This year, digital media experts predict that AI will evolve marketing roles, combat fraud, become more responsible, and much more.
In 2023, Generative AI was the new kid on the block, and everyone wanted to see what all the hype was about. There were ups and downs with experimentation, regulation, and practical use, but industry experts predict that digital media can use AI to its full potential if we learn to use it responsibly.
However, if publishers and advertisers want to take full advantage of what generative AI offers, they must put in the work. As Jeremy Haft, Chief Revenue Officer, Digital Remedy, said, “2024 marks a pivotal year as the buzz surrounding Generative AI transforms into tangible actions within the advertising industry.”
There are still some kinks to work out. The New York Times just sued OpenAI for copyright infringement and we are still trying to get a hold on these chatbots.
Will Generative AI initiate an iRobot-style takeover? Most digital media experts don’t think so. However, more brands plan to integrate the tech into their workflow. Here’s how experts say it will happen:
AI Will Evolve Marketing Roles vs. Taking Them Away
Trend # 1: When Generative AI first popped on the scene, fearmongers predicted that they would take our jobs. But here, our experts predict that it will enhance them.
“Brands and agency leaders will leverage this technology actively. Generative AI’s increasing integration across the programmatic supply chain is poised to enhance operational efficiencies, reduce performance lag, and minimize spending waste. Its true impact enables brands to extract and act upon more robust real-time insights. With emerging AI tools, advertisers gain unprecedented flexibility in querying and applying insights, unlocking new possibilities beyond the capabilities of traditional machine learning.” – Jeremy Haft, Chief Revenue Officer, Digital Remedy
“AI enables marketers to evolve their organizational roles by streamlining workflows and enhancing efficiency. While AI is a powerful tool, it still requires human oversight. For example, we’ll see content creators transition into more of an editing and curation role, collaborating with AI to easily produce content that resonates with target audiences. Meanwhile, roles like SEO managers will integrate AI as a core responsibility, leveraging Generative Search Experience technology for improved search visibility and user experience, ensuring efficient and effective strategies. This relationship between AI and human expertise will define the future of marketing roles.” – Monica Ho, CMO of SOCi
“In 2024, agency roles will undergo a significant transformation shaped by AI and technology. This shift necessitates completely reconfiguring skill sets and structures across industries and channels. Agencies embracing AI and automation will thrive by leveraging these technologies to analyze vast amounts of data, predict trends, and craft targeted strategies that auto-optimize across channels, KPIs, etc. Meanwhile, brands aiming to conquer contentious terrain will blend technology with deep cultural insight and empathy. The key lies in merging technological insights with authentic storytelling, allowing agencies to embrace innovation and forge meaningful connections with target audiences.” – Oz Etzioni, CEO and Co-founder of Clinch
“AI is in its ‘Napster moment’ and is here to stay, so Publishers should learn how to weaponize it rather than fight it. The NYT just hired a dedicated editor for all things AI. I am excited to see how a ‘model digital news publisher’ like the New York Times sets the pace for AI. There have been some negative headlines, but I believe ‘AI for good’ exists in our industry. I am excited to see how the NYT will evaluate and implement it to enhance user experience while empowering staff to do more while maintaining journalistic integrity. There is a lot of busy work behind the scenes that AI could be adopted for while making life easier for staffers in multiple departments, whether it’s rev ops, ad ops, video creation, program analysis, consumer marketing, or sales intelligence. ” – Adam Hua, Co-Founder, Aeon
AI V. Fraud: Who Comes Out on Top?
Trend #2: The digital media industry has been fighting against fraud for decades, but will AI be the new tool to hinder these bad actors from carrying out their treacherous plans? Last year, we saw companies like IAS and DoubleVerify using AI to detect MFA sites, and our expert sees this trend continuing.
“AI will continue to be a valuable content tool for advertisers, scaling dynamic content creation and enabling unprecedented content marketing. The rise of new-gen AI tools like ChatGPT and Anthropic has made creating content more cost-efficient and manageable overall, especially for global brands. The challenge is that we see the flip side of that value proposition, with bad actors leveraging these tools to build content farms and MFA sites, posing a significant problem for the digital ad supply chain and media quality. Fortunately, AI serves as a counterweight here, enabling more AI-powered review and classification of content to scale verification and ensure media quality and performance.” – Dan Slivjanovski, CMO, DoubleVerify
Brands Need to Give up Some Transparency to Realize AI’s True Potential
Trend #3: We always discuss transparency in ad tech, but are we ready to be vulnerable with AI technology? Our next experts believe we must be more transparent with AI to utilize its full capabilities.
