Can’t keep up with the design demands of your business? It’s time to ditch those repetitive tasks and diversify your creative using automation.
Have you lost control of your creative assets?
Don’t get me wrong, your brand feeds look great. I’m talking about your digital asset management. The back-end. The skeleton in all content creators’ cupboards…
I’m here to walk you through the murky waters made up of as we delve into creative automation.
Despite being involved in digital marketing since you could throw sheep at people, I’m still learning how to approach my digital housekeeping. Especially considering all the new variables in the mix now since the rise of machine learning, and when AI took a seat at the tech table, there’s plenty more to do to run a tight e-commerce ship.
Before you start panicking, I’m here to tell you there’s an app for it.
I’ve scoured the web for the best creative automation solutions for advertisers as we head into 2024 so you can streamline your creative process and scale ad production.
First, let’s take a look at what creative automation means.
What is creative automation?
Creative automation means using technology to perform repetitive tasks and efficiently scale creative assets. For the most part, creative automation focuses on systemizing creative production and quick and easy content distribution.
Then AI joined the party. Now, with the addition of artificial intelligence to the mix, you can delegate even more tasks so you can free up more of your time. Moreover, the more AI learns how to improve efficiency and do more tasks, the better it enhances the creative automation tools available. Yet, with the options you have to choose from, each has its pros and cons.
Creative automation also uses workflows to automate a variety of functions. Moreover, it can bridge the two worlds of asset creation and analytics, from creating hundreds of creative versions at once to analyzing the outcome of creative designs based on results. It can eliminate a lot of the lever-pulling involved in your production process.
While it may be overwhelming to keep up with the ever-growing list of computing capabilities, there are use cases you really should pay attention to. For example, using creative automation software, creative workflows, and creative asset management, all have incredible benefits for the modern marketer.
Why is creative automation important?
The number one reason is it saves you time. What can take humans minutes or hours to work out can be given to software to compute in a split second. With a workflow in place, you reduce the small admin tasks and the back and forth.
Here are more ways that using creative automation can positively impact your business:
- Reduces time from concept to launch - Whether your deadlines are looming or your resources are stretched thin, creative automation can massively reduce how much time you spend on this. By using templates and workflows, you spend less time setting up artboards from scratch. No more reinventing the wheel.
- Cost-effective - By bringing your creative management in-house, you can potentially reduce the fees you’d usually spend paying freelance designers or strategists. Furthermore, you can extend the scope of your team’s capabilities.
- Better decision-making - The sheer volume of data that can be processed in a split second is more than we can comprehend as humans. Let the machines test your creative and gather insights so you can make decisions based on real-time data and facts.
- Augments workforce - If creative teams work with technology and not against it, it unlocks and enhances existing talent and potential. Using automation software tools can support your creative strategy and team focus on what humans do best - hone winning ideas.
By farming out mundane tasks and leveraging computing capabilities, you can free up time to focus on bringing new content ideas to life and delighting your customers.
However, identifying ways to automate, analyze, and optimize your creative production becomes your new project.
What are creative automation tools, and how are they used?
With a quick Google search for “creative automation,” you’ll find pages of results for creative automation solutions. With so many software choices offering different features, how do you tell which is the best for your business?
Before you start a myriad of free trials, let’s look at some of the most popular ways creative automation tools help marketers.
- Generation - from campaign ideation to aid your creative strategist to rolling out different ad versions to support your designer, AI can help inspire every aspect of your creative workflow - including writing ad copy and setting up your ads.
- Creative enhancements - certain tools can morph and adjust images, resize ads for different placements, crop, remove or change backgrounds, and even aid with composition.
- Templates - most tools support template creation, and using them helps replicate winning ads quickly and easily. Use design templates for the different versions of ads you want to create to speak to different target audiences.
- Creative scaling - once you have a superstar design, you can scale it by creating more versions to reach more people and increase your ROAS.
- Distribution - With creative automation software, you can launch your ads across multiple platforms in a few clicks.
- Budget Optimization - let AI monitor ad performance, and with automation rules in place, you can stop budget hogs immediately, control your spending, and hone in on lucrative target audience segments.
- Clean up creative clutter - by using a creative automation workflow, you know where all your versions are and what’s where in the pipeline, plus all final creatives are saved in one accessible place.
The question is, how many of these uses are meaningful to your business? Do you want an all-in-one solution that does everything? Or do you want a tool for a specific platform or function? How many tools are you prepared to use - and pay for?
Keep scrollin’; I’ve got the answers.
The 4 best creative automation tools in 2023
I handpicked these tools based on usability to suit a cross-section of needs for businesses of all sizes, although I’ve left enterprise solutions off the list.
Platforms supported: Meta, Shopify, TikTok, Google Ads, GA4
Madgicx offers an all-in-one solution for marketers to optimize and enhance all aspects of producing ads. Geared for the creative strains of e-commerce on businesses, Madgicx’s Creative Workflow is your new BFF to help you constantly produce converting ads.
Each tool is built to give you a hand with a specific step in the creative production process. Plus, Madgicx’s Creative Workflow works in a way that allows you to decide how much of it you want to use.
- Ad Library - use AI search to browse for inspiration by ad copy, brand name, and tags and filter by industry, ad format, and platform. Spy on your competitors and follow brands.
