In the last few years, artificial intelligence has started to permeate all areas of digital advertising. Advertisers have been eager to adapt to all new AI changes that have taken place. This might be part curiosity and part fear of missing out and getting behind their competitors. But if you’ve been wondering, “How dangerous is AI really?” then you’ve come to the right place.
Before going full force into AI advertising, it’s important to consider the dangers and pitfalls of using AI so that you can avoid them. We’ll take a look at 10 things anyone using artificial intelligence for eCommerce should beware of.
- Get to know the common pitfalls and dangers of using AI in advertising so you can recognize them.
- Learn how to avoid these dangers so you can successfully integrate AI into your advertising strategy.
PPC Advertising in the age of artificial intelligence
Advertisers have been quick to hop on the AI train, and for good reason. As the technology advances, AI can have a tremendous effect on the success of campaigns. Media giants like Google, Meta, Amazon, and Microsoft have been adding more and more AI capabilities to their products over the last few years. And now it has become a leading focus for them.
These innovations have made it extremely easy for online advertisers to incorporate AI into their PPC strategies in many different ways.
Here are some of the most popular uses:
Generative AI creates content such as text, images, music, or other media based on the prompts and directions you provide. It uses existing data to create new, realistic pieces of content that reflects the characteristics of the training data without simply repeating it. Some of the most popular examples are ChatGPT and DALL-E.
Advertising platforms like Google and Meta have incorporated generative AI into their platforms, giving advertisers direct access to things like creating new product images or listing copy.
AI-driven audience targeting helps advertisers deliver their ads to the right audience at the right time. This allows you to analyze large amounts of data to gain valuable insights into users' behavior, preferences, and demographics. Here are some ways AI is used for audience targeting in PPC ads:
- Detailed insights into your audience
- Extremely specific audience segmentation
- Predictive targeting
- Real-time bidding optimization to serve your ads to the right people
As a PPC advertiser, you probably collect vast amounts of data on ad performance, keywords, audience behavior, and market trends. AI’s ability to process this data can help you make data-backed adjustments to your campaigns.
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11 dangers of AI in advertising
So, how dangerous is AI in digital advertising? Let’s find out by taking a look at 11 key areas. Be sure to look out for these when creating ad campaigns while using AI.
1. Getting data from an unreliable source
The quality of the output depends on the integrity of the data fed to the AI models. Because of this, you need to make sure the data you’re using is “clean”.
Clean, high-quality data is valid and free from errors or manipulation. For example, if your data isn’t accurate then your ad targeting won’t be either. This can lead to wasted ad spend and missing out on sales and conversions.
So how can you ensure that you’re collecting this kind of data?
Use verified pixels for your websites, such as the Meta Pixel or Google's pixel. These pixels, which are snippets of code inserted into your web pages, allow advertisers to collect accurate and reliable data through cookies about user behavior on their websites.
Advertisers can leverage this clean data to make informed decisions, optimize their PPC campaigns effectively, and deliver personalized and targeted ads to their audiences. Ultimately, using verified pixels helps to maintain the integrity of the data collected and enhance the overall performance of PPC advertising efforts.
Meta released a case study of how an Italian jewelry maker, Braccialetti Aua, used the Meta Pixel and the Conversions API to increase their sales.
2. Bias in AI algorithms
Unfortunately, even if you have gotten your data from a reliable source, there are still biases built into the systems. You won’t be able to avoid this if you rely solely on AI for ad targeting.
The research conducted by Northeastern's Khoury College of Computer Sciences suggests that Facebook's algorithm delivers advertisements differently depending on who is pictured in the ad. In fact, the U.S. Department of Justice previously charged Meta with algorithmic bias for their housing advertisement delivery system.
The researchers' work also revealed that Facebook's ad delivery system skews ad delivery along demographic lines. For example, job ads in the lumber industry are disproportionately delivered to white men, while janitorial positions are more likely to go to Black women.
The algorithm's goal is to estimate relevance and predict which users are more likely to engage with an ad. But as a byproduct of this, race, gender, and age end up being used as predictive factors, which can lead to biased ad delivery.
It is important to note that Facebook may not intentionally engage in demographic classification from pictures, but the results of the research suggest that the algorithm effectively does so. This can have both positive and negative implications. While it might align with an advertiser's intention to attract specific demographics, it can also result in problematic outcomes.
