Digital Innovation Guest Columns
3 mins read

Time to rise above the ChatGPT noise: How AI may affect advertising and publishers

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Refusing to get sucked into the tornado surrounding this new AI-driven innovation, Tom Richards at MiQ steps back to pull the reality out of the hype.

The explosion of ChatGPT onto the media scene has unsurprisingly created a lot of FUD – Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt – which is currently defining the response. However, now’s the time to strip away the outrage and misinformation, take a deep breath, and view the AI-driven language tool through a more considered lens, to assess with a cool head what it will mean both now and in the future.

Plus, when the dust settles, we need to ask how the advertising and publishing industries will react from a legal perspective and the impact this is likely to have.

The human touch

Right now, the truth is that ChatGPT in its current form has limited use in digital advertising and publishing. We’re all big believers in machine learning and AI, because we use them for campaign optimisation, with our own MiQ algorithms driving results that require less human input. However, if you try plugging some basic stuff into ChatGPT to test out its ability to optimise campaigns, you’re likely to be disappointed.

What becomes clear is that it provides nowhere near the level of depth and complexity that a trading team can deliver due to their skills in applying the right business context, domain knowledge and historical understanding. Of course, it’s this intelligence and the nuances around how it’s applied (alongside the use of existing AI capabilities) that are key to successful campaigns. This is something AI and ChatGPT cannot do alone – at least today.

A glimpse of the future?

The AI technology and underlying capabilities that power this uber chatbot have been around for a little while. However, what’s different about ChatGPT is the user experience it delivers, essentially in terms of simplicity and immediacy. Throw in some ‘chat’ and ‘shazam!’ you get usable results, democratized to non-technical users in a flash – and initially this can be quite mind blowing.

Going forward, it’s possible to see how this ability to digest and interpret information almost instantly could accelerate programmatic campaign insights and reporting. This would enable us to respond to and improve live campaigns more quickly and effectively, which of course would be good for every party involved.

The value exchange

Although ChatGPT is undoubtably hugely innovative, it does not actually create anything from scratch. It’s driven by AI, which uses existing information and turns it into something that’s more insightful for a particular use or application. Without this source data, it would not be able to function. So, as we hear of plans around integrating ChatGPT into search engines, this would simply fan the flames of the row already raging with publishers, which are providing the original content, yet not being paid for its use.

In Australia and Canada right now publishers are at war with Google, claiming the search giant exploits their content for free for Google News results, and demanding to be adequately compensated. This has been more starkly highlighted by Google News showing results without directing users to the source website, denying publishers traffic and the associated revenue. ChatGPT is likely to amplify this problem, further affecting publisher earnings and their business model. It also raises the question whether there should be a clear value exchange between ChatGPT and those creating the information from which it draws its results.

Take control

In the cold light of day, ChatGPT is simply yet another innovation that will impact our world. Like many before and after, it will still be there once the initial furore subsides. So don’t get sucked in. Look at the issues as they stand and how they might affect you, not the hyperbole. Only then can you minimise the negative effects and optimise the positives of what is a fascinating innovation.

Tom Richards
Global VP of Product, MiQ

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MiQ is a programmatic media partner for marketers and agencies, connecting data from multiple sources to do interesting, exciting, business problem-solving things for our clients. We work with the world’s leading brands and media agencies such as Marriott, Dell Mercedes, Microsoft, GroupM, dentsu and IPG. Headquartered in London, MiQ has 18 offices across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.