Company News, High Impact Creatives

How SparkLabs Accelerated Productivity with Generative AI

Aimee Kessler Evans
Apr 23, 2024
SparkLabs Creates Ads with AI - Accelerated Productivity with Generative AI

Incorporating generative AI tools is about more than creating high-impact ad creatives: It will also drive more efficient time and resource management. But how can creative teams move from testing these tools to actually building them into everyday processes?

In the recently released report, Performance-Driven Ad Trends 2024, SparkLabs, the in-house creative agency at AppLovin, offered some insights into the process they followed to integrate AI into their workflows. In 2023, they saw an incredible 170% increase in the use of generative AI across all creatives. This resulted in a 118% jump in wins for creatives that used generated speech alone, showcasing the tremendous potential of AI in building high-impact creatives.

SparkLabs acknowledges that 2023 was a tale of two halves: H1 was dedicated to testing and exploring the influx of new AI tools on the market, while H2 saw the beginning of true AI adoption in the team’s creative processes. Here’s a look at what they learned over that year. 

Embrace the change

SparkLabs emphasizes the importance of embracing, rather than dreading, AI’s ever-evolving nature. Don’t be discouraged by the constant emergence of new tools and features. Instead, focus on actively exploring AI’s potential, both present and future. This exploration fosters a deeper understanding of how you can use AI to enhance your workflows and your creatives. 

Many creative teams tend to get stuck after the initial excitement of AI experimentation wears off. These challenges, which frequently result in a plateau, include:

  • Isolated efforts: Individual successes aren’t translating to team-wide benefits.
  • Stagnating efficiency: The initial productivity gains stall after the learning curve.
  • Community focus: Transitioning from individual gains to team-wide impact.

This plateau can be tough to surpass, but the SparkLabs team recommends these steps to continue team-wide innovation and improvement:

  • Open communication: Encourage open discussions to share knowledge and break down silos.
  • Create a dedicated AI task force: Appoint a smaller team to lead the exploration and adoption.
  • Knowledge sharing: Create shared, “living” documentation and best practices.
  • Continuous learning: New AI tools are introduced constantly, and existing tools are upgraded and improved. Continue to test tools and refine existing workflows.

This collaborative approach tackles what SparkLabs identifies as the greatest challenge of AI adoption: mindset. While user-friendliness is increasing, the true value lies in understanding how AI can revolutionize workflows, not just enhance aesthetics. Don’t limit expectations of these new tools to the outcomes; think of the broader impact on efficiency and productivity, as well as on creativity. The SparkLabs team was able to save over 1600 hours by applying AI tools to mundane tasks like removing backgrounds from images and motion tracking. Where can your team apply generative AI to save time and boost efficiency?

Tactical Tips

If your creative team is testing AI tools, here are some tips from a team that’s already walked that road: 

  • Master the prompts: Take the time to learn how to write effective prompts for different AI tools. You can even experiment with prompting using AI tools like ChatGPT and Gemini. Beyond that, resources like official guides and online communities can be helpful. (There’s always someone on Reddit who knows everything!)
  • Brace for (and readily accept) change: AI tools constantly improve. The SparkLabs team has learned to accept that they’re likely to “spend 10 hours to learn how to do something with AI that you could manually do in 10 minutes, only to see the tool get a complete revamp after 10 days.”
  • Use AI responsibly: Generative AI has had ethics issues in the past, lifting elements from designers and writers. Stay mindful of legal and copyright considerations, and investigate anything that seems off. Particularly with written text, the tools themselves confess to occasional inaccuracies. 
  • We still need humans. AI isn’t going to steal your job or take over your work so you can take a beach day. Human intelligence, creativity, and sensitivity are still required to create outstanding work. Generative AI is an increasingly helpful tool to enhance your creativity, but your unique brilliance is still required. 

Envisioning the future with AI

SparkLabs’ insights allow us to see a clear picture of the future: AI is a powerful tool for driving efficiencies and enhancing creative output. Their focus is on encouraging and empowering their team to explore and adopt AI, fostering a culture of continuous learning that prioritizes long-term gains over short-term quick fixes. This approach can be adopted by other creative teams to unlock the potential of generative AI to improve their own workflows and creative processes. 

Want to learn more about how SparkLabs drove productivity with generative AI – and see examples of how it was used in their winning creatives? Sign up and watch the AI in Ad Creatives webinar, where the team takes you step by step through the phased process they used to operationalize generative AI!

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