3. Lack of SEO in product descriptions
When it comes to keyword optimization for paid ads, relying solely on artificial intelligence can pose certain dangers, like poorly designed ads. One of the challenges arises from AI-generated product descriptions. They may not prioritize the right targeted keywords, potentially impacting your SEO performance.
While AI brings efficiency and speed, it may overlook the specific keywords that are crucial for attracting organic traffic and improving ad visibility.
To achieve optimal results, PPC advertisers need to emphasize the importance of thorough keyword research. By identifying relevant keywords and strategically placing them in product descriptions, advertisers can increase their ad's visibility and reach the intended audience.
It's crucial to strike the right balance between AI-generated content and human expertise. You can implement a strategic approach that blends automation with the insights gained from keyword research, like with Google's Keyword Planner pictured above, to run effective and results-driven paid ad campaigns.
You can add automation to your text ads with Feed-Based Text ads from DataFeedWatch. It will give you the same conveniences as AI automation, but with more control.
Feed-Based Text Ads uses an ad-pattern builder to automatically generate keywords for you based on your product titles and other product data. This way you can be assured that your ads are optimized for the right keywords that will help them be visible on the SERP. You will also have be able to have as much control over your bidding strategy as you want.
4. Overpaying for AI software
Without a clear plan or concrete idea of your needs, you might overpay for services you don’t need, or subscribe to too many services. There is no shortage of AI tools popping up for advertisers to use, and the results from a quick Google search might be overwhelming.
To avoid this, create a clear assessment of your advertising needs and those that could be improved with the use of AI. Then you can research tools with the specific features you need.
It’s also important not to throw too much to AI all at once in order not to overwhelm your current advertising strategy.
5. Losing your brand’s original voice
It's important for advertisers to be mindful of maintaining their brand's original voice. AI-generated content can be very helpful in producing ad copy quickly and efficiently, but it may lack the unique brand voice that is needed to make ads stand out in a competitive market.
It's crucial to pay close attention to the tone and language of the AI-generated content and ensure it aligns with your established brand voice. You can provide detailed brand guidelines to customize the AI output you receive.This will help to match your brand's tone and messaging as closely as possible. Of course, you should still proofread and make any necessary edits to AI-generated content.
By keeping the brand's original voice at the forefront and using AI technology as a supporting tool, you will be able to produce compelling and engaging ads that elevate your brand's message while encouraging action from your audience.
6. Losing your brand’s human touch
As you embrace the capabilities of AI in your advertising campaigns, it's essential not to overlook the importance of the human touch. While AI tools can undoubtedly enhance your efficiency and productivity, remember that true brand connection requires the personalization, empathy, and creativity that only humans can provide.
Why is the human touch crucial? Let's face it - customers don't want to interact with cold, robotic algorithms. They crave meaningful connections with brands that are relatable and empathetic. By infusing your online advertising with a human touch, you can tap into the emotional aspect of marketing, fostering trust and loyalty among your audience.
Some ways a lack of human touch may manifest are:
- Lack of personalized communication
- Poorly designed advertisements
- Insufficient emotional connection
- Neglecting real-time adaptability
- Ignoring social listening
- Customer service limitations, like poorly constructed chatbots
Regularly engaging with customers through surveys, social media interactions, and feedback loops can help brands stay connected to their audience's sentiments and expectations.
7. Possible legal disputes
As of now, the use of AI is a sea of legally uncharted waters. There have already been disputes over who owns the rights to AI generated images, especially when the AI model has taken references from an established artist.
Legal issues can affect the online advertising world as well. Here are some of the risks and considerations that brands should keep in mind:
When using AI for online advertising, brands need to ensure that their campaigns comply with all regulations, such as data protection laws (e.g., GDPR), and other privacy laws. Failure to comply can result in fines, legal action, and reputational damage.
Intellectual property infringement
AI tools may inadvertently generate content that infringes upon copyrighted materials like trademarks or patents. Have mechanisms in place to review AI-generated content to make sure it doesn’t violate any intellectual property rights.
Misleading or deceptive advertisements
AI-generated content, if not thoroughly reviewed, may produce misleading or deceptive advertisements. These can violate consumer protection laws, and even the requirements of the platform you’re advertising on. Put quality control measures in place to avoid this.
