Omneky AI-Driven Ads At Scale with Matt Swalley

Guest Matt Swalley, co-founder and Chief Business Officer at Omneky, discusses his AI-driven advertising technology startup. Matt explains how Omneky’s platform leverages AI and computer vision to generate and optimize personalized digital ad creative at scale, showcasing several client success stories. Matt also discusses the future of AI in advertising, provides practical advice for developing AI strategy, and addresses concerns about AI’s impact on employment in the industry.

Episode Transcript

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Adrian Tennant: Coming up in this episode of IN CLEAR FOCUS:

Matt Swalley: So you can run an audience across one of the platforms, take in the learnings from it, from what’s driving clicks, purchases. You have a holistic view of it, and then use that plus computer vision to help identify what you should use in your future creative.

Adrian Tennant: You’re listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, fresh perspectives on marketing and advertising, produced weekly by Bigeye, a strategy-led, full-service creative agency growing brands for clients globally. Hello, I’m your host Adrian Tennant, Chief Strategy Officer. Thank you for joining us.  A 2023 survey from Gartner revealed that over 70% of chief marketing officers lacked sufficient resources to execute their strategies fully. In the face of stagnant or tightening budgets, many agencies and in-house marketing teams are exploring AI-powered solutions to optimize their creative production processes. Combining AI and automation, new solutions offer to revolutionize how brands and agencies create and deploy advertising content at scale. While still ensuring that assets remain on-brand, production processes are accelerated, and a wider range of creative variations can be tailored to specific audiences or platforms. To explore the latest developments in AI for advertising, my guest this week is Matt Swalley, the co-founder and chief business officer at Omneky. This AI-driven ad tech platform empowers clients to generate and optimize personalized ad creative at scale. Before co-founding Omneky, Matt had 13 years of strategic leadership experience with AT&T, specializing in corporate strategy, business development, and sales team growth across various units and roles. To discuss Omneky supports advertising creative production, I’m delighted that Matt is joining us today from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Matt, welcome to IN CLEAR FOCUS.

Matt Swalley: Hi, Adrian. So excited to be here. Thank you for having me.

Adrian Tennant: Matt, can you tell us a bit about your career and what led you to your current role at Omneky?

Matt Swalley: Sure. So my career has quite a few different transitions. I started out my earliest days after graduating from Indiana University. I joined a small business my first two years where I was doing tons and tons of cold calling. I had my own territory in the Midwest, the Chicagoland territory. And they had some really great sales training that taught you how to ask questions, how to go through the sales process. You had lots of trial and error where you’re getting knocked down a lot in those early days. And I made this transition into AT&T as my second job. So I went from a small business that was family owned and operated to a large business that many years was a Fortune 10 company that moved me all across the country. I joined their leadership development program in Atlanta, Georgia that moved me out to the West Coast, where I first of all was a salesperson. Then I was leading sales teams all across Southern California for seven years. And I had this big idea, I want to get to headquarters where all the decisions are made. So I relocated to Dallas for my last five years. And that was really where my career changed quite a bit as well. I led sales teams initially and got my first corporate role where I was a chief of staff, where I was supporting the global business officer that ran all the multinational relationships. And I was like, now I really want to get into corporate strategy. It’s really where the planning and outlook and a lot of the future is set. And so I got my MBA, made this big goal of getting into corporate strategy. My last two years were spent in corporate strategy doing go-to-market planning and investing, looking into really exciting startups. What are those technology next waves of growth? And that’s how I got really passionate about startups. I always had this entrepreneurship in my heart where I did things differently and sales really helped grow that aspect of me. And I met Hikari Senju who started Omneky in 2018. And he had this vision that data was gonna be the key to unlocking digital advertising and generative AI was gonna get better and better. And I joined as really employee number three in the first major business hire and joined Hikari. So I made this leap from Fortune 10 company many years to a early stage startup. And it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Adrian Tennant: Who is Omneky’s ideal customer or client?

Matt Swalley: So through the three years I’ve been here, it’s evolved a lot. So today, our ideal customer profiles are really businesses in consumer product goods, retail, mid-market companies, and enterprise. And we’re also partnering with agencies. The ones that find the most value in Omneky are ones that have multiple products and services and lots of audiences to go market to. One of the big changes in advertising in the past couple of years is creative is now one of the major levers for distribution, meaning that personal information is getting more and more locked up. All these different advertising platforms can’t share a lot of first-party data. So that means they recognize what’s in an ad and they deliver it to, they believe it’s a good fit. And that’s really where Omneky excels is helping companies scale content that’s more personalized for their customers in a much shorter timeframe.

