Artificial Intelligence or AI is what it is – artificial. A software that can learn from enormous amounts of data that it is fed. AI has been an ambiguous concept until recently, and no marketer wanted it to touch it with a bargepole, or make it a part of his digital marketing strategy or learn/ implement “AI marketing”.
2019 is seeing a paradigm shift in AI usage owing to clarity and capabilities that have been proven to work, and marketers are more than willing to incorporate it into their marketing strategies.
AI, as I can see, will keep evolving for the next 25 to 30 years. In this piece, let’s discuss the uses of AI in digital marketing to make it more relevant and effective – AI marketing. Before we get there, let us look at a couple of important facts.
- According to a MeMSQL survey on 1600+ marketers, it was found that over 61% wanted to incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning, as they will be the top data initiatives in 2019.
- Salesforce says that most marketers believe that the use of AI will grow over 53% in 2019, which is more than any other technology presently in use.
The internet has turned into a huge repository of information collected at an alarming rate through logins, behavioral trends, subscriptions lists, IP addresses, web crawls, and many other processes. This information when processed through an AI capable software, to make it more meaningful, to analyze, becomes very useful to all stakeholders including marketers.
The best example of such deployment is Google AdWords or Facebook Ads that deliver “relevant” ads to the sites you visit or on your Facebook page. That is AI in action, and for marketers, it is a giant leap forward since “relevance” results in more clicks and thus more bang for the buck, in addition to making the advertising process more effective.
The most potent weapons in the AI arsenal are deep learning, machine learning, and natural language processing. These weapons are a marketers dream when deployed for a focussed purpose.
Every marketer works with data or information about customers or prospects. When that information gets analyzed to create logical and usable inference through segmentation or lead scoring, it becomes highly useful. Now let’s take the dive into those winsome dozen AI applications that can help you market better.
Search has revolutionarily changed over the years and has slowly become a bigger challenge for marketers in terms of search engine optimization and how marketers create and market their content. This is the result of AI taking over, and most important deployments that have contributed this are Google’s RankBrain and voice search.
Prime examples of voice search are Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Home devices in addition to Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri. These have a simplified search where simply pressing a button and using your voice gives you desired results.
According to a Google blog, about 70% searches that Google Assistant handles are in conversational and natural language. People do not use keywords to search through voice as they do in a classic Google search.
This has become a huge challenge for SEO. Classic keywords and the long-tail ones go out of the window, and the use of conversational keywords has risen. So content now becomes a conversation instead of being monotonous, well-written or informative. Creating a balance between these factors is a huge challenge for content marketing.
2. Search Engine Marketing
As I had mentioned above, search engine marketing is probably the most benefitted by the use of AI technology. Digital advertising has come a long way in predicting and delivering relevant advertisements to users on both, the Google AdWords platforms as well as Facebook Ads.
Data collected from search [Google] and interests [Facebook] and a combination of both is processed through AI for demographic as well as personalized information collected over time, analyzed and used in a focussed manner to deliver those advertisements. In fact, today there are many third-party AI platforms like AdText that are evolving to serve the purpose more effectively.
Across the globe, major brands and websites have begun to converse with visitors and customers through third-party apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Slack. The delivery of messages and replies becomes faster instead of waiting on phone-calls.
Today, many websites have followed suit and offer Chatbots on their website frontend to understand and process visitor queries. These Chatbots are AI-powered and most of them are capable of understanding and responding to open questions asked in vocal language.
Chatbots comes with some major advantages – saves on human time, they are available 24/7 and retain data. Another great advantage is that they can handle multiple queries at the same time, so a customer or visitor need not wait on an IVR forever.
One of the best examples of Chatbot implementation is Sephora. It uses a beautiful Chatbot to offer excellent cosmetic products, based on some great beauty advice. With the Sephora Visual Artist, one can test cosmetics like eye-shadows and lipsticks. It is capable of identifying facial features and uses augmented reality technology [AR] to apply the chosen product on a user’s photograph. This Chatbot actually mimics a sales representative. It cannot get any better, can it?
Chatbots are self-learning tools that are not expensive to create.
4. Creating and Generating Content
Yes, creating content is no more a challenge, of course, none of the AI tools are perfect enough to do that. Human intervention and editing is inevitable.
An AI cannot write about politics or happening news or even a blog post. However, it is capable of creating content useful for a website. No wonder then Forbes, Associated Press and other brands like The New York Times, CBS, BBC, Washington Post, and Reuters is making the most of its limited capabilities. They mostly put it to use to create and write reports using available data.
If you follow the Washington Post, you will find hundreds of articles in there are credited with Heliograf – an artificial intelligence technology, used by them.
5. Content Curation
AI may not be able to generate content perfectly, but it can curate it accurately to show relevant content to visitors and customers.