“The industry has grappled with many transparency-related issues, from brand safety concerns to outright fraud. So, it’s understandable that increased automation – through the adoption of AI – would raise concerns. But right now, those concerns are holding back progress – a realization many brands will need to come to in 2024. Just as consumers accept that self-driving cars work without exactly understanding how brands and agencies will have to accept some opacity to elevate their ad strategies and harness the true power of AI. That doesn’t mean brands should abandon due diligence or testing, but marketers will eventually have to relinquish the concerns of not seeing the AI ‘think.’ Advertisers that can embrace this testing methodology and evolve their adoption of AI will separate themselves from the pack.” – Patrick Gut, VP, US, Adlook
“At Forbes, we’re focusing on three core ideas around AI: how it can help engage readers, improve journalists’ workflow efficiency, and power new products across all of our various platforms. Most recently, we released our AI-powered search, Adelaide, which allows our audience to use conversational AI to search across the site.
The importance of a human-led approach to AI will also build in 2024 as we collectively continue to learn that using AI to better our current business practices (and people), rather than replace them, is paramount. As brands develop AI-powered experiences in content and advertising, using AI efficiently will build trust and bolster retention, with both users and brand partners benefitting. Advertisers will want to align with AI contextually and holistically, having it integrated into the products and experiences they are purchasing. Transparency will be critical and draw partners to those with a thoughtful, human-centric embrace of this game-changing technology.” – Alyson Williams, SVP, Digital Operations & Strategy, Forbes
AI or Not AI? That is the Question
Trend #4: Everybody wants to be AI nowadays. At least, according to our next expert, who sees a trend where brands are labeling basic automation as AI. Although he’s not alone, in preparation for CES in Las Vegas, Dipanjan Chatterjee, VP and principal analyst at Forrester, raised the same concerns.
“In the whirlwind of AI developments this past year, the rise of generative AI has left skeptics scrambling to catch up with the tech-savvy crowd. Critics dismissed it as a mere gimmick, but it has become a hot commodity, with individuals and companies alike eager to ride the AI wave for a boost in sales. Some have even taken creative liberties, labeling their basic automation processes as cutting-edge AI. Prepare for an onslaught of “AI capabilities” becoming the latest buzzword for ad tech companies, whether genuinely AI-driven or just a touch of tech glitter.” – Jared Collett, Senior Director of Ad Operations, Major League Fishing
*This content was written by Jared Collett and edited using Chat GPT*
The Year of Responsible AI
Trend #5: Since generative AI is relatively new, in 2023, we saw it go through some learning curves. For example, OpenAI has a pending New York Times lawsuit that called them out for using copyrighted material to train AI models. Our expert predicts that in 2024, AI ethics will be all the rage.
“If 2023 was the year of Generative AI, 2024 will be the year of Responsible AI. Amid all the excitement, experimentation, and more than a few warnings about an AI-driven extinction event (bah!), few marketers had the time to pause and ask the hard question about the risks of AI for their company and their customers. That’s about to change as more marketers turn their attention to Responsible AI – and that’ll be a good thing for individual brands and the entire industry.
In practice, I’d expect marketing organizations to put a premium on guidelines, governance, and standards. Ethical stances and brand safety will be front and center, as it hits home that the marketing end-user – not the model or app provider – is the last (and maybe even first) line of defense regarding the responsible use of AI technologies. As more brands stand up and scale up marketing AI programs, ad hoc experimentation will give way to objective-driven, strategic implementations. Companies will deploy AI in ways that deliver value to them while reflecting the values of the company and (this is critical) respecting the consumer’s rights. In the end, 2024 will be the year marketing AI starts growing up – and responsible AI practices will be at the center of this vital evolution.” – Greg Verdino, Principal Analyst and Founder, CognitivePath Research, Inc.
“Perhaps even more impactful will be the role of governmental regulation and legal challenges on grounds of intellectual property infringement. While fair use precedents and the nature of the technology behind generative AI make it unclear how claims like the recent New York Times lawsuit will pan out, it seems inevitable that AI companies that profit from the intellectual property of others will need to figure out licensing deals to continue to operate legally. Such changes will eventually impact the consumer, whether in increased prices or reduced availability of some types of generated content.” – Kyle Alan Hale, Solutions Architect, Rightpoint
“In 2024 synthetic data will replace a majority of the human-generated, human-labeled data that is currently used to train AI models. That’s because it is faster, cheaper and easier to generate synthetic data to train a model than it is to source, curate, clean and label real data – and since it’s synthetic there is no private data embedded in it, making it automatically compliant with GDPR, HIPAA and a host of other regulations.” – Dave Matli, CMO, Nurdle AI
Let’s Get Personal
Trend #6: The digital media industry is always looking for better ways to tailor content to consumers’ needs, and our next expert believes AI will do just the trick.
“We can also expect to see publishers creating endless personalized content, accounting for the nuances of tone and style. Forget one-size-fits-all content. Generative AI will enable publishers to personalize articles, videos, and newsfeeds. Publishers can also serve content to the narrowest, most valuable audience segments, building readership and making a sticky user. Imagine a world where all the content you read is written in your preferred style, tailored to your specific location and current events. This level of personalization has the potential to redefine reader engagement and loyalty.” – Michael Persaud, Head of Programmatic, a360media