We already know that AI can really solve many problems in business, but also improve those things that are already doing well. Of course, it (still) cannot optimize everything, but as companies airt and SeekandHit show us, a good tool can very much help us in navigating the seas of tasks and campaigns. Their joint product Capt’n.ai is a tool that uses AI to track campaigns on several platforms and redistributes their budgets based on performance. Davor Runje from airt and Mario Frančešević from SeekandHit talked to me about the tool and explained how it can benefit the marketing industry.
Finally, an opportunity to work together
Davor says that he and Mario go way back and that he has long waited for an opportunity to collaborate on a project before Mario becomes too rich and successful to hang out with him. Luckily, Mario is just successful enough to squeeze another project in, one that saw the light of day yesterday at 11 am on a virtual (due to pandemics, of course) launch event.
According to Davor, he got the idea for this tool a while ago, but the actual work on it started about a year ago. It required some complex technologies and a wide range of specific expertise, he adds:
Around 15 people worked on the project so far. We had to understand the marketing-business side, programmatically extract data from Google and Facebook, automatize the entire process, and in the end create models – what we call artificial intelligence – that use that data to calculate the optimal strategy.
As with any AI system, the more clients use it, it will get ‘smarter’ and manage the budgets better, Davor adds.
Turn agency knowledge into a tool
The goal was to transform the knowhow of a top digital agency, such as SeekandHit, into an automated service, explains Davor. He adds that, in order to be successful, you need to be present on all channels at once, but ad placement on all platforms requires quite an effort:
Highly sophisticated advertisers with big budgets either hire specialized performance marketing agencies or have in-house teams for that. Both options cost a lot as they require a lot of human effort. By automating the process, we can cut those costs down while, at the same time, having the same or even better output. Better performance is not necessarily because people are incapable of doing a good job, but because the machine doesn’t get tired and, unlike us mortals, can be online 24/7.
The other group that can benefit a lot by a system like this is on the other side of the fence – all those tiny advertisers that don’t have big budgets for experimenting. In general, those advertisers try to ‘get the campaign right’, and then simply let it run without checking and correcting it, as they cannot afford its tweaking.
Capt’n.ai is smart enough to ‘rearrange’ the budgets across channels on its own, so it can, for example, take a little bit from your YouTube budget and put it on Facebook for a few days, and then return it back to YouTube. Davor says that this is very simple: each channel has its own saturation curve, which means that a linear budget increase will never translate into a linear conversion rate increase:
Due to that saturation you need to use as many channels as possible, and the biggest problem is to precisely define which budget allocation will give you the best results. Best experts are, in our experience, circa 20% better than the average ones, and our tool is at par with top experts.
You will not miss ads micromanagement
I doubt anyone loves opening Facebook and Google ads managers daily and spending time on analyzing campaigns when they could spend that time doing anything else. AI is being used in marketing nowadays and many try using it for the creative aspect, which is not always the best solution. Even though AI is especially useful for analytical tasks, sometimes it is also used to generate turbo-folk song lyrics, and that is where we should probably draw the line at.
Davor tells me that, presently, it only takes a few minutes to add the campaign into the tool, and then on a daily basis you have to do – nothing. Once a day, you will get a message on Slack with a report, and you can either do something with it or not, says Davor:
Long-term, we plan to develop a fully functional conversational (chat) interface, so
that you don’t even need a web or mobile app. Connecting the campaigns will in that case be done through Slack, WhatsApp, or some other messaging platform, by simply clicking a link, and all actions will be doable through conversing with a chatbot.
Catapulting the agencies into the future
On the agency side, Mario says it is exceptionally good that the tool can take over the repetitive tasks that usually take a lot of time. Up to a few years ago, it was unimaginable that a system can ‘think’ for you, while today that is perfectly normal:
For agencies, but also other people in marketing and clients, this means that time
usually spent per campaign will be much better utilized, it will minimize human error in understanding vast tables, numbers, and reports, and enable better work for everyone. Namely, if in the background there is a tool that takes care of the basics such as budget allocation, price per click, conversion rates, etc., every person involved can dedicate their time to parts of campaign that actually are what is considered to be marketing and advertising.
“God created his own beard first,” said someone at some point, and it’s quite logical that Capt’n.ai is already deployed in SeekandHit. Mario tells me that, after their big success with SocialBrando, they tried to utilize their resources to create tools for internal needs, so this collaboration with Davor and Hajdi was a natural course of events. Mario says that it was time to stir the projects they already worked on and analyze what can be done better and then combine them into the product that can be used by other companies as well.
Capt’n.ai will, undoubtfully, soon navigate the local advertising seas, and Mario, Davor, and the rest of the team behind it, will keep improving it and making it smarter so that they can make their own, but also lives of all of their colleagues that are still managing their campaigns ‘on foot’, much easier.