Whilst artificial intelligence (AI) is not necessarily new to digital marketing, it has only been in the last couple of years that we have started to see mass adoption. Traditional marketing teams have now gained enough confidence in AI producing the necessary results and appreciate how it can automate and reduce the cost of mundane jobs. AI is not there to replace digital marketing positions but instead to allow a more strategic outlook without doing the jobs that a machine can do.
AI is still a bit of a buzzword in some places and many businesses aren’t aware of the number of applications it can be used in. This article goes through some of those use cases that anyone can implement.
What is AI anyway?
In a digital marketing context, AI is a method of leveraging customer data to anticipate the next moves of your customer. As concepts of Big Data and machine learning (storage vast amounts of data and processing it quickly) have evolved, it is possible for digital marketers to get a clearer picture of their target audience than ever before. Whereas traditional marketing focused on past behaviour, AI driven digital marketing predicts the most likely next behaviour. This is how Google predicts our searches and Amazon recommends the products we might like.
There are several different ways that AI is already being used in the digital world.
Digital marketing has always been about creating great content and it is perhaps the most time-consuming jobs for teams. However, using AI this can be automated. Of course, AI still hasn’t quite got to the point where it can form its own opinion but using data, it can put the piece together and create copy just as a human would. The likes of Forbes, Washington Post and CBS are all using AI to automate the production of new stories, based upon facts.
Businesses tend to use a digital agency to create nice automated content strategies that they could’ve never done before Big Data tools existed. The digital agency will have the capability of scouring through millions of articles to pull together the most relevant content and be a valuable business asset.
Most businesses will do some sort of email marketing. Historically, digital marketing teams may have had a best guess at the day or time to reach their customers. Using data, their can target every customer at the exact time and day they are most likely to be engaged. For example, data could tell them that a customer always logs into Facebook at 8am every day making that the perfect time for advertising.
Previously, digital marketing might have gone through A/B testing trials to get personalisation right but with machine learning, the right communications will always go to the right people.
Social media platforms can advertise based specifically on the preferences of the users. Even everyday things like the fact that Google knows our location and finds nearby services are often taken for granted. Facebook and Instagram Ads are become far more targeted to every user, ensuring budgets are spent in the right places.
The way that consumers search is constantly changing. Whilst Google has long since had SEO and PPC algorithms in place, with the advent of voice command systems, digital marketing has a new channel to consider. The AI used for Alexa and Google Homes is smart enough to recognise the conversational part of language. This tends to be very different from how a user would type something into the search engine. Digital marketing teams need to adapt their content to be more conversational than ever before.
When visiting a website or mobile app, users want a personalised experience and AI can bring this to them. Consider a website selling holidays. There are so many different types of holiday and ways to purchase making it almost impossible for a standard design to appeal to everyone. Applying machine learning to website behaviour can ensure a unique experience. For example, if somebody is searching for skiing trips, show images of people in the snow. If the consumer doesn’t have a family, don’t offer family rooms at a hotel.
Consumers like to have choices made for them which is shown in the popularity of Spotify or Netflix recommendations and other industries are following suit.
Ultimately, digital marketing has now become about predicting behaviour rather than analysing what has happened in the past. Machine learning with tell you that if a consumer buys product A, they will prefer product C over product B. In doing this, digital marketing teams can achieve better conversion and engagement rates whilst reducing the cost of advertising.
Creating these processes isn’t always easy and businesses don’t have the specialised resource in existing teams. Many of them will use a digital agency to guide their strategy and provide support in design, data, technology and marketing. This holistic approach takes care of the marketing but also everything needed to make it work.
AI is the future
AI is changing digital marketing and it is important for businesses to move now and keep up with the competition. Some are put off as they simply don’t know where to start and therefore niche digital agencies are becoming popular in formulating a full strategy for AI deployment. Teams can focus on the insight and analysis rather than the time consuming and resource heavy jobs of the past.