Content curation using AI is normally used for personalized content recommendations. A typical example is “people who buy X also buy Y,” as we consistently see on Amazon. Another fantastic example is the Netflix recommendation system that suggests movies and TV shows that could interest you.
You can see that both the recommendation engines are pretty accurate.
6. Email Marketing
Personalization is the key to email marketing. And by personalization, I do not mean something as primitive as mail-merge to change names, addresses or greetings, it is at a much deeper level and helps establish the right connect with a customer or visitor.
This also involves machine learning technology that analyses tonnes of data and concludes the right date and time to deliver the email, the frequency of emails that a recipient prefers the kind of content that he/she likes the most.
Implementing AI into email marketing can get you more clicks and thus more business.
7. User Experience
UX or User Experience is one of the most sought after factors for conversions through a website. AI empowers marketers to personalize website experience. Of course, this involves insights into terabytes of data that may include devices, location, demographics, interactions, etc. The end product or UX can be customized according to the results.
A good UX results in repeated visits to the site and improves the chances of conversion. For example, Chatbots are a great medium to enhance UX and interact with the visitor.
8. Web Design
Web design no more depends on the programmers or a designer. Today, you can design and deploy a wonderful website using tools like Grid. It uses AI to create a website in no time using inputs like text, CTA’s and images. This actually saves on price, time as well as resources. If you are looking to migrate to the cloud or have not already embraced cloud computing, you may have to positively think towards putting your website on a cloud hosting platform for best performance.
9. Speech recognition
AI-powered, voice-activated devices are flooding the markets all around us. And, these are a challenge for marketers because these devices understand most dialects and are very accurate, and it is overtly difficult to get into voice-activated search results.
AI-powered natural language processing algorithms have grown to be over 95% accurate and Baidu claims an accuracy rate of 97%. Using AI, these devices today, are able to interpret requests correctly and provide the required information with accuracy.
10. Audience Segmentation
As we spoke about personalization above, the need to segment the market data is of prime importance before applying AI to it. The more granular the segmentation, the better the personalization and marketers have to realize that this seemingly unimportant task until now, has taken the front seat to get better results from their efforts.
In fact, AI is also adept at segmentation and targeting, if you can set your standards accurately and apply them to the AI. Deeper the standards, better will be your segmentation. Complex segmentation also involves AI at the level of sentiment analysis to create buyer personas.
People are changing, so is your competition, which means, sticking to static segmentation is not going to work anymore. Dynamic segmentation involves AI and behavioral analysis becomes critical to better segmentation.
Let us say, I at 50, want to buy a gift for a 7-year-old, a static segmentation may not be the right choice, while a dynamic one will put me in the right segment depending on real-time data and behavioral analysis. Better segmentation results in better targeting and the results are obvious.
11. Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality or AR is an outcome of computer vision which a process of programming computers to ‘see’. And the computer would collect and process the videos and digital images that it captures from the process.
Absolutely perfect computer vision programming involves huge data sets of data processed through machine learning. This results in training a machine, robot or a computer to identify or recognize objects.
Accuracy of computer vision is critical to developing a good AR and its applications in marketing. AR is a layer over computer vision and is highly dependent on it for AR to work effectively.
For marketers, this empowers them with AR advertising that can integrate with the target’s environment without being intrusive. AR can open up new avenues of marketing like offers, product insights, shopping, etc. in a highly effective and powerful manner.
AR is already being used by a few furniture, beauty, and home improvement businesses like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ikea, L’Oreal, Sephora (as discussed above in Chatbots ), Estee Lauder, Lenskart, etc.
12. Predictive Analysis
Predictive analysis is the use of statistical algorithms and machine learning over huge data sets of data to predict future conclusions and the probability of buying or selling.
There are innumerable uses for predictive analysis and resulting models as you can see. However, in the case of marketing, predictive models can be used to determine if a specific visitor will convert or not, or how many visits will it take for him to convert, etc.
The criticality of predictive analysis is that it highly dependent on the data you feed it. Like most marketers who have tons of outdated data, will not be able to make proper use of predictive analysis. The probable mistakes in your data or the data that is no good for the present market will give you useless models.
The best marketing example of predictive analysis is the way you rank or lead-score your prospects. A predictive analysis applied to such data can give you insights like who could be a “qualified client”. Acting on such information becomes much easier for sales with focussed priorities.
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AI Marketing is where the future is. The benefits of better decision making have always been valuable learning for all of us marketers. AI helps you make better decisions about your digital marketing strategy. Choosing a modernistic, AI integrated digital marketing agency is the best way ahead for your business instead of replacing teams to learn any new marketing initiatives.
In the posts that follow, we will look at how AI-based marketing can help your efforts in SEO, SEM, SMM, and other areas, individually.
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