Paid Media + AI = Doing More with Less Budget

BY Rachel Cagle
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The average marketing budget has fallen to a post-​pandemic low, according to Gartner. How can marketers continue to deliver with a dwindling budget? Paid media and AI may be the answers your client is looking for.

Paid Media + AI = Doing More with Less Budget

Paid Media Rises Like a Phoenix

In 2024, marketing budgets took a dive from an average of 9.1% of company revenue to only 7.7%. Most major marketing resources also took significant hits to their marketing budget allocation. There was only one that didn’t.

According to Gartner, there are four major resources marketers dedicate their budgets to. Between 2023 and 2024, their percentage of marketing budget allocation changed from:

  • Paid Media: About 25% to 27.9%
  • Martech: About 25% to 23.8%
  • Labor: About 24% to 22.6%
  • Agencies: About 22.5% to 22%

Among paid media, the average marketer dedicates 57.1% to digital media, including:

  • Search: 13.6% of paid media spend is allocated to search
  • Social: 12.2%
  • Digital Display: 10.7%

Want to know for sure which types of paid media your client should be investing in? Check out their target audience’s profile on AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel. There, you’ll see which types of ad media drove the highest percentages of that audience to take action.

Doing More with Less

Of course, 27.9% of an overall marketing budget isn’t a lot to work with, especially when you’re used to more. So, how can your client do more for their paid media and marketing generation goals with less money?


Gartner says that “64% of CMOs say they lack the budget to execute their 2024 strategy.” However, “GenAI offers the opportunity to grow the marketing function’s impact far beyond its budgetary constraints.”

As their budgets shrink, your client can’t expect to get the same result from their previous strategies or tools. But they don’t have to know that AI is readily available to help them with their workloads. Over 33% of CMOs say that AI makes their organizations more time and cost efficient. And no, AI doesn’t accomplish either by replacing the human workforce.

AI Enhances Humans’ Work

Instead of replacing them, AI is helping human marketers save their time and the organization’s money by:

  • Brainstorm new content and ad topics: 51% of marketers use AI for this
  • Research headlines, keywords, etc.: 45%
  • Write content and ad drafts: 45%
  • Proofread content: 20%

An article from New York Magazine says that AI helps writers and marketers overcome writer’s block. AI can make “operations more productive, partially automating friction-​filled processes—typing, transcription, maybe even puzzling over structure.” Freeing up that time means that marketers can focus more on business-​critical tasks instead of getting stuck on mundane ones.

Essentially, it will save marketers time researching which topics to write and helping them create effective first drafts. Plus, AI saves your clients money by focusing on paid media content that will actually get results.

AI Still Needs Humans’ Help

Some of you may know from experience that AI still has a long way to go. It can’t produce paid media on its own that doesn’t look like it was written by a bot yet. And its work will always need fact checking when it comes to statistics and such that it adds. Not only that, someone will have to make sure that AI is writing content and ads in your client’s style.

So, be sure that you’re offering skilled editorial services to your client. They’ll need it when they start using AI to help bulk up their content and ad offerings.

A combination of paid media and AI is just what your client needs to make the most of dwindling budgets.

Photo by: Christin Hume