Exploring Meta’s AI Endeavours: From Personas to Advantage+ & More

Meta's main source of revenue is advertising, and its straightforward integration of AI across its apps positions it well to capitalise on AI
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Meta is gearing up to unveil a fleet of AI-powered chatbots that are about to add a sprinkle of innovation to your social media experience. These chatbots, set to grace platforms like Instagram and Facebook in the coming months, are primed to bring a fresh twist to online interactions and engagements. With this, Meta aims to make your time on these social media channels much more engaging and interactive, steering away from the dull and mundane experience.

These AI-driven companions are not just any ordinary chatbots but are equipped with distinct personalities that will leave an indelible mark on your conversations. For instance, imagine getting travel advice from a surfer-dude-style persona or engaging in a dialogue with a chatbot channeling the wisdom and wit of Abraham Lincoln himself. It’s all part of Meta’s plan to create digital buddies that feel a little more human.

According to reports, these chatbots, being referred to as “personas” within Meta, are all set to make their grand entrance into the social media scene this September. “Over the longer term, we’ll focus on developing AI personas that can help people in a variety of ways,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.

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Instagram is also testing a new feature to label AI-generated content, aiming to increase transparency. Screenshots shared on X microblogging platform by Alessandro Paluzzi reveal that Instagram will flag AI-created text, images, and videos. It’s uncertain if the label will only apply to content produced using built-in AI tools or if it can identify all AI-generated content.

The feature could be based on Meta’s Llama 2, an open-source AI model. This move is intended to make it clear when content has been generated by AI on the platform. Meta, along with seven other tech companies, pledged to watermark AI content, and looks like its research work on this is coming through.

This initiative follows Meta’s launch of Threads, a Twitter rival app that made quite a splash but faced a rather dramatic drop in users shortly after its much-anticipated release. However, despite the challenges, Meta has been raking in profits like a pro. 

Advertising & Meta is all for it

Meta’s main source of revenue is advertising, and its straightforward integration of AI across its apps positions it well to capitalise on AI. Additionally, their advertising game has been strong, boasting a 34% increase in ad impressions across their suite of apps during the second quarter of 2023. But here’s the twist – the average price per ad has actually taken a 16% dip during the same period. Change is afoot, and Meta seems to be playing it smart.

Meta’s cooking up some new ad tools to give advertisers a boost with the help of AI. ​​The company’s AI Sandbox project, being tested with a small group of advertisers, introduces features like Text Variation, which generates multiple ad text variations to optimize performance. Background Generation creates product image backgrounds from text inputs, and Image Outcropping adjusts visuals to fit different formats like Stories or Reels.

These tools aim to provide advertisers with more creative options and complement existing processes, utilizing the power of generative AI while offering more choices to consider. However, caution is needed as there can be limitations and occasional errors in the generated content.

Meta is also expanding its Advantage+ targeting for advertisers, adding new options to reach target audiences more effectively. Advertisers will soon be able to switch between manual and Advantage+ campaigns with a single click, and Catalog Ads for Advantage+ campaigns will support video elements. A Performance Comparisons report will provide insights into manual vs Advantage+ campaign performance, and additional manual inputs will guide the system for better audience targeting.

Meta is leveraging larger and more complex AI models within its ad system, enabling optimisation across different surfaces (Feed, Story, Explore, and Reels), resulting in improved conversions and ad quality. 

Beyond just upping the engagement game, these AI-powered pals have an additional trick up their sleeves – data collection. As you engage in conversations with these chatty companions, they’re silently gathering insights into your interests. This treasure trove of information could then be put to use by Meta to tailor content and ads to fit your preferences, creating a more personalised digital experience.

With all the talk about personas and engagement, let’s not forget the financial front. Meta’s Q2 2023 results have been nothing short of impressive. They’ve notched up a revenue of nearly $32 billion, a cool 11% jump from the same period last year. While expenses have climbed, operational income has also shown a steady rise of 12%, reaching around $9.4 billion. And let’s not forget about the net income that’s shot up by a whopping 16%. But it’s not just about the numbers; it’s about vision. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO, has his sights set on the horizon, with exciting projects lined up, from Threads to Reels and much more.

As the digital realm evolves, Meta is harnessing the power of AI to bring a little more spark into your social media experience. These AI companions are set to reshape how we interact online, adding a dash of personality to our virtual conversations. 

However, it’s interesting how Twitter’s all about getting rid of those pesky bots that clutter up the platform. They want a cleaner space for everyone to chat and share—or so they claim. Zuckerberg’s got his eye on  bringing in some bots for ads on his platforms. Meanwhile, Sam Altman has a cool plan afoot. He wants to tell real humans from those tricky bots using his Worldcoin orb. So, it’s like a bot banishing act versus a bot-friendly vibe, with Altman trying to sort them all out in the mix!

Shyam Nandan Upadhyay
Shyam is a tech journalist with expertise in policy and politics, and exhibits a fervent interest in scrutinising the convergence of AI and analytics in society. In his leisure time, he indulges in anime binges and mountain hikes.

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