Google’s foray into generative AI has led to significant changes in its advertising division, including replacing humans in ad sales jobs with AI systems.
Ars Technica reports that Google has been embracing its role as a generative AI company, motivated by the challenges posed by emerging AI competitors like ChatGPT. This strategic shift is not just about competing in the AI space but also about internal optimizations using AI capabilities. One significant area of impact is Google’s advertising division.
According to a report from the Information, Google’s advancements in AI might already be replacing human roles in its large customer sales unit. This unit, responsible for managing relationships with major advertisers, is seeing a consolidation of staff, which might include layoffs. The reason behind this is the automation capabilities of Google’s new AI tools.
In May, Google announced a “new era of AI-powered ads,” introducing a conversational AI experience within Google Ads. This AI is designed to streamline campaign creation and simplify search ads, autonomously generating keywords, headlines, descriptions, images, and other necessary assets. One of the key tools, Performance Max, received an AI upgrade post-announcement. It now aids in deciding the ad’s placement across platforms like YouTube, Search, Discover, Gmail, Maps, and third-party sites. Additionally, it can create ad content by scanning the advertiser’s website.
This AI-driven approach allows for dynamic ad adjustments based on real-time click-through rates, a task not possible for human advertisers due to its complexity and scale. The AI’s efficiency not only saves time but also significantly reduces operational costs, thus increasing the profit margin on ad revenues.
However, this shift towards AI-driven ad creation and management is leading to a reduction in the need for human intervention, particularly in roles that were once vital for designing and selling ads. As of a year ago, Google’s ad sales team comprised about 13,500 people, a significant portion of its 30,000-strong ad division. While not all these roles are at risk, and some employees might be reassigned within Google, there is an undeniable impact on the workforce due to AI integration.