Make sure you have the appropriate rights to use any third-party assets to avoid potential copyright disputes.
To minimize the legal risks associated with AI-driven advertising, consider creating company policies on the following areas:
- Human oversight and intervention:
- Robust data protection practices:
- Ongoing monitoring and auditing
- Stay updated on relevant laws and regulations
8. Security attacks
As with all areas of the internet, avoiding security risks is a main concern. And it’s the same when integrating AI with advertising.
Artificial intelligence relies heavily on user data for things like ad targeting. This makes privacy protection paramount. As a responsible advertiser, you should:
- Adhere to applicable data protection regulations
- Obtain the appropriate consent when collecting data
- Communicate transparently with users about data usage
You should also do everything in your power to avoid data breaches by implementing robust data security measures. Use encryption, strong access controls like two-factor authentication, and regularly update any software you use to protect sensitive customer and company information.
Also be sure to train all of your employees on AI safety and security so that everyone is on the same page.
9. Falling behind on new updates
Staying up to date with the latest advancements in AI is crucial for PPC advertisers to ensure their ad campaigns are the most effective.
AI technologies are continuously advancing, offering new tools and strategies that can greatly enhance ad targeting, audience segmentation, bidding strategies, and more.
By staying informed about the latest AI advancements, PPC advertisers can leverage these technologies to optimize their ad campaigns and improve overall performance. For instance, they can explore AI-powered automation tools that streamline campaign management, dynamic ad optimization, and personalized targeting based on user behavior.
Continuous learning and adaptation to AI advancements within the realm of PPC advertising allow advertisers to leverage the most innovative solutions and gain a competitive edge in the market.
How to stay informed about new AI advancements
Some things you can do to be proactive in your AI education are:
- Attend industry conferences and take new trainings
- Network with experts
- Find a podcast or other media source you can engage with regularly
- Read the releases notes from Google, Meta, whatever software you use
10. A bad PPC strategy scaled with AI is an even worse PPC strategy
While incorporating AI into an already well-functional advertising strategy can bring efficiency, optimization, and increased performance to your campaigns. However, the current reality is that scaling an underperforming PPC strategy with AI won't magically make it better.
AI amplifies whatever you feed into it, so if your PPC strategy lacks proper targeting, ad relevance, or compelling messaging, scaling it with AI will only magnify those weaknesses. Focus instead on building a strong foundation first. Then you can use AI as a powerful tool to enhance and optimize your campaigns. With the right combination, you'll be able to create success and growth for your business.
Check out this article for 11 of the best AI advertising examples.
11. Overspending ad budget without setting limits
If you use AI without setting budget limits, there is a risk of overspending on your ad budget. These AI systems are designed to optimize campaigns and allocate budgets based on real-time data and performance indicators. But without predefined budget limits, the AI system may continue to spend on ads indefinitely, potentially exceeding the your desired budget.
To decrease the risk of overspending on ad budgets when using AI, you can do the following:
- Set clear budget limits
- Regularly review and adjust budgets
- Implement budget control mechanisms like:
- Setting daily or monthly spending caps
- Setting up rules to pause campaigns when the budget is exhausted
- Receiving alerts if spending exceeds a certain amount
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Best practices for using AI in online advertising
In general, you can avoid these dangers of advertising with AI as best as possible by following these guidelines.
- Be transparent to your users while collecting data, and comply with all local laws.
- Keep testing and keeping a close eye on the results.
- Collect your data in a responsible way so that it’s as clean and bias free as possible.
- Keep all your technology up-to-date to avoid security breaches and to make sure it’s functioning as intended.
- Keep a human touch at the forefront of all you and remain closely aligned with your brand voice as you incorporate more AI into your strategies.
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AI has revolutionized the digital advertising landscape and offers numerous benefits. However, it's important for PPC advertisers to ask themselves, “How dangerous is AI to my advertising strategy?” and be aware of the potential problems that may arise. Without proper oversight and control, relying solely on AI systems can lead to mishaps like overspending on ad budgets, inaccurate forecasting, and a lack of human intervention.
Want to learn more about how to implement AI effectively into your digital advertising strategy?
Read this article next: All-in-One Guide to Using AI in Digital Marketing