Meta’s AI Sandbox Is ‘Playground’ for Facebook and Instagram Advertisers

The new tool is designed to save advertisers time and money, as well as ensure they reach their audience effectively.

Facebook owner Meta has announced a new generative AI tool for advertisers called AI Sandbox.

Launched at a press event in New York, company executives referred to AI Sandbox as a ‘testing playground’ with features focused on streamlining processes in three main areas: copywriting, visual asset generation, and image manipulation. It marks the latest AI tool from big tech.

Meta said that AI Sandbox is currently being made available to a ‘small group’ of advertisers, with a wider roll out planned for July this year as well as direct integration into its existing products.

A Closer Look at AI Sandbox’s Key Features

AI Sandbox comes with a crop of neat features, which Meta thinks will save advertisers time and money.

First up is Text Variation, which will have professional copywriters hitting the doubles this weekend. This feature allows advertisers to generate multiple versions of a piece of written copy, each one custom composed to target a different audience – all while promising to retain core brand messaging in each variation.

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Next up is Background Generation, which will create background images from little more than text prompts. As well as being designed to help advertisers quickly furnish their campaigns with a diverse range of creative assets, we can see this being useful in A/B testing and other areas of UX product development.

Finally, Image Outcropping is potentially a huge timesaver and automatically adjusts visuals to the correct aspect ratio for different social media sharing mediums: Posts, Stories, Reels and so on. This one has Photoshop wizards and lazy interns alike thanking their lucky stars for the emergence of generative AI this year.

Meta Enters Big Tech AI Battle Royale

AI Sandbox is just the latest product on the generative AI scene, which includes other popular platforms like Microsoft’s ChatGPT tool.

In short, generative AI is a form of machine learning where something new is created from the sea of data, information and assets that already exist in the digital world. An obvious example is we could ask ChatGPT or Google Bard to write this article. Unless you’ve trained yourself to spot signs of artificial intelligence at play, you might not know.

In the case of Meta and its new AI Sandbox tool, the idea would seem to be that streamlining everyday tasks like image cropping helps advertisers save on certain overheads – and frees up money to be potentially reinvested directly in ad spend, one might argue.

Americans Unsure of AI’s Brave New World

Despite its recent surge in popularity, the jury is still out on whether or not AI should be fully embraced or not, especially in matters where trust is required.

A recently published joint study by KMPG and Australia’s University of Queensland found that just 40% of Americans currently trusted AI systems, while globally 60% of respondents were either unwilling or unsure about trusting artificial intelligence.

The study draws on responses from more than 17,000 people across 17 countries, so its findings can be deemed reliable. That doesn’t mean AI’s going anywhere, though. On the contrary, the steady stream of AI-related announcements – from Meta’s AI Sandbox to Google’s upcoming AI search update – suggest we’re still only on the precipice of this brave new world.

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Written by:
James Laird is a technology journalist with 10+ years experience working on some of the world's biggest websites. These include TechRadar, Trusted Reviews, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and The Sun, as well as industry-specific titles such as ITProPortal. His particular areas of interest and expertise are cyber security, VPNs and general hardware.
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