Save your favorite ads to boards by campaign idea, ad type, or however you like to plan your ads! Think Pinterest for ad inspiration.
- Sparkle - get your ad designed in 48 hours by professional designers and multimedia creators. Send a detailed design brief directly from the Ad Library and manage any revisions from the Sparkle page. Once approved, your ad is automatically uploaded to your ad account, so you don’t have to download and upload anything. Just launch.
- Ad Launcher - Once your ad is ready, you can launch it straight from Madgicx at the click of a button.
- Creative Insights - Use AI to analyze your performance insights across all channels and help you identify what creative elements perform well and spot scalable ads. Use your findings to inform your next ad campaign.
You can go from concept to launch from one place, and with new ads being added all the time, your well of inspiration will never run dry. Try the Ad Library for free and find your next ad campaign idea.
Platforms supported: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Google Ads, GA4, Adjust, AppsFlyer
Hunch is a creative automation tool that lets you create, edit, and replicate ads in seconds. You can design on-brand templates using the Hunch Creative Studio and create multi-channel versions of your creatives. I like Hunch’s video templates, and adding animation to your creatives is easy. I also like their analytic features, even though they don’t go into as much detail as I’m used to with Madgicx.
Hunch lets you create dynamic creative by using layers to address the variations you need to define. So, your main design would be at the bottom layer, and any text or image variations can be layered over it using conditions.
Hunch’s creative insights offer meaningful analytics to help you understand what’s working and what’s not. As a result, Hunch also helps you make informed decisions about where to focus your ad spend to increase ROAS.
With dynamic creative options, Hunch lets you create highly customized ads for your target audience based on the conditions you define, which is super cool. Furthermore, you can publish to several platforms easily.
Image source: Capterra
While Hunch also offers campaign optimization, there are certain areas where it falls short. It has limited campaign optimization ability once your ad is launched, and several bugs irk users, according to their G2 reviews. It also doesn’t have a Shopify integration (yet), which may not work for some users.
That being said, Hunch has some great features in Hunch, and I do love the .psd file import feature.
- Creative Studio
- Import .psd files
- Image and video templates
- Product catalog management
- Solutions by role
- Smart Scale automatically creates multiple versions of your ad for cross-platform distribution
Platforms supported: While no platforms are listed for distribution on their website, there are many software integrations available, like Figma, Google Drive and Calendar, Outlook, Slack, and Dropbox.
Powered by AI, Artwork Flow is a unified creative management system. This tool is for content creation and replication of ad versions and online proofing. Artwork Flow also has a template library where you can choose existing designs and apply your branding or start from scratch.
It has some novel features in the AI-powered brand compliance checker to ensure your brand guide is applied correctly to your creatives. In addition, Artwork Flow has a nifty AI label compliance checker that tells you if your product label meets FDA regulations.
Once again, the main limitation of Artwork Flow is that it isn’t an all-in-one solution, as you still need a tool to publish and optimize your ad campaigns once they go live.
- Digital asset management
- Template library
- AI Brand compliance checker
- AI Label compliance checker
- Resize and adjust asset dimensions
- Online proofing & collaboration
- AI-powered smart tagging
- Contextual search
Platforms supported: While it has no social distribution functionality, it does have many software integrations.
Bynder is digital asset management software that produces creative versions at scale. With an easy-to-use interface, this software is ideal for designers and marketing teams to take an idea from concept to completion. Bynder lets you replicate easily using templates to create design variations at scale. Furthermore, it has a robust online proofing and collaboration process.
Bynder works as a centralized portal for digital asset management. Its proofing and publishing functions work within the portal so that once published, users see the right version of your creative and have access to download and use it as they see fit.
While this aspect of Bynder’s creative automation works seamlessly, it falls short in the ‘all-in-one-place’ department. It doesn’t support ad optimization features or easy distribution and is mainly used for the content creation and digital asset management functions.
Several users say they wish it had more AI and modern features to be on par with other software tools. Publishing and optimizing your ads will require using another tool in addition to Bynder, so it doesn’t check the all-in-one box for me.
- Bynder Studio
- Control and bulk edit metadata
- Digital asset management software
- Easy collaboration
- Proofing and version control
- AI-powered duplicate file removal
- Automated dynamic asset transformation
First and foremost, you should pick the solution that suits your unique business needs. Keep in mind that your solution could be a combination of tools to achieve your desired results. Even with an unbiased view, you can’t deny that Madgicx Creative Workflow offers you bang for your buck. It helps you automate your creative process and offers an all-in-one solution for anyone who sells stuff online.
What I like best is how you can customize your workflow to suit your business needs and the way you can glean valuable creative insights that you just don’t seem to find elsewhere.
For me, the Creative Workflow starts and ends with the Ad Library. Without creative inspiration, ad campaigns fall flat. Give it a spin and see for yourself. Try it free for 7 days.
Snoop on your competitors to see what’s hot, send design briefs from the app, and get your creatives in 48 hours. Launch your ads in a few clicks and let Madgicx begin analyzing each element for crystal-clear insights informing your next campaign. Try it free for 7 days.
As a content and technical writer, my goal is to help business owners and advertisers navigate the digital landscape.