A few years ago the idea of AI being integrated into marketing was almost unheard of. That is rapidly changing.
Recently, Salesforce did a survey, asking marketers about their relationship with AI. 78% of marketers are using AI (or plan to use AI) in 2019. Those are astounding numbers and they illustrate the growing role of AI in the world of digital marketing.
Here are some ways AI is transforming the world of digital marketing.
Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple all use artificial intelligence to process searches. Amazon’s Alexa can be used to turn off bedroom lights—yet it can also be used to do a Google search on local hamburger restaurants.
This matters for marketers because people talk differently than they type. And when people do different searches—even if they’re slightly different—then different results show up on Google. This gives marketers a whole new set of keywords to target; it’s a growth opportunity for digital marketers.
When AI first exploded on the digital marketing scene a few years ago, marketers were extremely excited about chatbots. Companies spend a pretty penny on customer service reps—so the potential for savings was huge.
However, chatbots didn’t gain a lot of momentum out of the gate—they were just too artificial, invidious, awkward, and stilted. They didn’t answer customer’s questions properly and they ended up frustrating people. A good chatbot is clever, shrewd, and anticipatory. Building something like that was just incredibly expensive a few years ago.
Fortunately, something good happened. Certain tools came out—tools like Wit.Ai that trained bots, giving them practice conversations that transformed their language and their interactions. Moreover, these bots use databases that allow them to learn from user interaction and become smarter and smarter.
It’s one of the most exciting things going on in the world of digital marketing.
YouTube is unfathomably popular—people watch 3.25 billion hours of content on the website each month. Many of these people have a Google account, so Google tracks all of the videos they watch.
One impressive element of YouTube is how they use AI to build a powerful recommendation engine. They know that most people who love Video A also love Video B. So, if you’ve seen Video A (and not Video B), then they’ll recommend Video B to you.
It’s powerful, and it’s a driving factor behind YouTube’s impressive growth over the last decade.
Of course, YouTube uses this technology to sell more valuable ads. If YouTube has a group of users that like a niche—say Korean-pop boy bands—then they can approach companies that sell Korean-pop boy band merchandise and tantalize them with ad space.
This isn’t new. However, what is new is the precision of the AI. This technology is getting smarter, shrewder, and more intelligent by the minute. That means more businesses are in play—more niches will be targeted by hyperfocused ads.
Content marketing had a rather slow start with AI—no one wants to read content that sounds like it was written by a computer. Even now, AI is nowhere near replacing professional writers. Companies have tried but that’s a tough nut to crack.
So many companies abandoned AI—at least when it came to replacing content marketing.
Yet, this wasn’t the right approach either. AI can’t replace a professional writer but it can certainly help with content marketing efforts—just ask Forbes, BBC, the Washington Post, CBS, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Associated Press. AI generates reports and news for these companies based on pre-entered data and information. Basically, this data and information are entered into templates and the resulting content (which doesn’t appear to be too long) reads as if it was written by a human.
There are two types of business—the ones that sell to consumers and the ones that sell to other businesses. The latter type is called B2B; these businesses are typically heavily reliant on finding solid leads.
Of course, leads are complicated—some are promising and others are applesauce. Many B2B companies use LinkedIn to find their leads and digital marketers find that many leads simply aren’t qualified at all.
Fortunately, AI software like LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps businesses find potential clients that are right for their business.
Improved Voice Search
The largest four players in the voice recognition industry are Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple. These companies are pioneering great developments in voice technology.
Just take a look at Microsoft, a company that’s breaking records in this space—their speech recognition systems only had an error rate of 5.1%. That’s the smallest error rate ever and it’s likely that record will soon be shattered. In short, companies are building more precise voice recognition systems and this is happening quickly.
Good voice recognition systems have wide-ranging effects on digital marketing. Many companies have apps and lots of these apps use voice recognition.
For example, look at Apple CarPlay. This is software that is heavily dependent on voice recognition. After all, it’s vital your hands are on the steering wheel as much as possible when you’re driving. While using Apple CarPlay, you can tell the app to play a certain music playlist from Spotify.
If that process goes smoothly, it will encourage you to use the Spotify App more—you may convert your trial into a full-time Spotify Premium membership.
Now, if the AI was dumb and didn’t recognize your voice half the time, you may have reservations about becoming a full-time Premium member. This is the reality: rock-solid voice search is making some apps more valuable to customers. There are many businesses that are taking advantage of these developments and using them to build more appealing apps.
The Future of AI
There was a time when many companies mothballed social media. That was a huge mistake—you can’t even imagine a digital marketing plan without social media these days. To add FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to their digital marketing plan is with most new companies the work of a moment.
It’s likely that analysts and marketers will say the same thing about AI—perhaps even sooner than you think.
Author: Benjamin Shepardson is the founder of NoStop Content. With an extensive career in digital marketing and web development, Ben’s knowledge of the industry has enabled small businesses to scale and grow through well-crafted content and strategy.