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AI is Transforming Small Business Marketing: How to Use it Right Now

 iStock’s New Research Offers Guidance on the Effective Use of AI-Generated Images

  • Transparency Matters: Nearly 87% of British consumers want to know if an image was created with AI. 
  • Social Media Trust Crisis: 73% of those surveyed distrust social media, highlighting the challenge for small businesses to connect.
  • Authenticity is Key: 97% agree that that “authentic” images or videos are crucial for building trust.  

iStock, a leading e-commerce platform offering images, videos, and illustrations to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and enterprises (SMEs), today unveiled new data-backed tips to help businesses of all sizes navigate the use of generative-AI in marketing to customers. 

iStock’s VisualGPS insights platform has released a new study which captured the sentiment of over 30,000adults in 25 countries to understand the impact for small businesses of using generative AI visuals in their marketing. A key finding is that people expect transparency, with nearly 87% of British respondents saying they want to know whether an image has been created using AI.

The research also revealed a significant trust gap in social media, with 73% of Brits expressing distrust in social media content. For small businesses, this distrust presents a challenge: how to connect authentically with their audience in an environment rife with skepticism.

Note: Global Stats

“Businesses across all industries are grappling with the integration of generative AI into their creative workflow and it’s crucial for businesses to understand both the risks and rewards here”, said Dr. Rebecca Swift, Getty Images’ Global Head of Creative Content at iStock. “Our VisualGPS insights provide small businesses with a clear understanding of consumer expectations around AI generated visual content, empowering them to confidently incorporate these tools into their marketing strategies and drive meaningful customer engagement.”

iStock’s visual content experts have identified several crucial questions that business owners should consider when incorporating AI-generated images into their marketing: 

Are AI-generated images the right assets for this project?

Consider the type of imagery (AI-generated, user generated content, stock), including the format (image or video) that best aligns with your audience, message, and goals. VisualGPS revealed, 97% of consumers agree that ‘authentic’ images and videos are pivotal in establishing trust, indicating that where building trust is the key aim, user generated content or stock content may perform better to engage your audience. 

Will AI-generated images help my business stand out?

Human creativity, when applied to prompting AI images and visual concepts, can result in endless possibilities, getting you to the image you want faster. However, high-quality images or videos crafted by expert creators may answer your content needs and save you time and money.  AI technology can also  modify existing stock imagery by adding, replacing or removing any elements to further customize the image for your project. 

When should I label AI-generated imagery?

Transparency is key, especially if authenticity is a key part of your online strategy. Use images and videos showing real people in real places to connect with your audience. Clearly label AI-generated content to avoid your audience feeling misled.

Are AI-generated images legally safe for marketing materials?

Ensure that the AI image generation tools you do use do not produce images with legally protected elements that could pose a risk to your business. Opt for commercially safe AI image generators that offer legal indemnification, such as Generative AI by iStock, to ensure your marketing materials are safe and cleared for commercial use. 

To find relevant images and videos, or a commercially-safe and legally indemnified AI image generator visit: https://www.istockphoto.com/ 

Picture Credit: iStock/Vizerskaya

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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