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Trends & Insights | Blog

A year of generative AI – in social media and beyond

December 20, 2023


What a difference a year can make. In November 2022, OpenAI launched the world’s first generative AI chatbot, ChatGPT – and it seemed like an innovative novelty at the time.

Nicole Mezzasalma

Senior Consultant, Innovation

One year on, and it’s now very much mainstream and part of everyday life. It has shaped our entire year, with big tech companies sprinting to catch up, as they have released their own generative AI assistants and tools.

The undercurrent of gen AI now runs strong beneath the surface of our favourite social media platforms. It personalises our feeds, targets ads, and even analyses sentiment. However, its influence isn’t limited to hidden algorithms. Influencers and marketing professionals wield gen AI as a powerful tool for creating engaging content, shaping trends, and reaching wider audiences. Even people who don’t use it regularly are curious about it, as the 3,800% increase in Google searches about gen AI over the past year indicates (Google Trends data, retrieved on 20/12/23).   

It’s nearly impossible to list all the apps, features, and advancements in this field within a blog post (you can try this website instead), but here are our top AI developments of 2023 in the context of social media and communications.

LinkedIn using AI everywhere

LinkedIn has everything from AI-generated collaborative articles (which became the platform’s biggest traffic driver in the latter months of 2023), to job applications assisted by artificial intelligence. The Microsoft-owned social media network has consistently rolled out features for recruiters, content creators, and advertisers augmented by gen AI. 

You can argue some of the new capabilities are probably unnecessary (do we need AI-generated posts when so much on LinkedIn is already quite bland and generic?). Still, it’s certainly been interesting to follow the flurry of regular launches – and there’s definitely a lot more to come in 2024.

TikTok’s Creative Assistant

Whether you’re completely new to TikTok or a platform pro, its Creative Assistant, launched at the end of September, is a one-stop shop for all your creative needs. Want to see what your competitors are doing on TikTok? Ask, and it will show the top ads in your category for you to use as inspiration. Looking to launch your first advertising campaign? The Assistant can share best practices and take you through the process step by step.

Arguably, the Creative Assistant doesn’t offer much you couldn’t find out yourself by using ChatGPT or another gen AI chatbot, but providing help to brands and creators on the app is a good way to keep them coming back.

Supercharge your social listening

Social listening is one of the unsung heroes of social media marketing: when used properly, it can be a powerful tool to understand your customers, identify trends and even prevent crises by identifying issues before they escalate. 

Generative AI can take social listening to the next level by quickly identifying relevant posts and brand mentions, useful keywords and crunching the data to provide information that can be turned into useful insights in the right hands. Most of the market-leading tools have already started implementing gen AI capabilities within their systems, but you can also get in touch with an expert (such as the Battenhall Insights team!) to help you make the most of the data.

Do AI campaigns work?

There is still some confusion about what AI looks like, with some creative campaigns produced using computer-generated images (CGI) being lauded as gen AI – a good example of this is the viral video by fashion brand Jaquemus featuring giant Bambino bags cruising through the streets of Paris (not AI).

Some brands also faced backlash in 2023 due to their choices regarding generative AI. Jeans company Levi’s partnered with digital fashion studio Lalaland.ai to create realistic body-diverse models to improve its online shopping experience. However, consumers argued they could have simply hired real diverse models instead, forcing Levi’s to issue a statement to clarify its policies.

A great example of a campaign that uses AI to make a pertinent point is Orange France’s video, launched ahead of the women’s football World Cup in Australia, to combat gender bias and promote equal representation in sports. The ad features French male national team stars, such as Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann, showcasing their skills on the pitch. But as the video progresses, it’s gradually revealed that the talent on display is actually their female counterparts.

At Battenhall, our guidelines for using AI to create impactful campaigns follow a simple rule: could this creative idea be developed without the use of AI? If so, gen AI is not the solution. Only concepts that would not be able to come to life without the support of the technology should employ it.

The new year will surely bring many more exciting developments in AI tools and campaigns, such as the possibility to create your own bespoke AI assistant using GPTs (as announced at OpenAI’s latest developer day). As an innovation-first agency, we are looking forward to what’s in store in 2024 and beyond. 

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