ChatGPT: What Does it Mean for the Marketing Industry?

ChatGPT is one of the most advanced conversational agents available today and has the potential to revolutionise how we interact with Artificial Intelligence. With its ability to answer search queries in a much more convenient way than today’s search engines, it poses a threat to Google itself.

Since the launch of its latest version on 30th November 2022, its popularity has soared, with the programme gaining more than one million users within a week. The US based company behind the software, OpenAI, has been valued at $29 billion, depending on whether Microsoft invest a further $10 billon on top of their initial $1 billion investment back in 2019.

What will the growth of ChatGPT mean for marketing? And how is Google responding to this threat? This article attempts to answer these questions, and more.

What is ChatGPT?

The ‘GPT’ in ChatGPT stands for Generative Pre-Training Transformer, as this AI uses what is known as a Transformer Neural Network.

With ChatGPT, users can interact with a virtual conversational agent in the same way they would communicate with another human being—through dialogue. Unlike many other chatbots, however, it can produce near-human responses to user questions and comments, making it an ideal choice for use in customer support or virtual assistant applications.

To really illustrate just how powerful this technology is, let us review another of its uses – ChatGPT allows developers to generate code quickly and easily with natural language. Developers simply ask questions and have code snippets generated in response. In fact, extensions are available that enable developers to use ChatGPT within their own development environment.

ChatGPT supports multiple programming languages and is an ideal tool for developers looking to quickly create, refine and deploy code. It may even prove helpful for data visualisation and web design purposes.

Why is ChatGPT So Advanced?

What is it that makes ChatGPT more advanced than the average chatbot? First of all, newer chatbots are trained using larger datasets thanks to what is known as Large Language Models (LLMs), a type of Natural Language Model. As time goes on and processing power develops, so will these models. In fact, GPT-3 has been trained on exponentially more data than its predecessor, GPT-2.

Whilst this in itself is a positive thing, quantity does not guarantee quality when it comes to Machine Learning and LLMs have their own issues regarding accuracy. However, OpenAI have employed other techniques to make GPT-3 as advanced as it is.

The model uses a technique known as Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF). Human feedback is used to ensure the output aligns with user intent, making responses contextually relevant to the conversation. It is also able to remember previous conversations, which allows for a more natural and effective dialogue. Therefore, users can have an engaging conversations with the chatbot that is both interesting and personalised.

More about its construction can be found in this paper published about InstructGPT, of which ChatGPT is an offshoot.

Why is ChatGPT a Threat to Google?

ChatGPT has the potential to disrupt Google’s status as the dominant search engine. It allows users to get answers more quickly and accurately than with traditional search engines – and in a world where consumers are more impatient than ever, there is no logical reason to assume they would choose to continue using Google for search queries when a faster, more convenient option is available.

This poses a threat to Google and its marketing strategies, potentially reducing the amount of traffic to their search engine and therefore, reducing advertising revenue.

Whilst Google has a monopoly in the search engine market, the introduction of ChatGPT may lead other companies to start offering similar services. This could create more competition during the early stages of adoption, which could reduce Google’s market share.

Thus, even if ChatGPT will not replace Google, the search engine giant may face other threats. Microsoft may even become a threat if it starts integrating ChatGPT with its own search engines.

With customers no longer being exposed to Google Ads, what would the alternative be?

What Would Replace Google Ads?  

Nobody knows. As mentioned, some have speculated that chatbots such as ChatGPT will be integrated with existing search engines, complementing rather than replacing them. In addition, the operating costs for ChatGPT are significantly higher than the costs of running a search engine ($3 million per month – and that figure is only based on its current usage).    

Whether OpenAI will integrate their own form of online advertising with a future version of ChatGPT remains to be seen. Currently, the service is not monetised on a broad scale. It makes money by selling its API and has plans to launch a paid version called ChatGPT Professional.   

Google’s Response

Google have stated that ChatGPT is not likely to replace search engines as it gives inaccurate responses (among other issues). Regardless, Google was reported to announce ‘code red’ after the latest update to ChatGPT and is looking for ways to protect its position in the market. In fact, Google has its own advanced language model – LaMDA. It is so advanced that engineers have claimed that it is sentient, communicating as if it had human emotion.   

Of course, timing is crucial – if ChatGPT improves and gains momentum quickly, what are the odds of consumers reverting back to their former habits?  

Google must continually evolve and remain competitive by providing the same convenient user experience that ChatGPT promises to deliver, and must act fast. By leveraging its vast resources, Google could gain a competitive edge over rivals such as ChatGPT, but only time will tell if it is successful in doing so.   

Other Implications for Marketers  

Customer Service  

ChatGPT has the potential to eliminate much of the mundane task work associated with traditional customer service or help desk staffing. It can answer complex queries accurately and quickly, reducing wait times and improving customer satisfaction. It can also be used in a variety of other conversational scenarios such as product recommendations. With its ability to understand context, it provides an intuitive user experience that sets it apart from many of its competitor chatbots.  

ChatGPT’s technology has the potential to challenge traditional approaches to customer engagement. Marketers will easily be able to create personalised experiences, allowing for more meaningful connections and deeper engagements, resulting in increased customer loyalty. If it integrates voice search technology in future, it promises to offer the ultimate convenience. 

Automating Marketing Tasks  

ChatGPT may automate many marketing tasks that are currently done by employees, potentially leading to job losses. However, it lacks the creativity and strategic thinking of humans and therefore, more senior roles in marketing will not be replaced.  

Since it speeds up research, it will enable organisations to save time on market research, competitor analysis, and so on. It may also be used to automate social media marketing and some SEO tasks. It has a keyword research feature, and can speed up the creation of web pages by optimising titles, meta descriptions, headings, tags, and more. It also looks at the keywords used and suggests alternate phrasing that will perform better.  

This technology is also poised to revolutionise content creation. Like other AI content generators, it allows users to quickly generate compelling copy through its conversational interface, eliminating the need to manually create content from scratch. It can also provide templates for common scenarios, such as email outreach or product launches.  

Sentiment Analysis 

Sentiment analysis is another application of ChatGPT that will speed up the analysis of qualitative data. This is good news for marketing, customer service and customer insights teams. The programme is able to sift through large volumes of customer feedback, social media content and other text, finding insights and patterns.  

Of course, there are plenty of sentiment analysis tools already on the market – but given the convenience of being able to automate numerous marketing tasks from one platform, it is not much of a stretch to imagine that ChatGPT could become fierce competition for these services. 

These are just a few examples of the marketing innovations made possible by ChatGPT. More are sure to arise in the near future.  

In Summary 

ChatGPT is an advanced language model that gives human-like responses and is able to automate many routine tasks. It understands context far better than the average chatbot and uses a technique called Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF) in order to align responses with user intent. 

Its ability to quickly provide answers to search queries makes it a serious threat to Google’s dominant position. Google must leverage its resources and continue to invest in AI technology if it wants to remain competitive and fend off the challenge. With Microsoft potentially investing a further $10 billion in OpenAI, Google is acting fast to protect its business model. Ultimately, users stand to benefit from the competition, as it is likely to produce improved services; time will tell which comes out on top.  

As for marketers, the tool can speed up many processes including SEO, content generation, market research and data analysis. The quality of customer service it may offer compared to other chatbots is significantly higher which may improve engagement and loyalty. 

It is too early to predict the precise consequences when it comes to Google Ads, nor what the alternatives may be in future. For now, it is certain that ChatGPT is disrupting the industry and will continue to do so.  

To discover how we’re helping businesses worldwide develop leading marketing strategies, contact us – we would be delighted to assist.

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