The Best Way to Do Paid Media Marketing Is to Not Do Paid Media

In the last few years, the way we’ve had to approach paid media marketing strategies has changed. Formerly, success in paid media hinged on the intricate structuring of campaigns and an adept grasp of platform nuances.

However, now that these platforms are getting smarter, it’s supplanting the need for (as much) human agency as we were used to. The era of heavy reliance on human expertise is transitioning into an age where AI is taking the helm.

But rest assured, this doesn’t mean paid media is going away. It just means that our approach to it needs to pivot.

Yaniv Masjedi
CMO, Nextiva

Their expertise has helped Nextiva grow its brand and overall business

Embrace AI Marketing

Evolving Strategies in Paid Media

It used to be that crafting successful paid media campaigns was a meticulous art involving campaign structure mastery and precise keyword matching. The landscape revolved around comprehending the platforms’ mechanics. However, as suggested in the discourse, the tides are changing.

Advanced AI systems are orchestrating a transformation in paid media marketing, such as:

  • Personalization at Scale:
    • Example: Instead of showing the same ad to everyone, AI can analyze user behavior, preferences and past interactions to display tailored ads. A user who recently searched for hiking boots might see an ad for a related product, like hiking backpacks.
    • Impact: This increases the relevance of ads, leading to higher conversion rates.
  • Predictive Analytics:
    • Example: AI can predict which users are more likely to make a purchase based on their digital footprint. If a user frequently visits luxury clothing websites, they might be targeted with high-end fashion ads.
    • Impact: Businesses can allocate their ad budget more efficiently, targeting users with a higher propensity to convert.
  • Dynamic Content Optimization:
    • Example: AI tools can automatically A/B test different ad variations to determine which performs best. This could involve changing the ad’s color, wording or image.
    • Impact: This ensures that the most effective ad version is displayed, maximizing ROI.
  • Chatbots and Virtual Assistants:
    • Example: After clicking on a paid ad, a user might be greeted by a chatbot on the landing page, ready to answer questions or guide them through a purchase.
    • Impact: This immediate interaction can enhance user experience and increase sales conversions.
  • Voice Search Optimization:
    • Example: As voice-activated devices like Alexa and Google Home become more popular, businesses are optimizing their paid ads for voice search. This might involve bidding on longer, more conversational keywords.
    • Impact: This captures a growing segment of users who prefer voice commands over traditional search.
  • Visual Recognition in Social Media:
    • Example: Platforms like Instagram use AI to recognize objects in photos. A user posting pictures of their beach vacation might be targeted with ads for sunscreen or swimwear.
    • Impact: This opens up new avenues for contextual advertising based on visual content.
  • Fraud Detection:
    • Example: AI can identify unusual patterns in clicks or interactions, flagging potential click fraud.
    • Impact: This ensures that businesses’ ad budgets are spent on genuine user interactions, not fraudulent clicks.

Now that those types of motions are being largely automated, it necessitates that paid media marketers devote more of their time and learning toward mastering creative.

Creative Is the Biggest Emphasis for Paid Media Marketing

What it takes to stand out amidst all the noise extends beyond just knowing what campaign settings to use. In due time, anyone using a paid media platform, like Google Ads, for example, will learn all they need to know to use the platform effectively. And now that so many features are handled by AI, the list of items to master is growing ever smaller.

The real agency that humans bring to the table with paid media now lies in the creative facets orbiting the campaign. Think about the most memorable ads you’ve seen and you’ll realize that the creatives had a lot to do with it:


This encompasses everything from message intricacies to compelling copy, from captivating landing pages to the inherent appeal of the advertisements. The veritable heartbeat of success isn’t in refining knobs for optimal configuration but rather in the artistry of captivating the audience.

Mastering Your Creative Elements

Improving your paid media campaigns through meticulous knob-turning will eventually plateau.

At the beginning of a very new ad campaign, you may find playing around with different settings and targeting options will prove very efficient, but those motions will carry diminishing returns over time. This is similar to what we often see with Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), where progress can slow down after a certain degree of iterations have been met.

Creative content, however, adheres to a different rhythm. It’s a matter of stark contrasts — either the content flourishes or falls flat.

Too many marketers are focused on the mechanical aspects behind their ads and neglect optimizing their creative and how it coincides with their landing pages.

The role of paid media marketers now ought to shift focus away from fixating on the technical aspect of the media platforms so that they can secure a fraction of a percent’s improvement and more toward keeping creative content new and fresh.

But where do you start?

Even if the luxury of a creative expert isn’t attainable, a treasure trove of free resources awaits. All you have to do is look at inspiration like Chamber Media, Raindrop and Harmon Brothers:

Harmon Brothers ad agency home page

These sources are masterclasses in marketing creative inspiration, showing us what it looks like to prioritize the content side of marketing just as strongly as the technical side. Like this one: Dr. Squatch’s Super Bowl ad for their soap for men who “like to feel good and smell titillating”:


It’s vital to realize that for every out-of-the-park idea are several dud ideas. You, as a paid media marketer devising new creative, have to be flexible and willing to keep trying after something doesn’t work. When one thing doesn’t work, try something tangentially different. Keep doing this until you break ground with something that manages to captivate your audience and drive results.

Creative marketing strategy isn’t so much about being clever right off the bat. It takes patience and iteration. You have to tinker with different ideas and be willing to fail your way forward into an idea that eventually works with your strategy.

Final Thoughts on How Paid Media Marketing Is Changing

When it comes to paid media campaigns, remember that it’s about resonant messaging and captivating content. In order to stay at the top of your game, you must re-evaluate the pillars of what makes a paid media marketing campaign successful.

Your role with the technical side of things is progressively eroding away, so what will you do to have a hand in it? There’s clearly still a need for human agency in digital marketing, but the main benefit of human intervention is shaping up to focus on artistic vision combined with the interpretation of results.

Part of being a successful marketer is being fluid with trends, and the same philosophy applies here. The old way of lever-pulling is fading away. Now we have to re-align our focus and put ourselves to good use where we can. Good luck!

If you’re ready to acquire new customers predictably, Single Grain’s paid media experts can help!👇


Embrace AI Marketing

Repurposed from our Marketing School podcast.

Write for us

Think you’ve got a fresh perspective that will challenge our readers to become better marketers? We’re always looking for authors who can deliver quality articles and blog posts. Thousands of your peers will read your work, and you will level up in the process.

Contribute to our blog