What effect does the use of artificial intelligence have in optimizing the budgets of marketing campaigns compared to conventional approaches? Project manager Dr. Markus Meierer from the University of Zurich followed up with the start-up nexoya. The result of the investigation: Artificial intelligence beats employees in optimizing campaigns. The focus was on the effects of a continuous optimization of the digital marketing channels over a longer period of time.
Several series of tests compared the performance of various digital advertising campaigns that ran across many digital channels at the same time and were continuously optimized:
- Automated campaigns optimized with the help of artificial intelligence
- Campaigns manually controlled by marketing experts
- Control group in which no changes were made
Marketing campaigns: number of online visitors, most important KPI
The aim of the marketing campaigns was to increase the traffic on the website. Therefore, the number of website visitors was set as the most important KPI to be optimized. Compared to the control group without budget adjustments, the use of an AI-based tool for budget optimization achieved 77 percent more hits. If marketing experts controlled the budget, the performance of the AI was 19 percent higher.
In digital marketing, advertising campaigns often run across many channels at the same time. Managing the activities is complex and time-consuming: Marketing teams have to keep track of things, compare the results of the individual channels and use budgets efficiently. AI-based solutions can relieve marketing experts of this work by collecting and processing all data and suggesting the optimal budget distribution.
Comparison of the performance of the marketing campaigns
Researchers at the University of Zurich wanted to find out whether and under what conditions AI-based tools cope better with this task than humans. A corresponding investigation was carried out in collaboration with Flavia Wagner from nexoya. The start-up has developed a platform that bundles all organic and paid marketing metrics as well as third-party data on the weather or exchange rates. This allows marketing to evaluate and compare the performance of individual campaigns and assets with a click of the mouse. Thanks to the automated optimization of ongoing campaigns, AI algorithms provide specific suggestions for cross-channel budget allocation.
Realistic conditions and scientific methods
“Together with nexoya, we carried out an extensive randomized experiment. The data collected provide information about the causal effect of methods for optimizing budget allocation on the performance of digital marketing campaigns. It was investigated whether an AI-based optimization outperforms traditional procedures, ”explains Markus Meierer, project manager at the Chair for Marketing and Market Research at University of Zurich.
The special feature: The focus was on the effects of continuous optimization of the digital marketing channels over a longer period of time. For the investigation, three series of tests were carried out, each running for 28 days. It was crucial that the test series depict a realistic scenario: the marketing campaign had to be carried out exactly as it would normally run.
An awareness / branding campaign was carried out, with all test groups using identical advertising material. The advertising material was played across several channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Google Display, Google Search Ads, Bing Ads and LinkedIn. Twice a week, both the nexoya AI software and the marketing expert optimized the budgets in the respective campaigns. The budget allocation in the control group remained unchanged throughout the experiment.
Optimizing budget allocation using AI
“The optimization of the budget allocation with the help of AI increased the marketing KPIs in the test series by up to 77 percent compared to the constant budget. Compared to a human expert, the performance was 19 percent higher. The AI-based optimization, which has proven to be the most powerful method, is based on an easy-to-implement software solution that is easy to use for users and carries out budget adjustments fully automatically, ”explains Marco Hochstrasser, CTO and co-founder of nexoya.
The start-up nexoya Ltd. based in Zurich and Berlin has been realizing automated analyzes for the digital marketing of medium-sized and large companies since 2018 – user-friendly and data protection compliant. The SaaS platform “nexoya Marketing Analytics” optimizes multi-channel marketing campaigns on the basis of machine learning. (sg)
Also read: Nexoya expands to Germany with a new subsidiary