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How Generative AI Pairs with CTV to Fuel Audience Engagement

Combatting declining engagement in digital ads: Discover how marketers break the cycle of ad fatigue by shifting away from quantity and repetition.
Audience Engagement

Connected TV (CTV) ad campaigns appearing on viewers’ screens during streaming content offer a particularly promising path for brands eager to explore generative AI possibilities and combat audience engagement challenges. While the format resembles traditional TV ad breaks, CTV ads allow marketers to leverage more granular targeting and personalization in their campaign strategies. Paired with generative AI, CTV ads are able to deliver content payloads that speak to viewers about their unique viewing context—with more precise and localized calls to action.

Quality over quantity: the audience engagement challenge, and generative AI’s answer

Declining engagement rates are plaguing marketers across just about all digital ad types. That’s led to an unvirtuous cycle: as consumers increasingly tune out more generalized ad campaign messages and become resistant to engagement, advertisers have relied on ad quantity and trying to bolster conversions through ad repetition. However, bombardment by repetitive, generalized ads has had the macro effect of only further numbing audiences to the content that comes on their screens during ad breaks.

On the flip side, ads with greater originality, personalization, and relevance to the viewer continue to prove more effective in breaking through to audiences and earning greater engagement and conversion. The challenge is that actually creating and delivering unique ad content to match all the different contexts of each ad viewer is a task that would quickly exhaust both marketing budgets and marketing team personnel—if pursued by manual means.

This is where emerging generative AI, with the power to rapidly create contextual CTV ads, offers transformative benefits for marketers. Generative AI is able to dynamically produce unlimited variations of an original ad campaign, and to generate new content instantly based on real-time factors. By delivering hyper-relevant ads to each viewer that speak to their needs in the moment, contextual CTV ad campaigns empower marketers to capture far greater engagement and ROI, and—most importantly—to connect brands with customers on a more meaningful level.

How generative-AI-powered contextual CTV advertising works

Let’s look at a standard CTV ad with visual, product-driven content and a voiceover. Under a traditional campaign creation strategy, marketers will hire a voice actor to record a single version of the ad copy, and possibly a few alternative variants. The ad goes out to viewers, and they see one of the available versions. The ads may break through the ad fatigue of some viewers, but they don’t include anything particularly memorable, attention-grabbing, or relevant to them in the moment; how can they, if the campaign is produced for the masses?

By comparison, marketers leveraging generative AI and contextual CTV ads can utilize generative AI’s voice synthesis capabilities to create hundreds (or even thousands) of ad content variations automatically, without necessarily needing to engage with voice talent at all. This real-time ad generation also enables up-to-the-minute adaptations to ad copy to maintain relevance. For example, contextual CTV ads can call out the viewer’s city, the time of day that the ad is playing, the name of the app or platform the viewer is watching the CTV campaign on, and even the current weather at the viewer’s location.

Marketers can also increase ad relevance and the appeal of specific content by including the nearest brand locations, promo codes, localized partners and offers, daily events, and other information that provides the ad viewer with a call-to-action customized just for them. For example, an individual viewer might receive a generative-AI-produced contextual CTV ad saying, “That rain’s really coming down in Chicago: makes this a perfect Saturday afternoon to watch [CTV app] inside and order a pizza with the 2-for-1 deal we have for you today.” The ad could go on to mention the viewer’s nearest store location and other personalized content tuned to their known preferences.

Critically: each and every contextual CTV ad across an AI-generated campaign is convincingly voiced as if the voice actor had truly spoken those words, and offers a hyper-relevant appeal that adapts to the latest circumstances. As a result, these ads grab viewers’ attention at a far higher rate, delivering superior engagement and conversion. And, marketers can leverage the same AI-powered targeting that’s used to deliver the right content to the right individual viewer at the right moment to also vet their audience targeting, and focus ad spend on CTV viewers most likely to be interested in the particular solutions and products on offer. Generative AI for contextual CTV can also optimize messaging at scale by A/B testing ad creative and generating new content on the fly, based on what the data says is most engaging and converting the best with customers. That gives marketers the tools to wage campaigns that are continually optimized, from campaign start to campaign end.

Unlocking a new future for audience engagement

Generative AI and contextual CTV ads now allow marketers to launch entire campaigns reach thousands of individuals with personalized content of unprecedented relevance—all with the same time and effort it once took to create a single digital ad. This transformative marketing productivity and increased ad effectiveness will no doubt drive an expansion of marketers’ ambitions as they incorporate these capabilities into their practices, and connect brands and customers like never before.

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Stas Tushinskiy , CEO of Instreamatic

Stas Tushinskiy is the CEO of Instreamatic, an AI-driven ad creation, delivery, and optimization company. Prior to Instreamatic, Stas built a leading digital audio advertising sales house in Europe.

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