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AI for Marketing: Understanding the 7 Crucial Risks Involved

It’s incredible how much things have changed in marketing over the past few years. Back then, using AI for marketing was almost incomprehensible to many. However, fast forward to the present day; everyone is discussing it in detail! It’s common to see marketers creating LinkedIn posts that delve into the intricacies of whispering the best prompts into ChatGPT’s ear.

The sudden integration of AI into our work is something to be excited about. According to McKenzie, AI has the potential to unlock a mind-boggling $2.6 trillion in value for digital marketers. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that our fast-paced adoption of this technology may be causing us to overlook some critical ethical, legal, and operational considerations. This means digital marketers may be exposed to previously unforeseen risks, such as potential legal action for instructing AI to “write like Stephen King.”

The marketing industry currently has abundant AI tools available, but many questions still can’t be answered quickly, and it may take years for the dust to settle. However, PPC Beast can assist in efficiently identifying potential pitfalls when using sophisticated algorithms and machine learning mechanisms to generate content or manage ads

This article, with insights gathered from industry experts, including a Google Ads specialist, will highlight seven significant marketing risks of using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in digital advertising. We will take a high-level view of these risks and gather suggestions from industry experts and PPC agencies to help minimize them. Additionally, we will provide additional resources for those who want to delve deeper into topics they are particularly concerned about.



Risk #1: Machine Learning Bias

Machine learning algorithms can occasionally generate unjustly biased results towards or against a particular individual or entity in the field of online marketing. Known as machine learning bias or AI bias, this issue is widespread and can affect even the most sophisticated deep neural networks.


It’s a Data Issue

The issue lies not with the inherent bias of AI networks but rather with the data that is inputted into them.

Machine learning algorithms recognize patterns to determine the likelihood of a specific result, such as whether a specific group of shoppers is interested in a particular product.

However, suppose the data used to train the AI is imbalanced towards a specific race, gender, or age group. In that case, the AI will conclude that these individuals are preferable matches and subsequently exhibit biased ad creative or placement.


Researchers recently conducted a gender bias test on Facebook’s ad targeting systems. They ran advertisements to recruit delivery drivers for Pizza Hut and Instacart with identical qualifications.

Since the current demographic of Pizza Hut drivers is predominantly male, Facebook displayed the ads more frequently to men. On the other hand, as Instacart has more female drivers, ads for their job opportunities were primarily shown to women. However, there is no inherent reason to assume that women would not be interested in Pizza Hut jobs, making this a significant flaw in ad targeting.


It is Not Uncommon to Find Biased AI

According to a study by researchers from the University of Southern California, more than 38% of the data in two extensive AI databases was biased. This issue is not limited to Facebook alone. Us at PPC Beast, we recognize the importance of unbiased data, especially when dealing with AI. Even the documentation of the ChatGPT algorithm cautions that it may create an association of negative stereotypes with black women.

Machine learning bias has several implications for marketers, with one of the least favorable outcomes being poor ad performance. It is not ideal to use an ad-targeting platform that excludes significant portions of the population if the goal is to reach the maximum number of potential customers.

Aside from the negative impact on ad performance, there are more significant consequences if our ads unfairly target or exclude specific groups. For instance, if a real estate ad discriminates against protected minorities, it can potentially violate the Fair Housing Act and draw the attention of the Federal Trade Commission. Additionally, by not embracing inclusive marketing practices, there is a risk of missing out on the opportunity to connect with a broader audience. Partnering with a PPC (pay-per-click) agency can help ensure that our advertising campaigns reach a diverse range of individuals and avoid any potential legal issues.


How to Avoid AI Bias

When our AI tools run amok, there are steps we can take to ensure that our ads treat everyone equitably. Here’s what you can do:

Have Human Editors Review and Fact-Check AI-Written Content

AI technology has made remarkable progress in recent times. However, it still needs to be capable of matching the critical thinking and decision-making abilities humans possess. To address this limitation, it is essential to involve human editors, like the ones available in Google Ads Manager, in the review process. Their contribution guarantees that the content is impartial and adheres to ethical standards. This step holds significant importance as it helps prevent any biases arising from AI.

Implement Human Oversight in Paid Ad Campaigns

Allowing AI to take over campaigns or any form of marketing entirely is not advisable. Human oversight is necessary to reduce the risk of adverse outcomes. AI works best when it receives accurate inputs from organic intelligence, such as a PPC agency, which has accumulated vast data and experiences.



Risk #2: Factual Inaccuracies

In a recent incident, Google’s new AI chatbot, Bard, made a mistake in a promotional tweet that ended up causing a significant loss of $100b in valuation for its parent company.

The recent mistake made by Google brings attention to a significant drawback of AI and a primary concern for marketers who rely on it: AI doesn’t consistently provide accurate information.


