunity to improve their storytelling and connection creating more relevant, visually rich, and immersive content that delights consumers throughout their search journey. 

We recently announced Copilot in the Microsoft Advertising Platform, specifically designed for advertisers and agencies to enhance their platform experience, streamline operations, and support creativity.  This is true transformation, creating new value, not simply for the sake of disruption, but with real purpose.  At Microsoft, our advancements in AI stem from our strategic investments in research, made over decades, that are deeply aligned with our company mission to empower every person and every organisation to achieve more.  Guided by a responsible framework , we believe that democratising AI, to enhance individuals’ strengths and offer support where needed, is the new branch of innovation.  It is our next advantage, one that creates opportunities for advertisers, driving traffic for publishers and delighting consumers. 

The era of AI is already here – and we are just getting started. As we head into the final quarter of the year, make AI a strategic priority for your business now. For more information, join our webcast to unlock the power of AI today.