AI in Marketing: A Wild West of Potential
17 May 2023
Artificial intelligence is the hot topic of the day – it’ll potentially be the defining topic of our generation.
But while it’s potent debate fuel between doomsayers and techno-revolutionaries, on a less grand scale it’s also having a profound and immediate effect within the digital marketing and advertising industry. The chances are that if you’re working in these industries, it’s affected your work already and if it hasn’t yet, it likely will.
We’re outlining the current AI landscape for digital marketing and advertising by talking about what separates this wave of AI from previous tools, showing what’s available to use by marketers and advertisers today, and sharing our tips for navigating our shifting present and future.
AI in marketing isn’t new – what’s the big deal?
Artificial intelligence in marketing and advertising is already a familiar concept to most in the industry.
At ShowHeroes, for example, our SemanticHero tool uses artificial intelligence to analyze page contexts for extremely accurate contextual advertising. Instead of simply matching video ads to a page’s keywords as simple contextual advertising does, SemanticHero gains an understanding of the precise semantics of a page’s text, images, and videos.
On a smaller scale, marketers have long used the AI-powered tool Grammarly to grammar-check everything from advertisement copy to blog posts (such as this one).
So if AI has been around for years, why is it making headline news?
The reason is that ‘deep learning AI’, which mimics the learning process of the human brain, is being developed and is enabling ‘generative AI’, which has, for the first time, become good at what was previously seen as a distinctly human skill: creation.
Generative AI is able to create written text, convincing speech that imitates real humans, art that’s been good enough to win awards, and even “photography” that’s done the same (but not without some trickery!)
Creativity is the digital marketing and advertising industry’s bread and butter, meaning the enormous opportunities for boosted inspiration and creation in the industry are a big deal.
But it’s not just generation that has people in the industry excited. ‘Deep learning AI’ is also becoming increasingly competent at more mundane tasks, including generating its own prompts.
The new tech has made for some very powerful tools for marketers and advertisers which are already available:
Take a look at Jasper, an AI writing assistant that boasts 2,500 writing styles in over 25 languages, with templates for everything from long-form blog posts to Facebook ads.
Scalenut, like Jasper, also boasts writing capabilities, but doesn’t stop there and also acts as a research and SEO assistant, compiling insights and keywords for product descriptions, website copy, marketing emails, and more…
And why gloss over the tool that started this wave of hype, ChatGPT? Back before its current iteration as ChatGPT-4, we did a quick experiment to see if ChatGPT-3 was any good as a brainstorming assistant for advertisers and found it lacking. Its newest iteration is said to be leaps and bounds better, with more updates coming soon.
Meta has advertisers in mind with new generative AI tools, to be rolled out properly in July. Text rewriting for different audiences, background image generation, and smart image cropping are on offer – while not the heaviest-hitting tools on the market, it’s significant that they’re coming from one of the largest tech companies in the world.
There are image generation tools that go far beyond backgrounds, though, with tools like DALL-E 2 (from the producers of ChatGPT) promising photo-realistic images out of text prompts.
NAVIGATING THE LANDSCAPE
We’ve named a few tools out there today, but there are far, far more to choose from and the sheer number can be overwhelming. That’ll get easier with time – as the AI boom runs its course, expect consolidation across the AI industry.
With that said, there’s also the possibility marketers and advertisers will have more choice, not less, as time goes on. Many of the newest AI tools, especially those that deal with text in any capacity, are using the same kinds of core generative AI algorithms. It’s worth keeping an eye on the currently imperfect, but quickly developing technologies…
Text-to-video generation, for example, exists in the here and now in a rough state. Tools such as InVideo’s text-to-video service are impressively showing the technology’s early days. You can imagine the advertising industry shake-up if, in the upcoming years, the tech makes a leap forward and professional-quality video can be generated from text prompts.
AI-generated music and imagery, as well as increasingly sophisticated mundane task automation, are all in rough but quickly improving states and could be major game-changers for the digital advertising and marketing industries very soon.
Marketers and advertisers across the industry should keep a close eye on the quickly shifting landscape. When the dust settles, companies and brands that have experimented and stayed up to date with the latest developments will come out on top.
There is, however, a flip side to the optimism taking hold in our industries that needs to be spoken about as well. From copyright laws to job loss, important discussions on the legal and ethical issues posed by AI need to be had. Watch this space for our upcoming follow-up!