Adrian Tennant: Your website highlights that Omneky utilizes deep learning algorithms to personalize ad-creative assets across digital channels. Matt, can you explain how your platform leverages AI to generate and optimize ads?

Matt Swalley: Sure. So one of the biggest differentiations that Omneky does is we are an end-to-end platform. So we really start with the data. We have these integrations into Meta, Google, TikTok, LinkedIn, X, that give us access to all this data. And that’s really where Hikari, when he founded the company in 2018, he knew advertising was a good place where you can get access to lots of data. And as technologies evolved and computer vision was an early form of AI, you can automatically scan all of the ads you’re running across images and videos, and it can help quantify like what are those major elements of the ads. Then when you have performance data, you can start to look at what’s driving clicks, purchases or leads. And you can use this thing called multimodal learning. Basically, it’s just across all your ads in each audience. What are some of the key characteristics that are driving your sales right now? And that’s what Omneky helps quantify. It pulls in the data, gives you the single place to view your performance across the channels, and then it gives you actionable insights. So it will help recommend, like, what are some things that should be included in ads? And a lot of that data will actually go directly into the creation process. So we have this full workflow tool that will take that data plus any other inputs like who your audience is. We also analyze a lot of your brand information, your brand tone, the colors, the fonts, your brand book, and learn from that. And then we simplify the whole creative process in a condensed timeline.

Adrian Tennant: I listened to you talk about this in a recent interview, and you described Omneky’s platform as a flywheel of real-time performance data, computer vision insights, AI creative generation, and strategic campaign launching. Can you walk us through this process and how it benefits the clients who are using your platform?

Matt Swalley: Sure, so really two places AI can really help with your digital ad creative process. One is iterating off of what’s performing well. So that’s really where the data helps you. It helps you in a short period of time, like the last week or the last month, identify what are those top-performing ads, and then within that, what are the elements? What are the product colors, or the background colors, or the amount of people in it, or does the video have a hook, a statement, or a quote, things like that. It helps figure out what are those main points, And then our tool helps you simply take that ad and scale it into a bunch of more versions that’s more micro-segmented for each audience. So really, we see the future and right now is 10% human input on the front. So what are your goals, objectives? What are you trying to sell? Who’s the audience? And then AI can do the middle 80%. So it can do a lot of the copywriting, the image generation, video generation, like some of the later video generation services right now are getting better and better. And then we make it really simple to distribute that into each platform. So it helps use all those inputs, create a whole bunch of different ads that are launched into the platforms and you learn from the data. The second thing AI is really good at is brand new ideas. So in the past, a strategy could take months to ideate. Well, imagine you have a whole bunch of holidays coming up, you sell a product, you have the 4th of July coming up, and you’re trying to brainstorm, like, what are some great 4th of July elements I can put in my ad? So a couple of simple inputs are, is you put in my audience could be, let’s just say it’s retail, for example. I want to contact a bunch of retail locations across the Midwest. You can say, I want to have a 4th of July promotion featuring this specific person or want to highlight something that’s relevant for 4th of July. And all of a sudden, our tool will come up with lots of different ideas on the spot. So it’s going to come up with headlines, body text, potential images that actually feed the generative end ad creation. And the one thing Omneky does differently as well is we have this approval workflow. So nothing goes live until someone approves it. So the internal company teams can review it. Also, Omneky has a human on the side. And so once those are approved and they’re good, they go directly into the platforms. So really, the two major things are the data helps with learning what are the characteristics of high-performing ads, lets you scale that for multiple audiences, and then second, for new ideas.

Adrian Tennant: I’ve got a couple of follow-up questions. The first is, how does computer vision enable Omneky to quantify ad designs and identify the features driving performance?

Matt Swalley: Well, a lot of this was done manually historically. So people have built their own processes and they were manually reviewing like across all your ads. You could have millions of people looking at something and they were identifying, oh, this looks like this common quote or product is performing well. Well, now computer vision can just scan, categorize all your images and videos. So, instead of a human having to go review every week, hundreds of ads across all your different audiences, it can be done much, much faster just by computer vision taking all that, plus the performance data, and then giving you those quantifiable metrics. And the one problem with data is, historically too, is you could have lots of data, but it’s not actionable. So now, one of the major things you have to do is, how can I make this really easy for either the performance marketer or the creative team to move fast at scaling it? But it’s really just, instead of a human reviewing all this stuff, it’s reviewed by a computer, tagged, and then you’re using the data across all of it to take learnings from it.

Adrian Tennant: How quickly can Omneky typically deliver AI-generated ads compared to traditional creative development timelines?

