Video Advertising

Small Businesses & eCommerce Use Pencil’s New AI Video Ad System

video advertising

Pencil, the Creative AI company backed by Sequoia India’s Surge program, announces today the availability of a new service which provides small businesses and startups with access to the same “Machine Generated Creative” (MGC) platform as larger brands, for the first time, to level the playing field.

Pencil’s new Generate service for eCommerce startups, small online retailers and direct-to-consumer brands (DTC) is designed to help small businesses struggling to compete in an increasingly online world dominated by larger brands’ slick video ads and optimized ad spend. Pencil learns from historic ad performance to generate new video ads that help brands systematically improve Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS).

Creative design and advertising optimization have never been more important. Facebook has more than 10 million advertisers, most of which are small businesses; in April it announced an astounding 46 percent increase in revenue versus a year ago, attributed to a 30 percent increase in the average price per ad, and a 12 percent increase in the number of ads displayed. This means that brands have to work harder, and pay more, to get great results from their ads.

Andy Hayes, Founder and Creator, Plum Deluxe, commented: “Managing a tea community and DTC business during the pandemic has been tough. We needed our Facebook ads to work, and we needed an edge. At first, we didn’t really believe AI or GPT-3 could be used to make effective ads, but Pencil has helped us crack the creative code. MGC is working for us, and the more we use it, the better it gets.”

Pencil is one of the first companies to launch a commercial tool using OpenAI’s GPT-3 to generate playful, effective ad copy that, combined with Pencil’s language model, enables MGC to generate entirely new narratives around a brand or product.

Starving for Content

The fastest-growing advertisers created 11x more creative assets (45) per campaign than the average (4), according to proprietary Facebook data. Another study also reported the average variance between top performing Facebook creative and bottom-performing is 11x.

“Cash-strapped businesses with limited creative resources and ad budgets face long odds competing for consumer mindshare against larger, more established brands,” explained Will Hanschell, co-founder & CEO of Pencil. “Pencil evens the odds with Machine Generated Creative that enables marketers to take existing copy, imagery and video assets and automatically generate batches of video ads that learn to perform week-on-week.”

Pencil ads outperform existing creative, consistently delivering 2x stronger results for leading consumer brands like Sephora, L’Oréal and Unilever. In Q1, Pencil analyzed more than 100 campaigns that used MGC video ads and found that the best MGC ads delivered an average ROAS of 2x when compared to other ads that the brands were running. In fact, one brand’s MGC campaign delivered 11x higher ROAS. Pencil users have already generated over 15 million ads and on average Pencil ads perform 17 percent better than non-Pencil ads.

Based on its proven performance, the company was recently accepted into Facebook Marketing Partners, a program that connects businesses to an ecosystem of specialists.

Three Plans

Depending on the size of the brand portfolio and the volume of ads that organizations need to produce, Pencil now offers three plans to suit digital advertisers’ needs:

  • The new Generate plan creates copy and video ad ideas for startups and small businesses to test 10 ads a month for a single brand. Additional ads are available on a pay-as-you go basis for $25 per ad. This comes with a free 7-day trial. trial.
  • The Generate+ Learn plan includes a patented machine learning loop that predicts outcomes and optimizes performance for up to 50 ads per month for a single brand. Additional ads are available for $15 per ad.
  • The Enterprise plan provides custom pricing, integrations and features for large agencies and creative teams, with volume-based per-ad and per-workspace pricing.

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