The concept of artificial intelligence has inspired scientists, engineers, writers and the general public for quite a while now. In general, the broadest idea of AI is creating machines that would exhibit features as similar as possible to human intelligence. Naturally, the definition of what the scientists’ and engineers’ communities considered to be AI has changed over time with every new technological breakthrough.
Today, when we talk about AI we often think about concepts such as machine learning and deep learning. They come down to creating artificial neural networks that simulate the mechanisms of the human brain responsible for learning. A machine automatically modifies the original algorithm based on the feedback it gets, thus mimicking the learning process in humans. The limits and capabilities of this technology are still not fully understood, but we’ve seen many important developments in this direction.
However, defining AI in a broader way, as any kind of human-like behaviour displayed by machines is still quite common today. In this sense, one of the common usages of AI in digital marketing entails taking advantage of virtual assistants and chatbots for this purpose. Nevertheless, the main application in digital campaigns at this point comes down to predicting customer behaviour and using this info to plan and execute concrete moves and strategies. This can be of huge help to marketers. Let’s see how all this works in more detail.
As it was just mentioned, a predominant way of applying AI in digital marketing involves accurate prediction of customers’ affinities and future actions. This is done through integration of a huge amount of data about customers, collected from a number of different sources. This has some very specific applications, like serving the ads that will be of particular user’s interest. In addition, it can also predict their behaviour on such a large scale that it may affect the way you set up your general marketing strategy and plan your future moves. It could even make an impact on your overall business strategy as well.
On the same token, AI can give a huge boost to the effectiveness of search ads, again thanks to the power to process and integrate a lot of data, and then use this data to make assumptions about users’ interests. AI-driven software can serve ads based on what they learned about users’ previous searches, as well as common patterns of search behaviour exhibited by a large number of other users. It relies on their feedback, updates algorithms accordingly and has the power to place the right ads in front of the right people at the right time.
The power of personalization
Both of the abovementioned benefits make use of the fact that providing a truly personalized experience to users can bring many good things to your advertising efforts. That’s exactly why digital marketing agencies rely a lot on the power of personalization to design largely customized campaigns, aiming at target groups that are quite narrow. You can employ this on your website as well, serving the right recommendations or banners, making them much more effective.
We could expect this whole personalization idea to even go a step further in the future. This means having real-time feedback from users and customers, who could even be able to ask the software everything they want to know about the company’s products and services. This would make digital marketing a two-way conversation instead of a traditional one-way advertising channel.
Evolution of SEO
Voice assistants and voice search are among the fastest-growing AI applications in everyday life. Namely, the volume of voice searches has increased 35-fold from 2008 to 2016. And they’re only getting bigger, as they’re predicted to amount for 50 per cent of all searches by the year of 2020. When it comes to their influence on digital marketing, agencies will have to modify their SEO strategies to conform to some of the new rules dictated by different aspects of voice search.
Namely, people usually use a much more natural language when conducting voice searches, compared to the traditional ones. This conversational approach makes them use more words and more specific queries, which means that SEO agencies will have to focus more on specific long-tail keywords.
Furthermore, 22% of voice searches are used to find local information. Hence putting phrases like “near me” in title tags and meta descriptions will become beneficial, as well as using words that contain names of landmarks near your shop. Finally, more changes will be caused by facts that users who perform voice searches often use questions, expect immediate results and tend to rate mobile-friendly websites much better.
Also, AI can change the SEO game in general, not just in the context of voice search. Namely, employing AI in creating the best possible search experience for users could change the vital ranking factors entirely. Google has introduced this technology a few years back with their RankBrain experiment. However, to this day humans still design the search engines’ algorithms, using factors we’re all more-less familiar with.
On the other hand, AI, which relies purely on direct feedback of users could change these factors for good. And that’s not the end of the story. They’ll be doing it in such a way that it will probably be very difficult to reverse the process and find out which exact factors they’re using. We still don’t know if the world of SEO is about to go in this direction, but if it does, it will definitely turn this industry upside down and put its future in question.
Talking to machines will become more and more natural in the forthcoming period. This means that, in addition to voice searches and voice assistants, digital marketers will look to make use of chatbots to improve their results as well. There are several ways chatbots can be employed for this purpose. They include displaying personalized advertisements while they put the users on hold, as well as collecting data about users and consumers talking to them.
Chatbot technology is still far from being at a satisfactory level. For instance, in 2017, Facebook announced they’ll be scaling down on chatbots since they were unable to independently fulfil as much as 70 per cent of user requests. However, in the future, they could be given an important role in digital marketing. They have a perfect opportunity to apply previous knowledge of the user and predict which product, service or discount they could be interested in. It’s easy to imagine that this sort of timely and appropriate offers could boost the sales substantially.
Of course, these are not the only possible applications of AI in digital marketing. Some others include AI-generated content, image recognition as well as using the predictive power of AI in other areas of digital marketing as well, such as email or social media marketing. In any event, we can expect less and less human interactions, and more confidence being put in machine intelligence. AI will likely be able to predict future marketing trends and adapt to them.
We’re still unsure as to how this will affect the jobs of human marketers and how it will change their role. It may be that they will stick to the more sophisticated tasks, such as making sure that actions AI takes are aligned with the brand’s desired image. Or maybe AI will be able to fulfil these sorts of assignments as well? It remains to be seen.