Matt Swalley: Depending on the brand, it can be within a day. You can move really fast. Once you have the basics down, if you have initial ads running, you could go scale out those ads within hours, actually. The typical creative process for especially upmarket and enterprise could take four months. And we’re really looking at two different places on how to digitize a lot of this. So if you’re a large business and you have an approved creative brief, a creative brief is basically the strategy with it’s been approved by a business. You can actually upload that into our platform. Our platform will learn from it and then create a bunch of ideas, text and images for it. The second is in seconds, you can go generate a creative brief within our platform that is fed by data. So it’s going to look at what are the top keywords for each of your audiences. It’s going to automatically input those and you can just put all your inputs in there and you have a creative brief in seconds. There’s some examples where I’ve taken events or holidays or something for the next five and created five different briefs for campaigns and it took minutes. And then you can take it directly into creative production. So once you have that, you can begin creating ads at all the different requirements you have. That’s one of the biggest challenges still today is attention spans of consumers is getting shorter and shorter. They’re going to all these different places on their phones, their computers, their tablets. And today you have to follow your customers to all those different places. And for marketers out there, it’s really challenging to go create stuff for every single platform. So our technology allows you to resize, do multiple languages for multinational companies, all within the tool. So it takes really minutes instead of hours and hours and hours of work.

Adrian Tennant: Since the introduction of ChatGPT-3 about 18 months or so ago, we’ve seen rapid development of AI image and text generation models. Does Omneky use existing models or are you creating your own?

Matt Swalley: We have a combination of our own proprietary technology in many areas from the data analytics and to knowing what an ad looks like and helping you move fast in creating ads. And then we use best in class for a lot of the different tools. So one of the great parts about being a startup is we’re constantly testing new technology. We use open AI in some cases, we’ve used other models in certain cases. So we reserve the right to use a different model for images, potentially a different model for natural language or copyright. But we all have it protected by our technology within our system. So data is never inferenced or used for training models.

Adrian Tennant: Got it. Just to reiterate that point, so there’s no client data being shared with the AI platforms that you partner with?

Matt Swalley: Yes. None of the platforms are training data on what’s used. It’s secure.

Adrian Tennant: One concern agencies and brands share about automation is ensuring that creative assets comply with brand guidelines. What kinds of controls does Omnike offer clients to help with this?

Matt Swalley: One of our biggest things we’re focusing on is protecting your brand. And so we have this tool called the library tool and you upload all your brand documents in it. So you upload your brand guidelines, you input your fonts, your colors, your logos, and all your key elements. You can quickly sort. And so one thing Omneky does differently as well is we have really three different places you can get images from. You can get images from brand assets. So large businesses, they could have thousands of them. So we make it really easy to pull those in. The second is generative AI, and then the third is stock. So we really give businesses the option and control to use any of those three. And our own internal brand engine is really one of those places where we make it really easy. So you could have seven people within your company. All the different criteria are pre-selected so they go with your brand. And then the last thing is there’s a human on the end. So we make sure that there’s a approval area where a brand could have legal compliance or a marketing person all reviewing stuff before it goes live. So really today, Adrian, one of the biggest points is you have to have a human still reviewing everything.

Adrian Tennant: Does Omneky integrate with any creative software or media planning tools or maybe project management solutions? Or does it replace all of those?

Matt Swalley: Well, we do some things really well. The magic really happens at the scaled creative aspect of it. So we do have in our roadmap integrating with some other tools, but today it’s really just all the advertising platforms where we can pull in all the performance data. But we have on our roadmap and are integrating with a whole bunch of different areas.

Adrian Tennant: Great. Well, Matt, we love case studies on IN CLEAR FOCUS. So could you share an example of how a client has used Omneky to improve their ad performance or lower customer acquisition costs?

Matt Swalley: Sure. So we have a whole bunch on our website that I’ll share our website at the end, but we have a lot across direct-to-consumer e-commerce. And one is a makeup company that offers vegan, 100% all-natural and organic beauty, safe for your skin product. And one of the aspects was creative testing is still the major challenge. This is a mid-sized company. And we were able to actually have over a 3.5% return on investment, and they grew their sales over 200% year over year. But one of the key things was data-driven optimization. So pulling in the creative analytics. So what was actually driving is vegan in the title, one of the major value props or not harmful for your skin, natural, clean beauty, things like that. We learn from that and then we’re able to scale a lot of those learnings into lots of additional creative. Creative has a time shelf on it. So that’s another thing like you have to constantly be reevaluating your creative. That’s really where Omneky comes. And there’s some of the results for that case study.

