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Meta's AI Sandbox and generative AI in advertising

Sandbox's AI capabilities for online advertisers indicate a potential advance in how AI tools can support advertising and search with fewer human interactions and less user data.

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Meta's AI Sandbox highlights the Facebook parent company's generative AI strategy and how generative AI is changing advertising.

Meta demonstrated AI Sandbox during a live media event in New York City on May 11 to showcase the technology as an arena for testing new generative AI-powered ad tools. The company plans to test out AI Sandbox with a select group of advertisers before opening up general availability in July.

Sandbox includes three features: Text Variation, Background Generation and Image Outcropping.

Text Variation generates multiple versions of copy to give an advertiser a choice of different messages for different audiences. Background Generation creates background images from text and enables an advertiser to test different backgrounds. Image Outcropping adjusts creative assets to fit different aspect ratios across various mediums, including stories and reels on various social platforms.

A shift in the market

"We're seeing the rapid monetization of AI tools that support both advertising and search, being driven largely by the owners of the large language models these applications are built on," said Nicole Greene, an analyst at Gartner.

We're seeing the rapid monetization of AI tools that support both advertising and search, being driven largely by the owners of the large language models these applications are built on.
Nicole GreeneAnalyst, Gartner

This shift to using more AI-powered tools will enable advertisers to apply AI to develop more specific versions of their online products, deliver them to their target audience and then optimize based on the response, with less human interaction and less user data than previously needed, Greene added.

AI Sandbox provides benefits both for advertisers and for Meta, she said.

The new generative AI capabilities enable advertisers to develop different iterations of ads to address their audience and then deliver those ads at scale through Meta's platform.

"It also allows Meta to retain a strong position over the assets and distribution, allowing them to deliver targeted advertising even as the chasm between unknown and known audiences widens," Greene said, noting that having these AI-enabled tools as a part of Meta's existing products makes it easier for marketers and advertisers to create audience-specific advertising.

However, as AI becomes common in advertising and marketing, users of these tools must be more cautious because of risks of relying on AI algorithms.

"As marketers prepare to [use] these new AI-powered tools, like Sandbox, they need to remain focused on security, fraud, brand reputation and business threats," Greene said. "AI-developed variations should still have human oversight prior to being delivered to consumers."

Meta also revealed new features to its advertising platform, Meta Advantage. The features enable businesses to use video creative in catalog ads, compare existing manual sales campaigns to Advantage Plus shopping campaigns and improve performance with a targeted audience.

Esther Ajao is a news writer covering artificial intelligence software and systems.

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