AI Generates Artificial Perception

According to Professor Ethan Mollic from the Wharton School of Business, AI systems like ChatGPT can be compared to a highly knowledgeable intern who is always ready to assist but may occasionally provide misleading information. It is important to note that while AI is not conscious and does not intend to deceive, it tends to generate fictional or irrelevant content, which can be thought of as “hallucinations.”

AI is a predictor, attempting to determine the most fitting word or phrase to address user queries. However, it lacks self-awareness and cannot judge whether its generated responses are logical.

Unlike the issue of bias, this problem does not solely stem from inaccuracies in the data provided. Even when equipped with accurate information, AI can still produce incorrect responses, as evidenced by an instance in which a user asked ChatGPT how many FIFA world cups Argentina had won. The AI responded “once,” citing the team’s 1978 victory when the user asked which team had won in 1986.

The chatbot admitted that it was Argentina without explaining its previous mistake.

One issue with AI-generated answers is that they’re often expressed with great confidence, making them difficult to distinguish from correct ones. Additionally, they can be so detailed and comprehensive that they appear entirely plausible. An example is a lawsuit against Open AI, where ChatGPT supposedly invented a complete fabrication of embezzlement that a journalist then repeated.


Tips for Ensuring AI-Generated Texts are Accurate

Although AI may provide an immediate response to a single-word inquiry, it can be more prone to generating delusional content when generating longer text. Weaver cautions that while it may seem impressive that AI can produce an entire eBook or blog post with a single prompt, it comes with a caveat. The more AI-generated text, the more necessary it is to conduct extensive editing and fact-checking to ensure accuracy. Weaver advises breaking down the longer text into manageable sections to prevent the AI tool from creating illusory narratives and having human reviewers assess the information added by the bot.



Risk #3: Misapplication of AI tools

It is crucial to be mindful of the potential misapplication of AI tools in marketing. While we witness a constant influx of new AI tools emerging daily, not all are suitable for every marketing function. It is essential to acknowledge that there are particular marketing challenges that AI cannot solve (at least not at this point). This is where partnering with a PPC agency can be beneficial, as they can provide a human touch and expertise that AI tools may lack.”


Their Limitations Constrain the Functionality of AI Tools

The statement “AI tools have limitations” means that while Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made significant strides in recent years, there are still specific tasks that AI tools cannot perform as effectively as humans. This is exemplified by ChatGPT, which is considered a great example of AI technology. Although it is fun to interact with and can help with Writer’s block, it cannot perform specific tasks like keyword research. ChatGPT’s data set is relatively old and limited to pre-2022 information. It is less reliable than other tools like Thinword or Contextminds when generating keywords for a given topic, such as “AI marketing.” More advanced AI-powered tools from companies like Google and Facebook can help marketers create effective ads, optimize their ad spend, and personalize the ad experience, which a chatbot like ChatGPT cannot achieve due to its limitations.

Google revealed numerous artificial intelligence advancements for its search and ads management offerings during the Google Marketing Live event in 2023.

AI tools can become too focused on that goal when given a specific task. This is a common issue observed by marketing automation expert Nick Abbene, particularly in companies aiming to enhance their SEO.


You Can Overuse Artificial Intelligence

Abbene highlights the central issue of unthinkingly relying on SEO tools and excessively optimizing content for search engines while overlooking the searcher’s intent. Although SEO tools help indicate high-quality content to search engines, aligning with the user’s search query is essential, as that is what Google aims to match, especially in the pay-per-click context.


To Prevent Using AI Tools Inappropriately

When it comes to selecting an AI tool, it is important to ensure that the tool you choose is designed for the specific use case you have in mind. For example, an AI writing assistant may not be the best choice for creating web pages. Before selecting an AI option, Abbene suggests getting feedback from the tool’s manufacturer and other users. To avoid misapplication, check if other marketers are using the tool for similar purposes and ask for a product demo or trial it with other tools that provide comparable functionality. To compare multiple AI platforms easily and find one tailored to your needs, websites like Capterra can be of help.

After finding the appropriate AI tool stack, it is important to utilize it as an aid for the process and not as a substitute for it. Consider integrating them into your workflow rather than relying solely on AI tools. Abbene advises that you shouldn’t hesitate to use AI tools to enhance your workflow, but make sure you only use them for that purpose. When creating content, start from scratch by conducting thorough keyword research and understanding the purpose of your search.



Risk #4: Lack of Creative Output

With the ability to write an entire essay in just 10 seconds, generative AI has certainly come a long way. However, its success is limited by its inability to produce nuanced and imaginative output. This often leaves its work feeling robotic and lacking the engaging flair only human creativity can provide. Weaver explains that while AI is great at producing informative content, it can fall short when genuinely captivating its audience.


