How generative AI will impact marketing and UGC

Digital marketing is on the precipice of massive change, and it’s all thanks to AI tools. Innovations like ChatGPT and other AI technologies promise to revolutionize the online marketing landscape, offering unprecedented opportunities to connect your brand with more consumers and create more quality content than ever before.

But how exactly will generative AI impact user-generated content (UGC) and marketing in general? Let’s take a closer look at what generative AI is, how it works, and how it may have an effect on the digital marketing arena.

What Is generative AI?

In a nutshell, generative AI is any artificial intelligence tool that synthesizes new and original content based on input parameters. For example, the recently popular tool ChatGPT is a text content-generating machine – users provide ChatGPT with input parameters, like what they want the AI to write about or how they want the content to sound, then allow it to work, creating a block of text or a complete article.

When leveraged properly, generative AI can make original works of art, written content, videos, pictures, and even music. Generative AI, thus, fulfills many of the needs of modern digital marketers.

For example, when a company needs a new blog post written about a popular topic in its industry, rather than writing it from scratch, it may simply have a generative AI tool write the blog post or get an outline started by looking at similar articles and developing new insights.

Generative AI is a milestone in artificial intelligence development because it can create new things rather than just replicate or recite things it has seen before. 

Generative AI images created by Google AI

Generative AI images created by Google AI (Source)‍

Generative AI vs. machine learning

While generative AI is similar to machine learning, the two concepts are not exactly the same.

Machine learning is a method of training artificial intelligence tools and systems. Through machine learning, creators or users expose AI models to data. The more data the ML algorithm has to work with, the better the results it will hypothetically produce.

AI tools use machine learning algorithms to train themselves on data sets, then make predictions, decisions, or content based on those data sets. Many generative AI tools may leverage machine learning as a way to provide themselves with the information they need to create high-quality, relevant content relative to their input parameters.

For instance, if a company wants to use a generative AI tool to make a new blog post, it may provide that AI tool with similar blog posts for machine learning purposes.

Machine learning can also be used for other AI tools, not just generative AI. In fact, many brands already use machine learning for data analysis, as AI in a centralized cloud can help them maximize their business intelligence and make better, data-driven decisions.

Controversy surrounding generative AI

Businesses leveraging generative AI to create marketing content are likely to face a variety of challenges that have never existed before. For example, controversy already exists around ownership and credit for generative AI content. Some believe the creators of AI writing and art generators like Jasper should be credited for the original content the tool creates, while others argue that they shouldn’t, because the content created pulls from existing writing, artwork, and images that already exist online.

Furthermore, some artists and content creators view generative AI tools as an instrument to assist in sharpening and developing their creations, while others express concerns about potential competition between human creators and artificial intelligence.

Only time will tell how controversial generative AI content will become in marketing and what barriers marketers will face when leveraging it, but it’s worth learning about how these tools can potentially impact businesses positively, as well. Let’s dive into these potential use cases.

The potential applications of generative AI

Generative AI already has several potential applications in marketing and other sectors. Here are some brief examples:

  • In creative industries, generative AI may be used to make original works of art, like digital paintings or music. This can be advantageous for companies that need a lot of engaging content produced quickly.

  • In product design industries, generative AI may help design completely new products by taking desired characteristics or attributes into account, then coming up with brand-new ideas or schematics that fit those desires/needs.

  • In the medical research industry, generative AI can be used to come up with new ideas or hypotheses for future research projects.

  • In the marketing and advertising arenas, generative AI may be helpful when generating new marketing campaigns and creating ads based on outcomes input by tool users.

In these ways and more, generative AI has the potential to cause major disruptions in a wide variety of industries. While some are worried about the upcoming changes, others are looking to take full advantage of these new tools.

Marketing and the importance of UGC

Digital marketing is extremely important in today’s competitive landscape and can help boost sales in almost any industry. It is essential for small companies like LLCs and sole proprietorships that typically have a limited budget and no recognizable brand yet. In fact, digital marketing represents the best and most cost-effective avenue for businesses to reach new customers. 

Digital marketing can include digital ads, like Google pay-per-click ads, social media advertisements, YouTube content, and UGC or user-generated content.

UGC is brand-specific content created by a brand’s customers or users that is typically published on social media or other channels. It is an excellent way for companies to increase the authenticity of their marketing campaigns. For instance, imagine that your company sells a product to a satisfied customer. That customer opens up their TikTok profile gushing about the product. To further entice new buyers, your marketing team can use a UGC platform to collect that content and get permission to display that video and use it as a testimonial on your brand’s marketing channels.

Screenshot of Crocs customer photo gallery

These days, many consumers trust user-generated content, such as testimonials or influencer marketing content, over traditional advertisements, which are seen as inauthentic. That’s one reason why many brands now partner with influencers on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The best way to get new customers is to show how other people are already using your products or services - and enjoying them.

