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Survey: AI ad disclosure increases consumer trust

February 29, 2024

Yahoo, in collaboration with Publicis Media, has released Trust Through Transparency: The Future of AI and Advertising, a new study exploring consumer and advertiser perspectives, acceptance, usage and trust of artificial intelligence in the advertising industry.

Polling over 1,200 US consumers and more than 350 US advertisers, the survey revealed a disparity in AI sentiment between consumers and advertisers. While 77 per cent of advertisers view AI positively, only 38 per cent of consumers share this sentiment. The study also found that 53 per cent are not familiar with companies’ use of AI in advertisements, demonstrating that brands have an opportunity to build trust in AI by being transparent with consumers about their use of the technology.

“While advertisers are already bullish on AI, a significant portion of the population has yet to tap into the benefits of AI,” said Elizabeth Herbst-Brady, Chief Revenue Officer at Yahoo. “Consumers are less concerned about brands and marketers using AI, but rather identifying when AI is used. Transparency will be vital for brands to maintain long-term consumer relationships and generate positive brand equity.”

The study found key themes across consumers and advertisers, and identified trends from transparency to demographic sentiment.

  • Trust Through Transparency: Advertisers can build trust through transparency when using AI. To gauge consumer acceptance of AI-generated imagery, respondents were presented with different types of creative, some with and some without disclosures that AI was used to create the ad. Overall, AI-generated ads with noticed disclosures significantly boosted brand perceptions and provided a 47 per cent lift in ad appeal, a 73 per cent lift in ad trustworthiness, and a 96 per cent lift in overall trust for the company. This proved true across industries, especially those with historical sensitivities like finance and healthcare.
  • Authentic or AI: The study found 72 per cent of consumers believe AI makes it difficult to determine what content is truly authentic. Although 61 per cent already assume AI is used in ads, they don’t know how to identify where.
  • Generational Divide: Younger generations are leading the charge in embracing AI, with 84 per cent of Gen Z respondents reporting they use at least one AI tool today, compared to 68 per cent of Millennials, 54 per cent of Gen X, and 40 per cent of Boomers. Consumers are also starting to find more use cases for AI beyond simple Q&A (44 per cent), with other leading uses being writing (35 per cent) and to brainstorm and generate ideas (33 per cent). Interestingly, 67 per cent also say they want AI trained on ‘unbiased and fair’ data.
  • Advertisers’ Optimism: Advertisers are highly optimistic about AI, with 86 per cent already using it in their roles. They identify its benefits in three key areas: greater efficiency, with 87 per cent noting AI cuts manual task time; higher-order tasks, with 83 per cent saying it frees up time for more creative and strategic work; and financial results, with 81 per cent observing AI’s ability to boost sales.
  • Advertiser Use Cases for AI: When asked about AI’s real-time capabilities for advertising, 81 per cent believe AI will enhance ad experiences through optimal timing and placement; 80 per cent foresee an increase in ROI via real-time campaign optimisation and insights; 79 per cent expect AI to facilitate strategic pivots in response to market shifts; and 78 per cent see AI’s role in creative personalisation to strengthen emotional audience connections. Over thre-quarters (77 per cent) also anticipate AI will help shorten the time between ad exposure and a purchase.

“Advertisers recognise the value AI can bring beyond streamlining and optimising processes,” added Herbst-Brady. “There are growing opportunities for AI usage. Marketers are ready to adopt these future solutions across measurement, brand suitability and safety, and targeting and segmentation.”

Categories: Advertising, AI, Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Research

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