AI is Designed to Imitate the Work of Humans

An Example of Generative AI Writing in Action. Let’s say you’re using a generative AI writing bot to assist with writing a book report.¬†

If you want, you can ask the bot to generate a report on “Catcher in the Rye,” within moments, it will produce a 500-word analysis focusing on the novel’s central theme. Now, it’s worth noting that sometimes the AI’s creativity might wander astray, like in the case of it envisioning Holden Caulfield as a bank robber. However, this bot’s capabilities are still impressive because it has absorbed extensive information about J.D. Salinger’s masterpiece.

However, you might be disappointed if you ask the same AI to write a blog post explaining a concept core to your business, encapsulating your brand, audience, and value proposition. According to Weaver, an expert in the field, “AI-generated content doesn’t always capture the nuances of a brand’s personality and values and may produce content that misses the mark.”

Simply put, AI is excellent at combining and reconfiguring existing content but needs help to create something unique.

In addition, generative AI tools are not good at engaging content. They tend to churn out long paragraphs of text without any images, graphs, or bullet points to give the reader’s eyes a break. They also don’t incorporate customer stories or hypothetical examples to make a point.


Ways to Avoid Creating Content that is All the Same

Utilize AI tools such as Writer with built-in features to maintain a consistent brand personality for writers.

However, having an editor review and edit the content to ensure it aligns with the brand’s voice and resonates with the audience is still important. Editors and writers should review articles from readers’ perspectives and adjust for readability.

If there is a dense text block, editors can break it up and improve the visual appeal. AI content can be used as a starting point to spark creativity and conduct research, but adding your personal touch is essential.



Risk #5: Potential Negative Impact on SEO

The impact of AI-generated content on SEO is still uncertain. Initially, there were concerns that Google would penalize posts written with AI. However, recent statements on Google’s developer blog imply that AI-generated content is acceptable. But there is a catch to their confirmation. Only content that exhibits expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) will be valued by human search raters, who continuously evaluate Google’s ranking systems.


Trust Plays a Vital Role in SEO

Trust is considered the most critical for SEO of all the factors in Google’s E-E-A-T.”

We have previously discussed how AI-generated content can contain fallacies, which makes it inherently untrustworthy without human oversight. Additionally, AI-generated content fails to meet the requirements needed to support trustworthy content because someone with expertise, authority, or experience does not write it.

For example, if an AI bot generated a recipe for banana bread, it may provide the recipe in two immediate seconds. However, it cannot describe the sentimental memories associated with banana bread, such as recalling the winter days when the baker would prepare the bread for their family or discussing the years of experience the baker spent experimenting with various flour as a professional baker. These nuances are what Google’s search raters look for when evaluating content for E-E-A-T factors.

People also prefer real people’s perspectives over AI-generated content. This is why more individuals seek information from real people in TikTok videos instead of searching for information on Google.


To Prevent a Decrease in SEO Rankings

it is important to acknowledge the contribution of human authors when utilizing chatbots for content production. This is particularly crucial for sensitive topics such as healthcare and personal finance, which Google categorizes as “Your Money, Your Life” subjects. Elisa Gabbert, the Director of Content and SEO for PPC Beast, emphasizes that content in these areas should prioritize authority, trust, and accuracy above everything else.

For instance, when creating content related to healthcare, it is advisable to have your posts evaluated by a medical expert and include references to their insights within the post. This will be a powerful indicator to Google that your content is reliable and trustworthy, even if it originated from a chatbot.



Risk #6: Uncertain Copyright Implications

When it comes to generative AI, it learns from human-created work and uses that knowledge to produce new and original content. However, there is a lack of clarity regarding the copyright status of the input data used for training the AI model and the output content generated by the AI.


Existing Work is Likely Fair Game for AI

In the context of AI technology and its usage in large learning models, there is a pertinent question of whether existing work can be considered fair game. An interesting case reported by technologist Andy Baio serves as an illustration of this copyright debate. The case involves an LA-based artist named Hollie Mengert, who discovered that 32 illustrations had been incorporated into an AI model and subsequently made available under an open license for anyone to replicate her unique style.

The caption compares artist Hollie Mengert’s illustrations on the left and AI-generated illustrations based on her style, selected by Andy Baio. The situation becomes more complicated when it is discovered that Mengert created many of her images for clients like Disney, who hold the rights to them.

The question arises: Can illustrators, writers, or coders in a similar position as Mengert successfully sue for copyright infringement? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer at the moment. Baio explained that there are confident arguments from both sides, but the truth is that nobody truly knows. Anyone who claims to predict the outcome in court is mistaken confidently.

