February 6, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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How AI and Web3 marketing will compete for ad dollars

Shared uncertainties 

Regardless of whether a brand chooses to invest in AI, Web3 or both, either space poses similar uncertainties that could affect how their technologies evolve. 

Regulation is one area. In Web3, there has yet to be a significant push at the federal level for how NFTs and crypto should be considered under the law. While a number of cases have emerged in areas like insider trading and fraud, there remains a lack of established precedent. The way in which the chips fall will undoubtedly impact how brands interact with the assets, and the space at large.

AI also is an industry in need of regulation. The wellspring of generative bots has raised questions over copyright; for example, when DALL-E slightly manipulates a famous painting, is that a violation of the painting’s copyright? Or, given the bot is trained on reams of data, what rights do that data have over the bot’s output? 

Earlier this month, Getty Images sued AI image generator Stable Diffusion over this very issue, alleging the platform unlawfully scraped millions of images from its site. It’s a similar notion that has been brought up with regards to NFT art and the ownership of its underlying IP.

Web3 and AI are also both condemned because of their dependence on mass quantities of computing power. Web3 relies on arduous processes like crypto mining, while generative AI can only improve through larger models and datasets. Both of these systems inevitably result in high carbon emissions.

Related: Why brands are cutting back on sustainability marketing

But whereas Web3’s footprint is largely public through its reliance on blockchains, that of AI can only be estimated, since centralized companies don’t have to reveal that information. This will be an important issue for sustainable advertising in 2023, said Mekanism’s MacDonald. 

As both Web3 and AI work to hash out their problems, brands will inevitably experience collateral damage in the form of a lack of brand safety. This, of course, is the double-edged sword of activating new technologies. But for marketers, the payoffs could very well outweigh the potential fallout. Deciding which payoffs are worth pursuing will be the next step in brands’ strategies.


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