2 min read

Will ChatGPT Become an Ad Platform?

Earlier this week, ChatGPT had its first significant privacy failure.

A ChatGPT glitch allowed some users to see the titles of other users' conversations, the artificial intelligence chatbot's boss has said. On social media sites Reddit and Twitter, users had shared images of chat histories that they said were not theirs.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said the company feels "awful", but the "significant" error had now been fixed. But the error has drawn concern from users who fear their private information could be released through the tool.

The company's privacy policy does say that user data, such as prompts and responses, may be used to continue training the model. But that data is only used after personally identifiable information has been removed.

The pace of new product updates and releases has many concerned missteps like these could be harmful or have unintended consequences. – BBC

Glitch-aside, I’m not a big fan of the current ChatGPT conversation history feature. It can be useful for rediscovery of older prompt methods that may have worked particularly well. But it’s not that navigable.

What this news made me realize, though, is that our chat history with ChatGPT is nearly as revealing as our browser history.

We know that Internet Advertising 101 is all about understanding the intent of the user. What are they trying to get out of this search term? Are they looking for more information? Are they ready to purchase? Or are they just browsing? Once the platform understands its users’ intent, then they can connect advertisers whose value proposition fits this intent.

Although our behaviors with ChatGPT are not as clearly connected to commerce and products as browsing posts on Instagram, for example. Still, I believe there’s a future where ChatGPT convo history becomes the new Internet cookie of sorts. All of our back-and-forth requests with AI will be used to inform advertisers about who we are and what we’re looking for help with.

ChatGPT as an Ad Platform is a really interesting thought experiment. What type of data about our interests, intent, and needs can be collected from our prompts with ChatGPT? How would advertisements show up on a text-centric interface? What type of products might bode well advertising here?

I wouldn’t bet money that this is the business model OpenAI envisions for their ChatGPT app. Perhaps the free version will eventually get ads. But we also know that ChatGPT is just the interim interface we’re using now until multi-modal LLMs change the human-AI interaction dynamic.

Future iterations won’t just be a chatbot-like interface. They will be multimedia. And with more visuals, advertisers will more naturally fit the platform.