Going into 2021 and beyond, one clear trend in digital marketing is a rise in artificial intelligence. Once viewed with a certain degree of skepticism – can tasks like strategy and content creation really be automated? – more and more marketers are embracing AI.
In fact, according to a study by trueNorth, 61% of marketers now say AI is the most important part of their digital strategy and 80% of business and tech leaders say AI boosts overall productivity. The positive perception of AI goes both ways – 97% of mobile users now use AI-powered voice assistants.
What changed? In short, there has been a lot of recent advancements in AI technology and machine learning. Technologies once thought of as possibly short-lived trends are now proving invaluable to digital marketing strategies. As their value becomes clearer and clearer, advancement will continue at a rapid pace. AI is taking off as both a viable solution for common bottlenecks and a powerful tool in its own right.
If you have not already incorporated artificial intelligence into your digital marketing strategy, now is the time to do so. The industry is growing at an unprecedented rate and the innovative tools AI provides can help you surpass your competitors.
What Is Artificial Intelligence?
The term is so ubiquitous these days – and applied to such a wide variety of tools – that it is often easy to forget its precise definition. Artificial intelligence is a vast umbrella term to describe how machines and computers can be taught to mimic human behavioral patterns. While AI is commonly thought of in terms of chatbots, it emcompasses a wide range of technologies.
Artificial intelligence is becoming more mature and advanced as we learn more about digital algorithms and machine learning. AI is now capable of everything from ideating content to assisting with advertising strategies and predicting consumer behavior.
AI is not a replacement for human intelligence, but it can be an invaluable assistant when used correctly. Marketers can glean insights from AI to automate processes, re-strategize their campaigns, and increase overall ROI.
Artificial Intelligence And Digital Marketing: What Are The Possibilities?
Artificial intelligence is often called “the future of digital marketing,” which is a bit of a misnomer – artificial intelligence is being used right now by major companies like Spotify, Google, and Apple to optimize their marketing campaigns. AI already has immense influence on digital marketing, and that influence is only expected to grow as new technologies emerge.
In recent years, new breakthroughs in AI technology have resulted in surprising new capabilities. Tasks we once assumed could not be automated can now be vastly improved upon with the assistance of AI.
Anyone who has worked in content marketing or digital media knows ideation itself takes as much mental energy as actual content creation. Paying close attention to trending stories, analyzing metrics like CTR, and so on are all important to ensuring your content reaches relevant audiences. Now, AI can potentially help creators identify what content can gain real traction.
In fact, The Washington Post has already successfully used AI to streamline their reporting processes. In 2017, The Washington Post created their own artificial intelligence technology called Heliograf to help report on both the Rio Olympics and various elections. Heliograf not only produced 850 articles on its own, it enabled reporters to better do their jobs. During election cycles, Heliograf was able to identify trending news stories and alert the newsroom about incoming election results. This allowed reporters to jump on trending topics ahead of the competition, breaking stories earlier than rival publications.
The success of Heliograf could have major implications for content marketing. Similar bots could be used to identify trending topics in any given industry, allowing marketers to find niche topics and predict trends. In the future, AI may even be able to generate reports on content initiatives and write drafts based on specific variables.
This would take a lot of work off the content marketing team’s shoulders, allowing them to focus on creating compelling content rather than identifying trending topics and analyzing site metrics.
Machine Learning And Smart Bidding
Machine learning is an aspect of artificial intelligence that gives systems the ability to learn and improve from experience. They do not need to be explicitly programmed to do a task, but will pick up on it organically much like a person learns over time.
Suffice to say, machine learning has endless potential for the digital marketing world. Right now, smart bidding is becoming an increasingly popular type of machine learning technology. Smart bidding is a subset of automated bid strategies. It takes both contextual data and historical user behaviors into account to predict the likelihood of a conversion. Then, it increases bids automatically when a conversion is most likely to occur.
To put it in layman terms, smart bidding studies user behavior and uses what it learns to automate tasks like ad delivery and placement.
Smart bidding’s possibilities extend beyond automating tasks. Smart bidding provides invaluable insights about consumer behavior. This information can help your team strategize for future campaigns.
Smart bidding is a good example of how a combination of AI works best with a human touch. Machine learning automates ads based on what is working and what is not. This allows your team to pinpoint nuances like language, images, and so on that may impact conversions.
An Improvement In Chatbots
It is impossible to mention AI technology without mentioning chatbots. Chatbots – in their earliest forms – were almost a joke online given how their responses could be clunky and robotic. In recent years, however, chatbots have become increasingly sophisticated. Forbes even called chatbots a “gamechanger” for the digital marketing world.
Chatbots can now answer many questions quickly and efficiently and can put customers in contact with a real person when necessary. Smart chatbots can even use original responses generated in real-time, personalizing the experience and making customers feel heard. Automated systems – once a source of widespread consumer frustration – are now an appreciated perk for individuals visiting your website.
The ability to answer questions 24/7 puts you ahead of the competition. With more and more transactions taking place online, it’s easy for customers to move on to another website if their needs are not immediately met. Chatbots can help secure leads and transform them into conversions even when no one is working.
Predictive Analysis And Email Marketing
Another advancement that can largely be attributed to machine learning, AI technologies are now capable of collecting massive amounts of information at a rapid-fire pace. This information can be used to analyze and ultimately predict consumer behavior.
Programmers and data scientists are now being employed by marketing agencies as their skills have become invaluable to modern digital marketing. Rather than sit down and sift through swaths of information, you can automate analysis to see trends in consumer behavior.
For example, say customers who spend 5 minutes or more lingering on one of your product pages are 88% more likely to open a subsequent email. This gives you powerful insight to inform retargeting campaigns.
Email marketing specifically benefits from behavioral and predictive analytics. When you have reasonable predictions of who is most likely to convert, this helps you best allocate your resources. You can automate follow-up emails based on behaviors like staying on a certain page, clicking on a particular link, and so on.
Rather than sending out mass emails – most of which go unopened – you can create hyper-personalized messaging directed at those consumers most likely to make a purchase. This increases your overall ROI.
Artificial Intelligence: The Future Of Digital Marketing
Over the years, marketing in general has become more precise. The digital sphere as a whole has dramatically changed how we connect with consumers, allowing for more personalized interactions and specific targeting. Advances in artificial intelligence provide an exciting opportunity for digital marketing’s future.
Artificial intelligence allows you to make educated and frequently accurate guesses about consumer behavior. Smarter, more targeted ads can save your company money while increasing sales, bettering customer relationships, and creating sustainable long-term growth.
Ready to embrace AI? At LookinLA, we transform great companies into industry leaders with data-backed strategies. This includes identifying areas where AI technologies can automate tasks. Reach out here to learn more.