By Carl Carter, VP of Global Media, Circana

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the visionary concept for sci-fi movies, as we’re all seeing with OpenAI’s chat GPT and Google’s Bard. It’s already transforming the way businesses operate and interact with their customers, and nowhere is this more apparent than in media planning, activation, and measurement. But what are the benefits and pitfalls of using AI in media? How are companies using it to transform advertising today? And how will AI continue to shape the future of media?

Benefits of AI in Media

No one likes going through heaps of data. AI algorithms can crunch the numbers in a fraction of the time it would take a human, while also identifying patterns and insights that people would miss. With AI doing the heavy lifting, we can focus on coming up with punny taglines and snappy ad copy. But AI is also doing that now — and designing creative concepts too.

AI can also optimize campaigns in real time, adjusting ad targeting, creative elements, and other factors based on how they are performing. It’s like having an army of tiny assistants who are always looking for ways to make your campaigns perform better! And AI can analyse user data to deliver more relevant and personalized content to users too Who doesn’t love feeling like a brand is talking to them directly?

Pitfalls of AI in Media

This new and increasingly powerful technology also comes with real potential pitfalls. One of the biggest concerns with AI is the risk of data bias. If the data the algorithms are trained on are biased, the results will be too. Nobody’s perfect, but when billion-dollar decisions are being made, we need to be as sure as possible. The continuous evolution of AI and its training will be critical, which is why subject-matter experts and quality data inputs will always be needed.

Another potential downside of AI is losing the human touch. Is this the beginning of the end for creatives and copywriters? While AI can analyse data and optimize campaigns, it can’t replace human intuition and creativity … yet. And, just as we find with any data analysis, recommendation, or advice, we can’t rely solely on what the machines tell us. For example, I generated an image on Midjourney the other day, only to realize that the person had an extra arm.

Businesses Adopting AI in Media

Advertisers have been using AI for some time to transform their media. Coca-Cola used AI to optimize its advertising campaigns during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The AI algorithms analysed data on consumer behaviour, ad placement, and creative elements to optimize the campaign in real time for a 20% increase in sales. Nestlé has used AI to analyse social media data and identify consumer trends. The insights gained informed its brands’ marketing strategies and enabled more effective, more targeted campaigns. And NVIDIA and WPP are developing a content engine that harnesses NVIDIA Omniverse and AI to enable creative teams to produce brand-aligned commercial content faster, more efficiently, and at scale.

The Future of AI in Media

So, what does the future hold for AI in media planning, activation, and measurement? We can expect increasingly sophisticated technology and ever-deeper insights into user behaviour, preferences, and trends. It may almost be like having a superpower that lets you read people’s minds and predict their behaviour before they even know they’re going to do something.

AI will also play a vital role in assisting the speed, creativity, accuracy, and effectiveness of media execution. From copy generation to ad design to measuring content for more accurate data analysis on campaign performance, businesses will be able to make more informed decisions about their media execution and investments to boost ROI.

Here at Circana, AI is integral to the design of our next-generation audience insights, media planning, and measurement capabilities. AI enables us to make better predictions using our rich datasets to understand consumer purchase propensity and, through partnerships, add additional data points to build a complete picture of planning, activation, and measurement optimization.

AI is changing the media industry as we know it, and advertisers that get on board early will have a competitive edge. We certainly can’t forget to balance the power of AI with our own creativity and intuition. But AI is here to stay, and we should all be excited about the possibilities it can bring to consumer insights and ad targeting, execution, and measurement.

If you have questions on how Circana can help you better plan, target, measure, and optimize your media campaigns to deliver up to 9x ROI, reach out to your Circana representative or email us at

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