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Generative AI: Proceed with Caution

January 23, 2023

Brands and advertisers need to be cautious about using Generative AI

Brands have been coming to us in the Technology Practice at Big Village to learn more about Generative AI. As the head of the practice, and with so many clients asking the same questions about Generative AI, we thought we’d look into the technology ourselves and design a survey to take a closer look at Generative AI, specifically awareness, usage, appeal of Generative AI used by others, and any concerns about trust or privacy. Here’s what we found…

1. We have not seen the full use cases or potential for Generative AI. 

For standalone tools, such as Lensa AI and ChatGPT to succeed in market, they must align their messaging and features against the segments of people that are most likely to use the tools. They also must find unique use cases that will make them standout compared to other social media platforms – or uncover how they can add incremental value for any planned M&A activity.

2. Social media platforms should focus on developing use cases with Generative AI rather than touting the tool itself. 

Many people likely don’t understand they are even using Generative AI, despite developing avatars and profiles that are powered by Generative AI on social media. In the future, when they realize Generative AI is the backbone to these applications, they will likely get scared of it for trust and privacy concerns. Further research needs to be done around the potential use cases that will not trigger trust and privacy concerns.

3. Creative professions have more permission to leverage Generative AI for social media content. 

These professions include artists, musicians and digital artists. Brands/advertisers, educators, and social media influencers have less permission. This may likely be due to the creative equities and use cases of Generative AI better matching the creativity in more creative professions.

4. Advertisers should be wary of acceptability and privacy concerns with Generative AI. 

While younger generations find it more acceptable for brands/advertisers to use Generative AI in social media, there are still significant privacy and to some extent, trust, concerns among Gen Z and Millennials.

These are important findings for technology companies, brands and advertisers with regards to using Generative AI for social media. Overall, the big takeaway is to be careful. Generative AI is still so new in the market that the adoption and use cases have not matured, and therefore permission among users is weak due to privacy concerns. It is far from mainstream adoption, but that may be a false assumption given the fact that Generative AI is so ill defined – many people have used Generative AI but don’t realize they have used it. Any use case that is fun and interactive, such as avatars, gaming and profile pictures, wrapped around Generative AI is far less concerning about privacy than stating you are using Generative AI without talking about use cases. It’s one of those rare instances where the industry term is more intimidating than the ways in which people are actually engaging with it.

Now, the details behind our observations.

Awareness and Usage

Not surprisingly, standalone Generative AI tools (such as Lensa AI and ChatGPT) do not have the awareness or usage that social media platforms have. Given that social media platforms have Generative AI tools incorporated in their platforms and many people do use it for profiles, avatars and music videos, TikToks or reels, users likely don’t realize they are using Generative AI.

Familiarity of Generative AI skews young. In fact, it’s very clear that Gen Z and Millennials are more familiar with Generative AI. Although there is still a lot of confusion about how to create Generative AI for social media, many people are still looking to learn.

Trust and Privacy

While 34% of Gen Z and Millennials trust Generative AI for social media, that trust erodes very quickly among the older generations.

Privacy is a different story. Almost 60% of Gen Z are concerned about privacy involving the use of Generative AI for social media, and the concern increases with age.

Deep fakes are among the privacy concerns, with a full 70%+ across all generations concerned.

There is considerable concern that Generative AI will impact how people perceive themselves to the point where it can be harmful.

Generative AI for Advertising

When it comes to Generative AI for advertising, there is a strong view that images of faces/people should not be used in social media advertising, regardless of whether advertisers are using Photoshop or Generative AI.

Consumers give more permission to artists, musicians, entertainment providers and skilled digital artists to using Generative AI on social media. While, overall, brands and advertisers fall further down the list, the appeal for content created by brands and advertisers is driven by younger consumers.

If you are looking to learn more about Generative AI, or any other up and coming technology, reach out to us at Big Village and we’ll be happy to help design research that will get you ahead of the curve with all the new technologies currently launching.

Written by Jen Hanson, Senior Vice President, Insights at Big Village