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Amazon is using AI to make more ads

Amazon has just announced that it will be utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) to generate photos and videos for merchants to use in advertising campaigns on its platform, a company spokesperson confirmed, efforts that could help diversify its ad business.

Even without AI, Amazon’s ad business is booming, having grown by double-digit percentages every quarter since it started breaking out its revenue in 2021. The company brought in $38 billion last year but currently centres on ads that give merchants a boost in search results. The company also sells audio ads on Amazon Music and even runs digital ads on screens inside Amazon Fresh grocery stores, among other efforts.

It only makes sense, therefore, that the commerce giant would want to maximise on its turn out of ad content and tools that make photo and video creation easier have the potential to make those formats easier to sell. For example, smaller brands that find the cost of making video ad spots too expensive or time-consuming could potentially use an AI tool to do so.

But does such a decision truly erase the need for creatives within Amazon? Not at all. Amazon’s job postings for the AI advertising team, which is part a group called Creative X, detail plans to make “creatives”—industry speak for the images and videos that go into ads—for the use of big brands that advertise on Amazon, as well as advertising agencies and smaller self-service advertisers.

Amazon’s hiring for AI ad roles comes despite cost cutting that’s seen the company slash 27,000 jobs, including some within the ads division. Before the layoffs that hit the advertising team in April, about 18,500 people were reporting to Amazon Senior Vice President Paul Kotas, who oversees both the ads division and the smaller IMDb and Grand Challenge moonshot lab teams, according to a person with direct knowledge of headcount. It’s unclear exactly how many jobs Amazon cut in its advertising division.

Amazon is not alone in its AI decision making. Google and Meta Platforms, Amazon’s top digital advertising rivals, appear to be working on similar products. Google has started pitching generative AI to advertisers, detailing tools that will remix imagery, videos and text to customise ads for particular target audiences, The Financial Times reported in April. And Meta has been developing tools to help advertisers create images and text for campaigns using generative AI, The Information previously reported.

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