Adrian Tennant: Let’s take a short break. We’ll be right back after this message. 

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Adrian Tennant: Welcome back. I’m talking with Matt Swalley, the co-founder and chief business officer of Omneky, an AI-driven ad tech platform that generates, analyzes, and optimizes personalized ad creatives at scale across digital channels. The results from Bigeye’s national study, Retail Revolution, based on over 1,400 consumers’ responses, highlighted that data privacy is a major concern. How does Omneky ensure that it responsibly leverages data to personalize ads while protecting user privacy?

Matt Swalley: Well, one of the beauties of our current model right now is all the advertising data you get from the platforms is anonymized. So you don’t have all this first-party data. The second thing is the platforms have algorithms that automatically distribute, which makes creative once again, the number one lever for distribution. So you can run an audience across one of the platforms, take in the learnings from it, from what’s driving clicks, purchases. You have a holistic view of it and then use that plus computer vision to help identify what you should use in your future creative. And that’s really how a lot of it is anonymized data and learnings from a data and analytics standpoint. Now, that being said, you can use a lot of other data that’s internal, but all the data that goes across our tool in the platform is usually anonymized data.

Adrian Tennant: Retail Revolution also invited study respondents to imagine the world in 2030. Well over two-thirds of consumers believe that AI technology will personalize most shopping experiences within the next six years, customizing recommendations based on previous purchases. Matt, what strategies should retailers and brand marketers adopt now to prepare for the shift towards hyper-personalization in the coming years?

Matt Swalley: Well, you need to be using all these tools and getting a good baseline of what’s possible today. And it comes down to that today, you can call it personalized or micro-segmented is what I like to use. You can get much more granular on your ads. I mean, it used to be broadcast. One ad reached millions and it was narrowcast. Now it’s really micro-segmented. So you could have 50 different dynamic variables across data and your customer profiles and your products. And you really need to be testing a whole bunch of creatives called multivariate creative testing for each audience, learning what’s working and getting more and more personalized as it goes. By 2030, we will be at personalization because there’s two different ways. One is all the different advertising platforms know what you’re looking at. So like, Adrian, if you like something on one of these platforms, all of a sudden you’ll notice people in your household are going to see a bunch of ads similar to that. So it’s just going to continue to get more and more granular of what you like. And then the people delivering the content are going to get better and better at personalizing it for you. So even like Neuralink you’re reading, people are starting to like read your brain. So they’re just going to get better and better at predicting what you want to see and getting it to you in a shorter timeframe.

Adrian Tennant: In recent years, many marketers, of course, have focused on media optimization, but less on creative optimization. Why is that, do you think?

Matt Swalley: Well, one of the biggest things was they didn’t have these creative tools and generative AI wasn’t as good as it is today. Even in the early days of open AI, a lot of those things, you saw dolly images, then you saw some videos, the early videos look like aliens watching. people in the world here. I remember the first early beer commercial where everything’s blurred and it’s not perfect. It really will just continue to get better. And that’s the reason why creative was a challenge. It takes marketers a long, long time to go analyze all the data and then also create more personalized content for all those places. Today with generative AI, you have the tools to do it. Everyone’s just trying to develop their own workflow. And the second thing is, Adrian, you are disrupting an old workflow. So a lot of these companies historically have been doing things a certain way for many years, and it takes constant learning to figure out how to use all these tools and piece them together. Like a lot of the best things you see out there are a combination of people using five different tools, sharing with everyone like it was easy to do, but it’s still taking them a lot of time. As that continues to get better, we’re still in the early stages of the learning cycle here. That is the future. Creative is the major lever, especially as data becomes more and more anonymized with data regulation.

Adrian Tennant: That’s a great segue to my next question, which is around process. So what impacts do you typically see Omneky having on your clients’ internal processes? Do they change as a result of having access to the platform?

Matt Swalley: Yeah, there’s really two major levers we look at. One is efficiencies is the first driver. The second is performance. So with efficiencies, you can generate really 10 times the amount of content in the same amount of time. So you’re getting much more micro segmented content in a shorter period of time, you can react quickly. If there’s an event on the news that positively impacts your product or service, you can move really fast. You can also go market new products you previously didn’t have time to go market. So there’s that efficiency standpoint. And the second is performance. So by reacting quickly to data and predicting what will work, you can see a substantial increase in your ROI. I mean, one to five times, depending on how the algorithms, they can change a lot. So really those are the two efficiencies and performance, data-based creative

Adrian Tennant: Looking ahead, how do you envision the role of generative AI evolving in the advertising industry over the next two or three years, let’s say?

