Two-Thirds Of My Advertising Is AI-Enabled

If you thought the punchline was going to be a Wanamaker paraphrase, "the trouble is I don't know which two-thirds," you might be right. But the point of this column is that AI-enabled media-buying now has a benchmark -- 69.5% -- according to GroupM, which devoted a chunk of its mid-year update to calculating that figure.

It also updated its own internal estimate for when AI-enabled media buys will top 90%.

"Two years ago, we said we would pass 90% by 2032. We are now going to hit more than 90% in 2029, three years earlier than we had previously predicted based off of just how quickly this space is growing and how quickly tools are being incorporated," GroupM Global President of Business Intelligence Kate Scott-Dawkins late last week said during a press briefing ahead of today's update release.

Actually, GroupM now estimates AI-enabled media buys will account for 94.1% of all ad spending by 2029, and importantly that figure includes all media -- both digital and analog -- because it's not just the explicit media-buying process that it's enabling, but "pre-planning" tools used by agencies to buy analog media too.



The figure reminds me of the time ten years ago that IPG Mediabrands' Magna unit released an estimate that half of all digital ad buys were then being bought programmatically.

Like GroupM's AI-enabled estimate, Magna's programmatic one didn't literally mean every facet of a media buy was being implemented via the technology -- end-to-end -- just that it was somehow touching or influencing how the buys were being made.

Even so, the revelation during the press briefing got the attention of a number of reporters, so expect to see lots of headlines about it this week, because as Scott-Dawkins noted, adoption of the AI technology is happening very fast.

In fact, the figure isn't all about generative AI, but also has its roots in the AI-enabled tech that was baked into search, programmatic media-buying, as well as other forms of machine learning, including natural language processing, optimization algorithms, recommendation algorithms, etc, "that have really been present and in use in advertising for a long time."

Scott-Dawkins also noted that the figure doesn't include ad-supported content generated by AI, which GroupM calls "machine-generated content," or the brand spanking new acronym of MGC, which will now compete with both UGC (user-generated content) and professionally-produced media content in industry charts and presentations from here on in. And here's one from GroupM to get it started:

During the briefing I asked Scott-Dawkins if GroupM had a figure yet for the amount of advertising that would actually be spent on pure-play AI-generated media and/or consumer time spent with AI tools, and while she didn't have a hard number, she said she expected both to grow, noting that OpenAI could add an advertising model to its subscription model, as might Microsoft for its Copilot chat bot.

"I think they could include advertising," she said, noting, "There's an element of time-spent with chatbots, which is separate from using generative AI to create content where advertising could live.?

Earlier this year, I reported on estimates from New Street Research analyst Dan Salmon who says AI agent ad buys already are a $1 billion category this year, and will grow to $7 billion next year.

1 comment about "Two-Thirds Of My Advertising Is AI-Enabled".
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  1. Steve Schildwachter from Enterprise CMO, LLC, June 10, 2024 at 7:15 p.m.

    Nice roundup and good list of qualifiers. 

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