Current Issue Summary
June 2021 (Vol. 61, Issue 2)
Understanding AI Advertising from the Consumer Perspective: What Factors Determine Consumers’ Appreciation of AI-Created Advertisements?
One might expect consumers to respond differently to ads created using artificial intelligence. But what’s behind these differences? Whereas previous research on AI ads has focused on the advertising professional’s perspective, Linwan Wu and Taylor Jing Wen (both at University of South Carolina) have examined various factors that drive people’s reactions, using multiple scales. They cited as examples ads by Lexus and Burger King, which have disclaimers that explicitly inform consumers of the role of AI in the ads’ creation.
Because people may not understand how AI works, they may not react the same way as advertising professionals assume. So, drawing from earlier research, Wu and Wen used six different scales to survey people in the U.S. about their perceptions on an AI ad’s objectivity, its human-likeness, machine heuristic (decision-making), eeriness, the respondents’ uneasiness with robots and their general appreciation of the ad itself (boring/persuasive/well-designed and so on).
Among the findings:
- the greater the perceived objectivity of an AI-driven ad, the more positive the impression of its machine heuristic—a rule of thumb that machines are more objective and, therefore, more trustworthy than humans.
- Objectivity also reduced the eeriness factor.
- Unexpectedly, uneasiness with robots has a double-edged sword. People tend to feel more creeped out by robots (higher uneasiness) the more they gain more human-like qualities, a phenomenon known as the uncanny valley. But they also see robots as technologies that showcase levels of intelligence and therefore trustworthiness (positive machine heuristic).
What does this mean for advertisers that use AI? To appeal to consumers’ perceptions of objectivity, advertisers should be more forthcoming about how the ad was created. Instead of just, “written by artificial intelligence,” for example, the disclaimer could say: “This commercial was created by AI after analyzing 10 years of big data in the auto industry.” To counter uneasiness with robots, use targeting and segmentation strategies to gain a better understanding of where your audience stands on this, and shape the messaging accordingly, the authors suggest.
Read the full article here.