The power of generative marketing: Can generative AI create superhuman visual marketing content?

51 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2023 Last revised: 11 Apr 2024

See all articles by Jochen Hartmann

Jochen Hartmann

TUM School of Management,Technical University of Munich

Yannick Exner

TUM School of Management,Technical University of Munich

Samuel Domdey

Technical University Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH)

Date Written: April 10, 2024

Abstract

Generative AI’s capacity to create photorealistic images has the potential to augment human creativity and disrupt the economics of visual marketing content production. This research systematically compares the performance of AI-generated to human-made marketing images across important marketing dimensions. First, we prompt seven state-of-the-art generative text-to-image models (DALL-E 3, Midjourney v6, Firefly 2, Imagen 2, Imagine, Realistic Vision, and Stable Diffusion XL Turbo) to create 10,320 synthetic marketing images, using 2,400 real-world, human-made images as input. 254,400 human evaluations of these images show that AI-generated marketing imagery can surpass human-made images in quality, realism, and aesthetics. Second, we give identical creative briefings to commissioned human freelancers and the AI models, showing that the best synthetic images also excel in ad creativity, ad attitudes, and prompt following. Third, a randomized field experiment with more than 173,000 impressions demonstrates that AI-generated online ads can compete with professional human-made stock photography, achieving an up to 50% higher click-through rate than a human-made image. Collectively, our findings suggest that the paradigm shift brought about by generative AI can help advertisers produce marketing content not only faster and orders of magnitude cheaper but also at superhuman effectiveness levels with important implications for firms, consumers, and policymakers. To facilitate future research on AI-generated marketing imagery, we release “GeneratedImageNet” that contains all of our synthetic images and their human ratings.

Keywords: generative AI, marketing effectiveness, productivity, content creation, artificial intelligence, digital marketing

JEL Classification: M3, M30, M31, M37

Suggested Citation

Hartmann, Jochen and Exner, Yannick and Domdey, Samuel, The power of generative marketing: Can generative AI create superhuman visual marketing content? (April 10, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4597899 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4597899

Jochen Hartmann (Contact Author)

TUM School of Management,Technical University of Munich ( email )

Arcisstrasse 21
Munchen, 80333
Germany

Yannick Exner

TUM School of Management,Technical University of Munich ( email )

Arcisstrasse 21
Munchen, 80333
Germany

Samuel Domdey

Technical University Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH) ( email )

Schwarzenbergstrasse 95
Hamburg, DE Hamburg D-21071
Germany

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