Digiday+ Research: Agencies embrace generative AI – 71% are already using it

This research is based on unique data collected from our proprietary audience of publisher, agency, brand and tech insiders. It’s available to Digiday+ members. More from the series →

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Generative artificial intelligence is a common term at this point, and ChatGPT is practically a household name. It’s no wonder, then, that, just as with publishers, the technology and how to incorporate it into workflows is a hot topic among marketers.

Digiday+ Research surveyed nearly 90 agency and brand professionals and found out that agencies who aren’t already using generative AI are in the vast minority. But it’s a very different story for brands — fewer than half are sold on using the technology just yet.

Digiday’s survey found that marketers as a whole are embracing generative AI technology. Nearly two-thirds of buy side pros (62%) said their companies have already found ways to incorporate generative AI into their workflow. (Only 39% of buy side pros said they’re not yet using generative AI).

Digging deeper into the buy side, Digiday’s survey found that agencies are taking generative AI and running with it. Nearly three-quarters of agency pros (71%) told Digiday that their companies are already using generative AI technology like ChatGPT — clearly making this group early adopters of the technology. Only 29% said their companies are not yet utilizing generative AI.

On the other hand, brands have been much slower to explore the potential of generative AI. Fewer than half of brand pros (44%) told Digiday that their companies are currently using generative AI technology, while 56% said they’re not using the technology just yet.

When it comes to how exactly 71% of agencies are using generative AI, Digiday’s survey found that agencies’ use of the technology spans healthily across several functions.

About three-quarters of agency pros said they’re using generative AI for writing copy (75%) and research (73%). And nearly two-thirds (65%) said they’ve incorporated the technology into their content creation (outside of video and audio). Half of agencies are using generative AI for marketing purposes.

A quarter of agency pros (25%) said they’re using generative AI for data management, and 18% said they’re using generative AI for video and audio work — leaving lots of room for the technology to grow in these areas.

Only 5% of agency pros said their use of generative AI falls outside of Digiday’s list. But the “other” things they said they’re using generative AI for are related to creative strategy and creating summaries.

Because brands’ use of generative AI isn’t yet widespread, Digiday’s survey responses to how those brands who are using generative AI are utilizing the technology were on the low side. But it is worth noting that brand marketers are finding ways to use generative AI in similar ways to their agency counterparts.

Among brand pros who are using generative AI, writing copy was the most popular use of the technology (just as with agencies), followed by research and content creation.

As part of Digiday’s research series on emerging technologies, Marty Swant, Digiday’s senior reporter for marketing and technology, and Li Lu, Digiday Media’s research director, held a virtual presentation on the state of AI in marketing. Dig deeper into generative AI’s role for agencies and brands by watching part one and part two of the presentation.


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