Artificial Intelligence (AI) is gradually unleashing a trail of revolutionary waves in business. Because of being endowed with never-before capabilities to derive efficiency, AI is steadily emerging as a potential game-changer for many business spheres.
Owing to its ability to react rationally—as if humans would do, AI has been bringing in more and more efficiency in many facets of business operations, and Digital Marketing is no exception. In fact, AI and Digital Marketing have already begun to move hand-in-hand.
Saving time and resources, AI is expected to unleash several never before attributes to efficiently and effectively conduct Digital Marketing campaigns to derive higher Returns on Investment through better decisions.
But, before proceeding further along with this blog, we find it worthwhile to make it amply clear that AI has not arrived on the business scene to replace jobs of marketers or advertisers; but it is here to unleash their true creative potential.
However, to leverage the true potential of AI, these professionals must train themselves to adapt to the AI environment.
What is AI?
It is pretty clear that no amount of discourse on the broad spectrum of benefits AI entails for Digital Marketing will be helpful if in any case, the reader is yet to know what AI itself actually is. In simple terms, AI is analogous to teaching machines how to think and react as humans would.
Similar to the imitation of how the human brain works, AI empowers machines to execute tasks rationally. One can also think of AI as implanting into machines the abilities to think, respond and perform tasks like humans. Also, AI-powered machines can learn from experience and adjust to new input.
AI is increasingly becoming popular across industries due to:
- Increasing efficiency in business operations by bringing in higher precision and accuracy apart from fewer errors
- Generation of valuable business insights through deeper data analysis
- The capability of functioning in various devices—GPS Trackers, Voice Assistants, Home Automation Systems etc—with smart algorithms
- Adaption to new data inputs through progressive learning algorithms
With exceptional capabilities to empower businesses through the collection and human-like interpretation of data—and also learning from the data, AI is revolutionizing many aspects of businesses, enhancing efficiency and cutting time and resources. Demand for AI has been growing substantially across several industries—agriculture, automobile, healthcare, manufacturing, banking, insurance etc.
AI and Digital Marketing
Not long ago, marketers were afraid to incorporate AI in their digital marketing strategies. But, the situation has been reversing gradually with the subtle benefits of AI coming to the fore. Of late, they have gained a lot more confidence in view of the benefits that could be derived out of AI.
In a recent survey on 1,600 marketing professionals, 61% of them said that AI will be the most important data initiative in the coming years. In another survey by Salesforce, 51% of the marketers covered under the survey revealed that they were already using AI, and 27% of them considered incorporating AI in their strategy in the near future.
AI tools are evolving more and more and speculations are rife that a day might come when AI capabilities will be able to surpass human abilities.
With the astounding capabilities of collecting, analyzing and appropriately applying business data, AI is transforming Digital Marketing strategy in many notable ways, increasing productivity for the marketers by saving money, time and energy.
Also endowed with the distinct ability to be capable of learning from the data, AI is slowly taking over the human role of predicting future market trends through data-driven analysis—empowering marketers to react proactively to the changing market.
A glaring case in point of the recent usage of AI in Digital Marketing is by none other than Amazon, which uses AI to show only the relevant products to specific website visitors—and that is based on the history of previous purchases, searches and views.
And the spontaneous question that arises in this regard is: how personalizing user experience benefits Amazon? The answer is pretty clear: that increases the likelihood of the shopper making an initial purchase or becoming a repeat customer.
AI-based Digital Marketing strategies can transform the way in which marketers communicate with their audience. Given the specialized capabilities of AI, its application in Digital Marketing can help in driving relevant traffic, new customer acquisition, increase sales and retain existing customers.
So, let us carefully examine the range of benefits and options offered by AI, and analyze how those can fit into Digital Marketing strategies.
Creating and Generating Content
Can a machine write? At first, it seems not. Although AI tools hitherto cannot write on their own, such as a political opinion for a newspaper or a blog post, yet there are areas in which AI can generate contents based on data and information, helping to attract visitors to your website.
In this way, you save a lot of time and resources. Globally acclaimed media companies, Associated Press and Forbes, use intelligent tools, like Wordsmith, Articoolo and Quill, to create news, which also results in enhancing clicks on their websites.
AI can create unique content, giving the impression as if a human wrote it, with the help of templates and fill-in-the-blanks, wherein you can enter keywords and data. Another classic example is the Washington Post, which publishes numerous articles written by the AI tool, Heliograf.
By now, the capability of AI to generate content is clear; then what is the next? It is the curation of content– or showing visitor specific personalized content, recommending options that visitors may find interesting, such as “Customers who bought this also viewed” in every product page in Amazon.
But how does it help in Digital Marketing? Simple, your website will attract more visitors, enabling you to better connect with them to sell your services. An example will make things clearer. Suppose you have a news website; if you show the visitors articles that are more relevant to them—based on the individual history of the categories of news they already read on your website– they are likely to spend more time on your website.
