AI rejected by a growing number of marketers, study says


Dive Brief:

  • Half of advertisers (50%) have no plans to use artificial intelligence (AI) in their marketing, according to the results of a survey conducted by Advertiser Perceptions that was shared with Marketing Dive. That number is up from 36% in April 2019, when the company conducted a similar survey.
  • In order of priority, marketers embracing AI use it for: advanced customer segmentation, media selection and buying, smart customer engagement, scaling marketing efforts and resetting objectives based on results.
  • AI’s role in creating ads is small but shows signs of growth, with 20% using the tech only for campaign strategy, 42% to customize existing creative and 38% saying it is inevitable they will use it to create original ads. The majority (60%) use AI to develop banner ads, 54% for social media posts, 45% use it for digital out-of-home campaigns and 36% for TV and connected TV video ads.

Dive Insight:

AI gets a lot of lip service in the marketing world as an important but new technology, but this latest report from Advertiser Perceptions suggests AI may be more hype than reality for many marketers. Instead, the pioneers for using AI in marketing remain brands with big budgets, such as Ikea and Sephora.

One reason for marketers moving slowly to embrace AI could be that there is no central authority within organizations to oversee the tech. Among those firms using AI for marketing, only 27% are in charge of the technology. The CTO heads up AI in 7% of companies while a CIO, director or IT department each manage AI in 6% of companies. Of those managing AI, 58% are involved in media selection and buying.

Marketers expect how they use AI will evolve as they become more comfortable with the tech, according to the survey. But by 2022, marketers expect media selection and buying to be their top use of AI, followed by creative ad development, advanced customer segmentation, smart customer engagement and augmented marketing analytics.

The latest Advertiser Perceptions report supports findings from another recent report from Bynder which found that 77% of marketers are concerned about how automation and AI will affect branding. The 2020 State of Branding Report found that 56% of surveyed marketers think AI could negatively affect their brands by diminishing creativity, reducing jobs or impacting differentiation.

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