Whether you love it, hate it, or are still trying to decide, generative AI is here to stay and impossible to ignore, especially for those in the digital advertising world. Given that, it’s no surprise that generative AI is a much-discussed topic in the news, in the office, and, of course, at the DMEXCO 2023 conference, where technology, digital business and creativity converge.
This year, Taboola’s CEO and Founder, Adam Singolda, hosted a fireside chat alongside guest John-Paul Pieper, Member of the Board of Management, Direct Sales and Omnichannel at ERGO. Aptly called ‘GenAI: Can We Be Friends?‘ the two addressed some of the most pressing questions brands are wrestling with, including how the technology will impact digital advertising creativity, change marketing processes, whether human marketers will become obsolete and more.
Keep reading to discover how both business leaders are approaching generative AI in the workplace today and how they believe more opportunities and uses for the tech will unfold in the future, or watch the recorded conversation here:
Will Generative AI Replace Marketers?
The hype around generative AI and its abilities to create natural-sounding content has sent waves of panic through many marketers’ minds. But rest assured, marketers, according to Adam and John-Paul, your jobs are not at risk.
John-Paul pointed out that we are “on the verge of a real creativity renaissance because GenAI has the potential to become the greatest co-pilot for marketers going forward.” He explained that because the technology eases some growth market hurdles, more companies will start doing it. However, that means that humans will play an even more critical role in doing what only humans can do: ensuring brand differentiation.
Adam agreed and mentioned that, historically, newly introduced technologies have enhanced the workplace. He described how AI can empower marketers by taking on generic tasks, freeing them up to work on more impactful efforts such as storytelling, and providing an opportunity for marketers to move up the ‘food chain’ and contribute in more significant ways. Adam did mention that while some jobs might be replaced, others will be created, which allow humans to show their real superpowers.
Using GenAI in Real-world Marketing
Adam then asked John-Paul for examples of how ERGO, an international insurance group based in Germany, applied GenAI in its day-to-day operations. John-Paul explained that the company’s first priority was identifying which parts of the job could safely use the technology to drive sales results. They applied it to the creative process to instantly generate numerous new campaign ideas.
ERGO is also using it to fight ad fatigue. He mentioned how the team uses Taboola’s GenAI tool to quickly produce ad variants that overcome fatigue and increase conversions – a win-win on all accounts.
John-Paul’s third application speaks to an issue many marketers face: how to come up with an entirely new marketing angle. He sees GenAI as a tool that can help overcome creativity blocks by enabling you to “slip into the perspective of somebody else and challenge your ideas.”
Adam discussed how advertisers are currently using Taboola’s GenAI tool to generate thumbnails and campaign titles but that AI could soon create optimized landing pages with built-in pixels, which could be a complete game-changer, especially for small businesses. Adam also underscored the importance of measuring performance, churn, budgets, and other indicators to evaluate the impact of AI.
Is GenAI a Co-pilot or Autopilot?
For John-Paul, the answer is clear: AI is a co-pilot seated next to marketers. He believes the real value proposition of AI stems from the interplay between it and highly skilled marketers, noting that humans need to make the ultimate decisions around what is considered safe for a brand to use.
Protecting Content Creators and Copyrights
Shifting gears, Adam asked John-Paul for his opinion on the ethics of using content creators’ work to train AI without compensating them, highlighting how most publishers are now blocking AI crawlers. John-Paul said it is indeed a conversation that needs to be had and wondered aloud if AI’s use of copyrighted material was akin to sampling in the music industry, considered as inspiration or something else entirely.
Adam remained optimistic that the problem could be and must be solved, explaining that if creators aren’t compensated, they won’t allow companies to use their material to train AI models, which will lead to a ‘garbage in, garbage out’ result for AI companies. He supported that point by referencing how Facebook Instant Articles was phased out after publishers had had enough of Facebook using their content without compensating them.
The Cultural Challenges of AI
Adam acknowledged a truth that those familiar with AI know: AI image production is notoriously biased, especially when representing genders and minorities. He explained that a request for 100 pictures of a CMO would likely result in all of those depicting white males, which ignores the culture of diversity that is so important to many companies, including Taboola.
Adam asked John-Paul for his thoughts on how marketers can use the technology while remaining sensitive to the unique needs of different cultures. John-Paul reiterated his approach of ‘co-pilot, not autopilot.’ He suggested that soon, we might see marketers with highly specialized industry, product and even cultural knowledge crafting winning sales narratives with the assistance of a co-pilot.