Many brands have now started embarking upon personalized email marketing campaigns, based on preferences and user behaviours—leveraging the power of AI. Personalized email marketing involves sending out relevant emails to customers’ inboxes with subject lines, product recommendations and messaging—all customized on the basis of customer’s behaviour.
In this way, AI can enable reaching the right customers and that too in the right time, enhancing the likelihood of conversion. Implementing smart Machine Learning algorithms, AI tools can analyze millions of data about the consumer and based upon which critical information, such as the best times and days of the week to contact the user, the contents that catch their attention the most, the email subjects generating more clicks and so on.
It is well-known that AI has already transformed the Digital Advertising space. And many organizations now actively use AI to run their Digital Advertisement campaigns. AI is implemented across online platforms, such as Facebook, Google and Instagram, to analyze users’ information—such as gender, age, interests, demographics etc.—to show them the most relevant advertisements, and that apparently increases the likelihood of generating sales.
Research has shown that the global digital advertisement spends stood at USD 273.29 billion in 2018, and the expenditure is expected to increase substantially in the future. AI can help marketers to make strategic decisions about where to allocate their budget and whom to target by enabling them to spot micro-trends and predict future trends. They can thus ensure that their spends on Digital Advertising deliver the best possible results.
Two AI-based innovations–Voice Search and Google’s algorithm, RankBrain—have already brought in a tremendous revolution in internet searches and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Voice Search does away with the usage of the typical keywords you would type in a classical Google search and enables usage of conversational language, easing the online search.
Google has already acknowledged in its blog that around 70% of the searches Google Assistant receives are in plain, natural and conversational language, free of keywords.
While conducting online searches through voice, marketers need to orient their verbal contents in a way that a user would verbally express themselves, without the involvement of any keywords. Any brand, which can leverage the benefits of Voice Search will truly see a substantial increase in organic traffic.
RankBrain, Google’s AI-powered algorithm, delivers more relevant internet search results, interpreting user’s voice search language and context.
Chatbots, the typical cases of AI usage, act as virtual assistants for consumers. Adding Chatbots to your websites, emails and apps, you can communicate with your existing as well as would-be customers in better ways. Using Chatbots, you can reach many customers and prospects and respond to their queries.
Chatbots are capable of answering the most common questions your customers might have. And engaging in human-like conversations, Chatbots also improve customer experiences. Furthermore, Chatbots are making the process of automating responses for the queries of potential buyers even more easy by providing them with a way to search for the product or service they are looking for.
The functionality, of finding the correct response to user’ queries by Chatbots, is implemented by using Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning techniques.
Sephora, a French beauty product company, demonstrates a good example of using Chatbots to communicate with potential customers. Its Chatbot gives beauty advice to the users and recommends to them products in accordance to their needs.
So, Chatbots behave like some kind of sales representatives for your business. AI has amazing power, is not it?
Pro-action rather than reaction apparently helps in marketing. And to be proactive to the imminent change, one needs to get some idea of the possible future trend. In this context, the role of Predictive Analysis comes to the fore.
The analysis of data, using statistical algorithms and Machine Learning techniques to predict the future scenario based on historical data is called Predictive Analysis. Used in several areas of business, including Digital Marketing, predictive models make it possible to forecast stuff, such as the possibility of a specific prospect becoming a customer, the quoted price necessary to make a conversion, or which customers are likely to make more than multiple purchases.
Ranking of Prospects or Lead Scoring is a typical example of the application of AI in Digital Marketing. The generated models can be trained to segregate prospects or leads based on pre-defined criteria as possible purchasers, which could be followed up by the sales team.
In this way, the sales team will not waste any time on chasing leads that will never convert. Implementing AI in Digital Marketing will not only result in increasing sales but also considerable saving of time and resources.
AI has the capability of taking out the entire toll involved in website design. For example, the AI-powered website design platform—The Grid—can design a website based on the user data and the manner in which they interact with your content.
That means, there is no need for the brands to deploy a design team, and the only thing that needs to be worked upon is the content. There are other similar AI-powered website design platforms, such as FireDrop and Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI).
However, these AI-based website builders are still in their early years, you can expect them to gain sophistication in the coming years. According to speculations, these website builders are the future of Digital Marketing.
AI can be a game-changer for digital marketers by enabling them to create personalized contents for users and at the same time, avoiding wastage of time and resources. The success of any Digital Marketing strategy lies in the creation of great customer experience, which could be attained if relevant content could be sent to the user.
When the content is tailored and appealing, the user tends to spend more time on the page. And driven by interest, they are likely to convert and also might become recurring customers. This way, brand loyalty can also be achieved.
With the ability to collect data and decide which content is applicable for specific users, based on historical data and past behaviour, AI gives the impression that the brand was built specifically for them.