Conversational AI Revolutionizing Brand Marketing

Artificial intelligence (AI) has radically transformed over the past year with the advent of large conversational AI language models like ChatGPT, major companies launching AI initiatives, and rapid consumer adoption. Conversational AI is reshaping the brand marketing landscape across channels and raising significant questions about trust and ethics. The AI Consumer Index reveals insights into current awareness, usage, and attitudes towards conversational AI. It covers chatbots, voice assistants, and AI generative search tools across the US, UK, Germany, Mexico, and Australia based on a survey of 7,000 consumers.

Download the full report here.

Key Consumer Adoption Metrics of Conversational AI

The adoption of AI by consumers in a short period has been striking. JP noted:

To go from 0 to 40% of people in less than 12 months is striking in terms of how fast that adoption comes in. Most organizations aren’t prepared for that rate of change.”

Some key metrics demonstrating the consumer adoption include:

  • 50% of US adults have used some form of generative AI. 29% have heard of large language models.
  • ChatGPT has the highest awareness at 40-48%. But Googlebot and Bing Chat trail closely. 60% of Americans say they are very familiar with chatbots.
  • 45% of US consumers currently use ChatGPT. 38% use it multiple times per day. Googlebot has slightly higher daily usage than ChatGPT in the US.

Conversational AI Use Cases

Consumers are leveraging these conversational AI tools for a wide range of daily activities, from research to purchases:

  • The top reasons for using chatbots are searching, researching, learning new things, and purchasing.
  • 30% of people in the US have already used chatbots to make a purchase, compared to a long tail for voice purchases.
  • In Mexico, 54% of people use chatbots to learn new things.

These use cases demonstrate high consumer engagement with AI across top-funnel discovery and further down the purchase journey.

Trust and Privacy

Despite strong adoption of conversational AI tools, ethical and governance concerns continue to be significant. Many users express frustration and a lack of trust in these technologies. There exists a perpetual struggle between perceived risks and threats versus actual usage. Interestingly, those who voice mistrust are often the same individuals repeatedly engaging with the technology. This duality underscores people’s complex relationship with these advancements, revealing a nuanced landscape where apprehension coexists with ongoing utilization.

I think we’re having sensationalist headlines, which is unhelpful. There is a lot of governance coming. And I think that’s a turning point for businesses that want to get involved with deploying this kind of technology. Consumer adoption is ahead of public policy and appropriate AI governance. Still, people seem willing to exchange privacy for utility, leading to acceptance.

Voice Assistants Have Entered The Mainstream

In 2022, while chatbots and generative AI dominated headlines, voice assistants silently entered the mainstream. Awareness and familiarity have reached around 60% in most major markets. Surprisingly, a significant third of Americans and Brits now use a voice assistant daily, with over half engaging weekly. The applications of voice technology have diversified across various sectors, including content creation, healthcare, and food delivery. What was once considered a niche platform has become integral to consumers’ daily lives. Although smart speakers and phones continue to lead in usage, there is a rapid rise in voice assistant utilization within vehicles and personal audio devices. This shift signifies the ubiquity and acceptance of voice technology in diverse aspects of our lives.

Conversational AI’s Impact on The Nature Of Work

Beyond marketing applications, AI has critical implications for the future of work itself. JP explained: “If you spend some time or any time in front of a computer to do your job, and I imagine if you were here, most of you probably fit into that category, then Generative AI is taking a massive sledgehammer to how we have run many of our processes previously.” Issues like potential job losses and economic impacts worry consumers. However, knowledge workers are already actively contending with AI infiltration into key software tools. Their expectations around employer ethics and data privacy are also elevating.

Generational Differences

Generational differences around AI comfort levels are quite apparent. Younger demographics like Gen Z exhibit far greater ease. Having grown up as digital natives, their expectations and relationships with technology stand apart. It’s startling how comfortable they are. In a couple of years, those entering the workforce – looking for remote work in a hybrid balance- will be partnering in very, very different ways with technology. That is fascinating to me.

Organizations must contend with rising generations who may have vastly different outlooks toward advanced technologies like conversational AI, both as employees and consumers.

Privacy and Utility: A Key Consumer Trade-off

In the era of AI proliferation, the significant consumer tradeoff revolves around the delicate balance between privacy and utility. Interestingly, people tend to express much higher levels of concern about privacy and trust than their actual behaviors suggest.

Summing up this paradox, JP points out that the history of the Internet reflects an ongoing exchange between privacy and utility. Many individuals willingly sacrifice privacy for the sake of utility, seeking the best outcomes from the technology. Despite vocalized reservations, the convenience of use and the positive outcomes derived from AI remain pivotal factors that drive adoption and acceptance.

Public Education Capabilities and Ethics

For smoother adoption of conversational AI tools, education to improve understanding is essential.

I think people need to understand more. But as you say, we’ve been dealing with the privacy values value exchange for a very long time. And ultimately, if it gives consumers what they want quicker and free, they will make that tradeoff.

Likewise, JP noted: “I think as we go into this research, and I want all of you to hear this as JT takes us through his initial findings, is that we are interested in how this is going to transform the brand marketing landscape.”

Overall, better consumer comprehension of AI can pave the way for its responsible deployment in business and governance for societal advantage.

Demands of the AI Revolution

For brands, the scale and pace of the AI revolution warrants urgent strategic action across their digital ecosystem. It certainly changed our strategy as a business. And I suspect many of the brands listening to this will also be apprehensive about what 2024 and probably 25 will bring for us.

Intelligent adoption is vital as AI capabilities become ingrained in customer experiences, brand communications, and internal business processes. Embracing the potential of AI requires careful consideration and wisdom to ensure positive outcomes.

Download the full report here.