How generative AI advertising can help brands tell their story and engage customers

21 May 2024 | Matt Miller, Sr. Copywriter


The advertising industry is in the midst of a seismic technological evolution. Recent developments in generative artificial intelligence (AI) have offered new and exciting ways for brands to produce text, images and video. These tools can help advertisers quickly and easily develop campaign creative, optimise processes and provide more relevant experiences for customers—and this is just the beginning. The opportunities are seemingly endless and advertisers are constantly finding ways to innovate on behalf of their customers.

Last year, Amazon Ads launched a generative AI capability designed to remove creative barriers and enable brands to produce lifestyle imagery that can help improve their ads’ performance. While machine learning and AI models have long powered Amazon Ads technology to help brands reach customers, recommend products, optimise campaigns and more, this new generative AI technology allows brands of all sizes to easily produce imagery and be more efficient with creative development at no additional cost.

Looking ahead at this new era of generative AI, Jay Richman, the vice president of creative tech at Amazon Ads, sat down with us to discuss how this technology is transforming the industry, the ways brands are using Amazon Ads image generation to connect with customers and what’s in store for the future.

In what ways have Amazon Ads customers been using AI and machine learning to help them connect with shoppers and optimise their campaigns?

At Amazon Ads, we have long been innovating, using state-of-the-art machine learning [ML] and AI models across our advertising programmes. We use this technology for campaign recommendations—such as creatives, targeting, bids and budgets—for advertisers.

For example, in Sponsored Products, we vend related keywords and recommendations for advertised products along with their bid suggestions using deep-learning and large language models (LLMs) that leverage historical shopping patterns and vast information present in the Amazon catalogue to show customers relevant ads as they browse and shop.

What is different about this new generative AI technology and can you talk about why these tools are important in the advertising industry?

The new generative AI technology, particularly as it’s being applied in the advertising industry, marks a significant shift from previous approaches due to several groundbreaking characteristics:

For advanced content creation, generative AI can produce a wide range of content, including text, images and videos, that is highly customised and creative. This ability allows for the generation of unique and engaging ads tailored to specific audiences, going beyond traditional advertising capabilities. The technology’s capacity to rapidly generate diverse and high-quality content can help empower teams that may not have in-house resources, enabling brands to launch more dynamic and varied campaigns.

Through the use of large language models and deep learning, generative AI can analyse vast amounts of information to understand what may be helpful for customers with unprecedented depth and accuracy. This analysis allows for the creation of highly relevant advertising content, helping make the ads more relevant to shoppers’ current needs and interests. LLMs are very good at distilling insights instantly from large volumes of customer reviews. This alone creates enormous opportunities for marketers.

Jay Richman

Jay Richman, the vice president of creative tech at Amazon Ads, says generative AI technology has marked a shift in the advertising industry

Since launching the new AI-powered image-generation solution last year, how have you seen Amazon Ads customers adopt this solution? What are they saying about it?

Marketers are not only adopting AI-generated imagery within Sponsored Brands campaigns at an increasing rate but are also saving them to their libraries for reuse across various Amazon Ads campaigns and products, including Brand Stores. This reuse strategy underscores the efficiency and adaptability that AI-generated content offers.

Additionally, our themes, like Easter and spring, have become an exceptionally popular resource for brands aiming to refresh their creative assets. These themes help brands maintain their topicality and relevance, allowing their marketing efforts to resonate effectively with their intended audience. This trend highlights the growing importance of dynamic and responsive creative strategies in the digital advertising landscape.

AI generator widget

Last year, Amazon Ads launched a generative AI capability designed to remove creative barriers and enable brands to produce lifestyle imagery that can help improve their ads’ performance

I know that this tool was designed to help brands of all sizes optimise their creative process, create more engaging creative for consumers and help reduce costs. Can you talk about the benefits of generative AI for small businesses as well as larger businesses or agencies?

We designed this tool for marketers with time, budget and expertise constraints, so it could be accessible and beneficial for both small businesses and large businesses. Importantly, the simplicity of creating ads with this tool encourages advertisers to experiment with more variations, thereby creating opportunities to enhance campaign performance by identifying and scaling the most impactful ads.

This image-generation capability has expanded beyond Sponsored Brands campaigns. Can you talk a little bit about where it’s available now, and how this expansion helps benefit more brands and consumers?

Following the successful launch of Sponsored Brands, we’ve broadened the tool’s application to include Sponsored Display and expanded its availability beyond the US. Sponsored Display ads are designed to adapt fluidly in size to accommodate various placements, making the most of the tool’s capability to generate images in multiple dimensions. This adaptability promotes a seamless fit for diverse advertising spaces, significantly enhancing the utility and reach of our advertising solutions for brands.

Responsible AI is a topic that often comes up in conversation when discussing generative AI. How is Amazon Ads using safe, responsible technology to power its generative AI solutions?

Amazon Ads is committed to fostering the development of AI that is safe, responsible and trustworthy. We are dedicated to driving innovation in advertising while also establishing and implementing the necessary safeguards to protect consumers. To achieve that, we leverage industry-leading practices to ensure any of our image-generation capabilities are responsibly sourcing imagery and are also actively developing new technologies to support these efforts.

How have you seen this generative AI technology shape the industry so far? Have there been any substantial shifts in how brands, or even Amazon Ads, approach business?

Advertisers leveraging AI-generated images are able to strategically allocate their budgets toward those that perform the best. This practice not only optimises resources but also helps enhance overall campaign effectiveness.

Furthermore, we’ve witnessed brands seamlessly integrating their ad creative into their Brand Stores, fostering a sense of continuity between the campaign and landing page. This integration can help promote a cohesive customer journey, reinforcing brand identity and message across all touchpoints. These developments signify a substantial shift in how brands approach their business, emphasising efficiency, consistency and the strategic use of technology to drive engagement and conversion.

Can you share some of the technology your teams have been working on at Amazon Ads? Can our customers expect to see new tools roll out over the next few months?

Looking ahead, our road map is filled with exciting developments. Customers can indeed expect the roll-out of new tools and features in the coming months, each designed to further streamline the ad creation process, enhance the effectiveness of campaigns and provide even greater value to advertisers. So, stay tuned for updates as we continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in digital advertising, leveraging the latest advancements in technology to empower our customers’ success.