If you use AI to create an image or article that has been trained on a large dataset consisting of works from many creators, it is unlikely that you will lose a court case. However, if you feed the machine a small number of works, such as ten books by Stephen King, and then instruct it to create a new work in that style, you may encounter legal trouble.

Note: We are not legal experts. You should consult a legal professional for help if you require further clarification.


Your Content Created by AI May Also Not be Safeguarded

Regarding content created using a chatbot, it is generally only protected by copyright laws if you have made a significant effort to edit it. This means that if someone takes your posts and uses them for their blog, you would have limited options for recourse.

In cases where the content is indeed protected by copyright, it may be the programmer of the AI rather than you, as the user, who holds the rights to that content. In many countries, the creator of a work is considered to be the person who developed the tool or programming behind it rather than the individual who provided the input or prompt.


To Prevent Legal Issues

Based on the information provided, it would be prudent to employ a trustworthy AI content creation tool that has received positive ratings from users. Look for a company that clearly communicates its position on copyright laws. It is important to exercise caution when determining whether you are intentionally duplicating someone else’s work or using AI to enhance your content. If you wish to defend your creations in court, consider making significant alterations to the generated content or leveraging AI, to create an initial outline while ensuring that you write the majority of the text on your own.



 Risk #7: Concerns About Security and Privacy Breaches 

This may arise when using AI tools in marketing. These tools pose various threats to a system’s security and data privacy. While some threats may arise from direct attacks by malicious individuals, others could result from users inadvertently sharing sensitive information with systems that are designed to do so.


Security Risks from AI Tools

According to Elaine Atwell, Senior Editor of Content Marketing at endpoint security provider Kolide, there is a growing concern regarding security risks posed by AI tools. Atwell warns that many products available in the market may appear to be legitimate tools but are, in fact, malware. These malicious AI tools are cleverly designed and can be found on platforms like the Chrome store. 

You will find many options if you search for “AI tools” on the Google Chrome store.¬†

In her insightful article on the Kolide blog, Atwell sheds light on the potential risks associated with specific Chrome extensions. She highlights a concerning incident involving a deceptive extension called “Quick Access to Chat GPT.” According to Atwell, this seemingly innocent extension was a malicious tool.

Once unsuspecting users downloaded this extension, it clandestinely hijacked their Facebook accounts and stole all their cookies, including those related to security. Shockingly, Atwell reports that an alarming number of individuals, approximately 2,000, were downloading this extension daily.


Privacy at Risk with AI Tools

According to Atwell, even though an AI tool may be legitimate, it can still pose a significant security risk. To effectively manage risks, numerous companies must establish policies that evaluate the different types and levels of risks connected to various extensions. This lack of clear guidance has resulted in people worldwide installing these seemingly harmless helpers, unknowingly providing them with sensitive data.

Consider the scenario where you are preparing an internal financial report intended for sharing with investors. It is essential to remember that AI networks learn from the given data and utilize this information to generate outputs for other users. Consequently, any data that you input into the AI chatbot could potentially become accessible to individuals outside of your company. Furthermore, this information may be brought to light if a competitor inquires about your bottom line.


To Stay Safe from Privacy and Security Hazards

It is crucial to verify the genuineness of any software before use. Additionally, one must be vigilant about utilizing the chosen tools carefully to prevent the abuse of sensitive data. AI tools should not be given any confidential data. When reviewing AI tools for bias and usefulness, it is essential to inquire about their security and privacy policies.



Reducing the Risks of Using AI in Marketing

It’s no secret that AI is advancing rapidly, and as it grows, so do the risks. In the marketing world, where AI is already making waves, taking exemplary steps to mitigate these risks is essential. Here are some proactive measures that you can take to ensure that you get the most out of your AI marketing efforts:

  • Enlist the help of human editors to review content for quality, readability, and brand voice.
  • Scrutinize the security and capabilities of each AI tool you use to avoid exposure to potential vulnerabilities.
  • Keep a close eye on AI-directed ad targeting to avoid bias.
  • Regularly assess your copy and images for any potential copyright infringement.

This helpful list was brought to you by contributing experts Elain Attwell, Brett McHale, Nick Abenne, and Alaura Weaver. 

¬†Let’s revisit the list of risks associated with utilizing AI for marketing:

  1.  Machine Learning Bias
  2.  Factual Inaccuracies
  3.  Misapplication of AI tools
  4.  Lack of Creative Output
  5.  Potential Negative Impact on SEO
  6.  Uncertain Copyright Implications
  7.  Concerns About Security and Privacy Breaches 



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Don’t miss out on the opportunity to work with the best in the business. Schedule a call with PPC Beast today and discover how we can unlock the full potential of your online marketing efforts. Let’s collaborate and make your dreams a reality!


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