Matt Swalley: Well, it’s going to just continue to get better and better. I mean, video, if you saw the early videos of Sora, where they have like this pirate ship floating around in a coffee cup, just imagine one is it’s going to enable you to create video much, much faster. Use AI avatars, for example, where you could go green screen yourself and then have a digital version of yourself talking. It’s just going to enable people to move much, much faster than they were previously.

Adrian Tennant: And Matt, what’s next for Omneky? Do you have any new features on the product roadmap that you’re able to share with us?

Matt Swalley: We are. We’re pulling in some really great video analysis tools right now that are analyzing really in video with the hook rate, the tonality of the video, multiple colors within the video, what are performing well on those feed, the generation of ads. We have video ads within our SaaS technology tool getting released here in the next 30 days. So really video is our major next component. We’ve been working primarily on image. And then every week we’re launching new things. So it’s either making data actionable and easy for marketers and creative people, or helping them scale the content across image and video and avatars and stuff.

Adrian Tennant: Matt, what advice would you give to brand marketers or agencies who’ve yet to develop an AI strategy? How can they get started?

Matt Swalley: Sure. So the easiest way is to start reading some of these AI newsletters. I really like X also because there’s a lot of people on there sharing their best practices. Ben’s Bites is one of my favorite newsletters. They have a marketing one as well. And I urge people to go read those newsletters a couple of times a week and just start go testing a couple of the applications that are on there. They have a bunch of free ones every week. And if you’re worried about sharing data from your brand or yourself, use a made up brand and see how far you can get on creating some new stuff. If you see something that works out really well, you can start implementing that into your workflow. The only way is spending some time on it every day. Even if it’s not your company’s, make up a company and figure out how you can implement that into your own workflows.

Adrian Tennant: I think that’s great advice. With the increasing adoption of AI in advertising, some folks may be concerned about their roles. Matt, what’s your take on the impact AI could have on employment within our industry?

Matt Swalley: It goes back into that question earlier, what are you doing to learn? It’s just going to take gradual learning. Your job’s not going to be eliminated. It’s going to be, it’s going to evolve. I really see from the creative standpoint, you have your chief marketing officer or marketing group, you have your performance marketers on one side, you have brand marketing, you have creative people doing a lot of design. Well, a lot of these tools give you the ability to learn and take learnings for the other roles and add value in those other spots. So the only solution is dig in and start learning because your role will go away. If you say, no, I’m not going to go take time every week and learn this, learn these new technologies. Those are the companies that are going to fail right now. It’s just a constant chipping away and figuring out how it’s evolving. It can seem overwhelming. So the one thing I urge a lot of people, even being in this industry, it can be extremely overwhelming where there’s a new bright, shiny thing every day. You don’t have to focus on all those, just focus on one aspect of it. Get a little better every day.

Adrian Tennant: If listeners want to learn more about Omneky, how can they contact you?

Matt Swalley: Yeah, you can reach out to me at Matt Swalley on LinkedIn, or – O-M-N-E-K-Y dot com – for email, or you can schedule a demo at if you want to see our technology.

Adrian Tennant: Excellent. Matt, thank you very much for being our guest on IN CLEAR FOCUS.

Matt Swalley: Adrian, thank you so much for having me. It’s been a blast.

Adrian Tennant: Thanks again to my guest this week, Matt Swalley, co-founder and chief business officer at Omneky. You’ll find a complete transcript of our conversation with timestamps and links to the resources we discussed on the IN CLEAR FOCUS page at Just select Insights from the menu. Thank you for listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS produced by Bigeye. I’ve been your host, Adrian Tennant. Until next week, goodbye.


00:01 – Introduction to Bigeye’s Retail Revolution Study

02:17 – Introduction to Matt Swalley and Omneky

05:27 – Omneky’s Ideal Customer Profiles

06:15 – Utilizing Deep Learning Algorithms for Ad Creative

07:59 – Flywheel of Real-Time Performance Data

10:40 – Computer Vision for Ad Design Quantification

12:01 – Quick Delivery of AI-Generated Ads

13:38 – Case Study: Makeup Company’s Success with Omneky

16:28 – Impact of Omneky on Internal Processes

19:18 – Data Privacy and Personalized Ads

20:57 – Strategies for Hyper-Personalization

22:14 – Focus on Creative Optimization

24:42 – Evolution of Generative AI in Advertising

26:05 – Advice for Developing an AI Strategy

27:06 – Impact of AI on Employment in the Industry

28:34 – Conclusion and Contact Information

And More