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Marketers move beyond the basics of ChatGPT with new tools

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As OpenAI begins rolling out a subscription version of ChatGPT, more companies are using the wildly popular text generator to build custom marketing tools.

On Wednesday, the artificial intelligence lab invited people to join a waitlist for ChatGPT Plus, which for $20 per month, would give them early access to new features and other privileges. Meanwhile, marketers are setting their sights past the free version and integrating their own data sets with OpenAI’s large language models. Right now, the waitlist is only available for U.S. users, but OpenAI says it plans to expand to other countries and regions “soon.”

The same day that OpenAI announced its pilot subscription plan, content recommendation company Taboola announced a new beta test with ChatGPT for advertisers to generate campaigns informed by past ad performance data from past campaigns with Taboola. According to Taboola CEO and founder Adam Singolda, ChatGPT will generate content based on what people are most likely to engage with, which marketers can then select to use in ads across various websites.

Although Taboola and other companies in its category are sometimes known for creating clickbait content, Singolda said the goal is to generate ads that are more relevant and trustworthy. The feature will first be used internally to generate titles that Taboola account managers can pitch to clients, but could be available as a self-serve option in the future.

“We’re basically querying per-segment titles that we have data [on],” Singolda said. “Different segments in different formats and times have different parameters that get consumers to click… If you knew what’s a good position for your product, you would use it.”

Other companies are building new features powered by the same technology powering ChatGPT. Earlier this week, Intercom released new features built with OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 to help customer service agents and generate articles for website content.

How soon is now?

AI has been a part of marketing for years, but it’s increasingly playing a role in various parts of campaigns. And although AI-generated content is still fairly novel, the research firm Gartner predicts 30% of outbound marketing messages sent by large organizations will be synthetically generated by 2025. That prediction could come to fruition even sooner considering how quickly the AI space is evolving, noted Nicole Greene, a senior director analyst in Gartner’s Marketing Practice.

“It’s gone from the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain — now it’s here and we see what it can do,” Greene said. “It’s really important and hyped up right now, but we need to understand what it can do and can’t do.”

Ad agencies are also building out their own platforms powered by OpenAI. Late last month, an anonymous “AI-powered” agency called The Uncreative Agency gained some traction in the advertising world by using OpenAI to generate humanless proposals within minutes based on just a few basic inputs. Pitches are then emailed to users as a PDF that includes ideas and illustrations along with a disclaimer that says the ideas “were, obviously, not very good…At least, not yet.”

Some wondered who was behind the platform or if it was just some sort of stunt satirizing the current tech trend, but it turned out to be a project of DDB, which disclosed itself today as the agency behind it. In the first week, more than 12,000 people from top agencies and consultancies used The Uncreative Agency, according to DDB, which is now launching a new human-AI hybrid platform to implement AI tools for creatives and also incubate generative AI startups. (The platform is named RAND after the iconic art director Paul Rand.)

“OMG, this is both amazing and terrifying at the same time,” DDB EMEA Chief Strategy Officer George Strakhov wrote in a LinkedIn last week before disclosing his team was behind it. “The ideas it generates are so bad that it’s almost good.”

AI’s growing ubiquity

ChatGPT has already been used in ad campaigns for a number of major brands. The genealogy website Storied recently used ChatGPT and the AI art generator Midjourney to create video ads for an online campaign. For Avocados From Mexico’s upcoming Super Bowl campaign, a QR code shown in the ad will direct people to a website where they can draft AI-generated tweets.

Not every company testing it thinks it’ll take over all parts of marketing. Last month, Mint Mobile had ChatGPT write a script for an ad starring Ryan Reynolds, but CMO Aron North said the “fun experiment” doesn’t mean AI will be a “critical piece of the marketing calendar.”

“It’s astonishing that a computer can write to the voice of Ryan Reynolds, but it’s not the most impressive,” he said.

Generative AI has also become increasingly popular on Fiverr, a freelance marketplace platform that connects companies with people who have a variety of skill sets. Searches for AI services have already grown by 1,400%, the company said, without revealing exact numbers. However, a search of Fiverr’s platform conducted by Digiday showed 1,600 services available by searching for the word “ChatGPT”.

To help organize growing demand, the Israel-based company also recently introduced new AI categories including those for ChatGPT application developers, Midjourney artists and chatbot developers. To promote the additions, Fiverr bought a full-page ad in The New York Times with the headline, “An Open Letter to AI,” assuring that humans “come in peace.”

It remains to be seen if the feeling is mutual.

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