Social media platforms may have initially been designed for individuals to connect human to human. However, since those early days, platforms like Meta’s Facebook and Instagram or LinkedIn have developed into powerful marketing and advertising tools.

Social media advertising has become a key tool for brands of any size to connect with customers. Just as audiences are changing, the tools brands use to reach them are becoming more sophisticated. Today, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are changing the way brands connect to their audiences on social media.

The Business Case for Social Media Advertising

In 2023, businesses are expected to spend nearly $95 billion on social media advertising. Thanks to an annual growth rate of more than 8%, experts expect that number to exceed $130 billion by 2027. There is no doubt that social media advertising has grown into one of the most effective marketing tools worldwide.

Anyone doubting its growing influence simply needs to look at recent growth rates. In 2017, U.S. brands spent just over $21 billion on advertising on these platforms. If spending continues to follow current projections, the number will increase sixfold within ten years.

What Makes Social Media Advertising Popular with Marketers

Social media advertising allows marketers to be highly targeted in their approach. Companies like Meta can share highly detailed data about customer demographics and interests with their advertisers, allowing brands to be incredibly precise. As a result, even relatively limited marketing budgets can deliver significant returns on investment.

Over the past few years, most platforms created sophisticated tools to allow advertisers to manage their budgets and their spending. However, developing, running, monitoring the performance of, and optimizing social media advertising continue to require significant investment in staff time. Emerging technologies like AI and ML are about to change that.

How AI and ML Will Change Social Media Advertising

Artificial intelligence technology uses machines such as computers to achieve tasks that would normally require human input. These tasks include learning, understanding language, recognizing patterns, and making decisions. Machine learning is a subdiscipline of AI that uses algorithms to allow devices to learn from their own results without additional human interference.

What can both do for marketers? One of the biggest advantages of these technologies is their ability to analyze and process huge amounts of data more precisely than humans could. When it comes to social media advertising, AI and ML can take some of the legwork out of targeting the most promising audience and understanding which content drove the most effective interactions, for example.

Based on its analysis and its ability to recognize patterns, the software can then suggest different approaches for forthcoming campaigns and predict their potential impact. To some, that may sound as if marketing teams and social media advertising experts will soon be replaced by computers. But that is not where the technology is headed.

Right now, AI and ML are on course to streamline the work of professional marketers by taking over repetitive, unengaging tasks and by dealing with high-volume data analysis. What neither of them can replace is the human touch of carefully crafted content.

Put simply, the technology is doing some of the groundwork to allow marketers to focus on those more creative tasks. As a result, marketers can spend their time choosing the most impactful campaign rather than estimating which campaign that may be. AI and ML have the potential to support marketers in their efforts to make social media marketing more efficient and increase the impact of social media advertising campaigns.

How Businesses Can Implement AI and ML Now

As we are writing this article, the role of AI and ML in social media advertising continues to evolve, and new tools are becoming available almost daily. Despite the changing landscape, there are several ways in which marketers can harness the power of these technologies right now.

  1. Advertising content suggestions
  2. Running campaigns and measuring campaign performance
  3. Optimizing future campaigns

1. Advertising Content Suggestions

AI will not replace a creative, experienced copywriter anytime soon. But the technology is approaching the stage where it can suggest broad topics that may resonate with your audience and highlight focus keywords. Putting together posts your customers will love is still beyond AI and ML.

In fact, AI-based products like ChatGPT recently made headlines for exactly what they were not able to do. Human expertise cannot be beaten when it comes to crafting truly compelling content that drives consumer emotions and inspires action. This kind of authenticity and creativity needs a human-led approach.

2. Running Campaigns and Measuring Campaign Performance

AI and ML-based social media advertising tools have become efficient enough to run entire social media advertising campaigns on a brand’s behalf. Again, the goal is not to replace human marketers but to optimize how their time is being used.

Whilst the technology takes care of the timing and placement of adverts, marketers can focus on developing the next campaign. AI-powered campaign measurement delivers real-time performance updates, allowing the team to see which approaches are performing best.

3. Optimizing Future Campaigns

Thanks to its predictive capabilities, AI can also suggest the most promising iterations. For marketers, this means taking the guesswork out of campaign optimization. Instead, they can base their changes on data covering audience behavior, content performance, and other criteria.

Final Thoughts

Social media has changed how brands connect to their audiences, both by creating owned and paid-for marketing and media opportunities. Today, technologies like AI and ML are on the brink of creating another big shift in digital marketing. Between them, these technologies can simplify and streamline social media advertising for brand teams.

Rather than relying on individual team members to monitor the campaign’s performance, and iterate it to optimize performance, marketers have the support of powerful technology. AI and ML are able to analyze vast quantities of data, recognize patterns in customer behavior faster than humans can, and manage entire campaigns. Despite that, they are not ready to replace the need for a human touch. But there is no denying that the future of social media advertising is here.

Valux Digital is a nationally recognized digital marketing & PR agency in New York. Businesses and projects of all shapes and sizes are welcome here. We have extensive experience in both B2B and B2C marketing.  We specialize in building out customized marketing packages that take real data into account. See some of our other articles on Forbes or Entrepreneur.