How will generative AI affect UGC, influencers, and digital marketing?

Generative AI has the potential to seriously affect user-generated content and digital marketing as a whole. Here are a few ways in which generative AI could cause major waves in these areas.

Display UGC intelligently and dynamically

Generative AI may be able to intelligently look at user-generated content, ranging from written content to videos to pictures and display that content intelligently and dynamically. Emplifi leverages AI to help brands identify the most relevant and engaging pieces of UGC collected through the platform to ensure their best content is displayed in the right places.

Taking this a step further, AI tools can look at the search or viewing history of a new visitor to your website. Upon analyzing that visiting history, the AI can then provide that unique visitor with a batch of user-generated content, like pictures of your products or testimonials that highlight specific things, most likely to result in a sale or a longer visit.

At the same time, generative AI can take user-generated content already on your site or your database and adjust it for better, more dynamic display options. It can improve the lighting, change the position of objects or figures in photographs, and much more.

All of this results in UGC that looks top-tier 24/7 without your marketing team putting in significantly more work. Your user-generated content may be much more effective when trying to bring new customers to your brand or trying to entice people to make a purchase.

Customer targeting

Note that AI tools, in general, will impact the marketing arena because of how they will allow brands to target customers more directly.

AI is particularly good at sifting through large data sets and finding hidden patterns. Machine learning allows AI technology to target customers who are most likely to make a purchase or become attached to your brand based on things like demographics, visit history, and past purchases.

Some AI tools can provide key information to marketing teams, such as:

  • Which demographics they should target

  • What their next advertisements should focus on

  • How to create new content that will resonate with target customers

  • Whether customers will accept higher prices or fees for your products, such as credit cards, or new services

Customer targeting is already well-developed and comprehensive, but it will become even more robust and accurate with the further adoption of AI tools and generative AI algorithms.

Large-scale content creation

Most importantly, generative AI will impact marketing and UGC marketing campaigns, specifically through content creation.

These days, marketing teams have to create a wealth of content almost nonstop. Because social media and the internet are fast-moving, ever-changing landscapes, it’s not enough to produce one piece of content per week. For your brand to be competitive, you likely have to create several pieces of content each week, spread out between blog posts, social media posts, videos, etc.

Making all of that content can be time-consuming and costly. For example, your brand may need to hire a lot of copywriters, digital designers, YouTube creators, and influencers to make content your consumers will find useful and engaging.

With generative AI, you can offload much of that work onto AI tools. In a matter of minutes, generative AI can produce intelligent, grammatically correct articles on key topics in your industry. While generative AI tools lack the sophistication of human writers for now, it’s only a matter of time before they become the most cost-effective means to fill up your website with informative and entertaining blog posts.

However, most companies and marketers agree that there will always be a need for authentic content created by real people, like UGC. While a computer-generated image or even a virtual influencer can create unique, engaging content for a brand to reshare, customers will always be looking for social proof from real people like them when determining whether or not to make a purchase. UGC, influencer content, and generative AI therefore have the power to work together, diversifying your marketing content while still humanizing your brand.

Improves personalization

By bolstering your data collection abilities, generative AI can help you make more money by producing marketing materials and web content that resonate more deeply with your target audience. 

For example, using these tools, you can create highly personalized emails and marketing messages according to each reader’s interests and send them at the exact time your readers are most likely to engage with them. You can also display only the most relevant website content based on each visitor’s online activity and location, which can help improve your conversion rates.

It’s no stretch to say that generative AI may completely revolutionize the marketing industry in a few years. With increased personalization and content tailored to individual customers, brands may be able to collect even more data around conversion and how it relates to the content they share. It’s important to note that many UGC and influencer marketing platforms like Emplifi already allow marketers to map specific pieces of content to revenue, especially when that content is made shoppable on a brand’s eCommerce website.

Is generative AI at its peak?

Not yet. Despite recent hubbub and news buzz, generative AI is far from perfect, and it still needs to be fine-tuned before it’s ready for widespread adoption. Furthermore, it remains to be seen whether generative AI will be able to personalize content as ideally as is predicted once it is deployed in the wider market.

That said, it’s clear that generative AI is already having a major impact on the marketing sector. If your brand doesn’t use generative AI or machine learning tools yet, you should actively seek out research and knowledge about how it might pertain to your company. It’s important to start looking into these tools and how to implement them into your marketing campaigns before your competitors take advantage of these new technologies.

While there’s no doubt that generative AI will make an impact, it remains to be seen what that impact actually looks like. Time will tell whether tools like ChatGPT can achieve the dynamism and flexibility envisioned by their creators.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.

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