If you have been tracking the news recently then it is almost certain that you have come across the term Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is a disruptive technology that is revolutionising digital marketing and is also having a major impact on various aspects of our lives. The first signs of the impact of AI are already in front of us, and it is going to increase significantly going forward.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Before we discuss the impact that AI will have on digital marketing let us understand what it actually is.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the term referred to the intelligence demonstrated by machines. It is called ‘artificial’ since machines need to analyze large chunks of data to become intelligent, as compared to the process of observation through which living beings learn.
Machines try to find out some trends and patterns from large volumes of data that are either fed into them manually or collected from online sources like the browsing behaviour, search patterns demographics and interests of users. Thereafter they come up with solutions to various problems and even provide recommendations for improving the existing systems. In this way, Artificial Intelligence gives the machines the ability to think and do things independently just like human beings do.
Artificial Intelligence is powered by data
As mentioned earlier, the key input that machines need to become intelligent is data. Analysis of more data leads to the generation of more trends, patterns and insights. This results in Machine Learning, the outcome of which is the machines acquiring Artificial Intelligence.
The good news is that there is never a dearth of data when it comes to digital marketing. In fact, the volume of data that is generated through digital marketing is increasing by leaps and bounds on a daily basis.
On one hand, new companies are embracing digital marketing and the existing ones are also increasing their online footprints rapidly. On the other hand, with the internet coming within the reach of a large part of the world’s population, there is more data available than ever regarding their search patterns and online browsing behaviour.
The volume of data that is being generated now is humongous and much more than what we used to see even a few years back. With their processing powers also increasing rapidly, the computers are gathering and analyzing information at a much faster pace now. This is resulting in faster machine learning and better and improved AI.
How is Artificial Intelligence impacting digital marketing?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a disruptive technology which is bringing about rapid development in the way digital marketing is done. Very soon digital marketers will not have to analyse huge volumes of complex data by themselves to create digital strategies and campaigns. AI will make things much simpler for them.
The machines will automatically analyse large volumes of data and give them solid recommendations based on the findings. As a result of this, the digital marketers will be able to focus on the qualitative aspects of digital marketing, make data-backed decisions and will also be able to spend more time on generating better ROI from the marketing campaigns.
Here are some of the ways in which AI is shaping digital marketing:
1. Better search results:
Way back in 2015, Google introduced its AI-powered RankBrain algorithm. This move radically changed the way in which the search results are generated, and also changed the process of Search Engine Optimization forever.
With the humongous volume of search data at its disposal, Google can use Artificial Intelligence to clearly understand and interpret the intention behind every search query. It can analyse the users past search patterns and browsing behaviours of the user to understand the exact question or problem that the user has. This will enable it to show more relevant results and the users will also get the answers that they are looking for in the least possible time.
Companies can no longer occupy a particular rank on the search engine result pages for a particular keyword. RankBrain has made the SERPs very dynamic by showing AI-powered results that will benefit the user the most.
Hence the results that you will see when you search for a particular keyword might be very different from what another user will see when he or she searches for the same keyword.
Let’s take an example:
A search for “digital marketing courses” yields two completely different sets of results on Google. (The searches were done in the same location from two different computers, at the same time. Both the users were logged into their Chrome browsers while searching).
Search results for User 1
Search results for User 2
RankBrain has also given Google the ability to provide direct answers to the questions being asked by users instead of just showing them a list of websites from where they could get the answer. RankBrain is pretty accurate and all the answers that are generated are powered by Artificial Intelligence.
Again, let’s take an example. We tried Google the date when the movie “Avengers Infinity War 2” will be released. Here is the answer we got:
Pretty smart, isn’t it?
The best way to take advantage of this versatility of RankBrain for your digital marketing activities is to create content on your website which focuses on your products and services. This will give RankBrain more material to learn from and the likelihood that Google will then drive traffic to your website based on new keywords will also increase.
2. Better user experience:
AI will enable you to understand the behavior of the visitors to your website in a better way. This will enable you to visualize the buyer’s journey more accurately and create better funnels for improving sales.
AI will have the power to give you customized recommendations to improve your website as well. All this will lead to the better user experience. All of these will enable you to provide a better user experience on your website and make your digital marketing efforts more effective.
3. Better targeting:
One critical requirement for serving better quality ads to the right users is precise targeting. With the availability of AI, the browsing behavior, reaction to ads, past purchases, demographics, interests, etc. of the user can be used by the advertisers to serve the best quality ads to the users. AI also allows for better customer segmentation, which can make your targeting even more razor sharp.
Companies which have started using programmatic advertising will be able to take advantage of these. The users also can expect a much better online experience, since they will see the right ads which are aligned with their interests and needs. This powerful combination will give the advertisers significantly better returns on their investment in marketing.
Facebook has also started providing customized audiences which are created through Artificial Intelligence. One example is the Lookalike Audience, which is an automated list of customers who share characteristics and traits similar to your existing customers. By using Lookalike Audiences, you can reach out to many more customers who are likely to take the action that you want them to, thereby increasing your conversion rates.
4. Optimisation recommendations:
With the availability of AI, the days when you had to skim through large chunks of data to come up with meaningful insights regarding improving your marketing are a thing of the past. Many data analytics and advertisement companies have now started to provide these AI-powered insights to the marketers, thereby saving them all the time and effort that they would have spent in analyzing the data.
Take the example of the AI-powered recommendations that Google has started to provide for optimising AdWords campaigns. The AdWords platform analyses the past data of the ad campaigns which are running and then provides customized recommendations for improving the campaign structure, targeting, bidding, ad copies and also shows new keywords that can be included in the search campaigns. These recommendations are completely automated and powered by Artificial Intelligence.
Though the recommendations are not always 100% accurate at present, they are becoming better and more effective with the passage of time. Needless to say, most advertisers love these as they save them tons of time and effort in optimizing the ad campaigns.
5. Sharper digital strategies:
Artificial Intelligence can help companies to predict the future business and economic cycles with better accuracy, based on what has happened in the past. They can now use AI to predict the future demand and sales cycles of their products and services, and manage their production and plan other business activities accordingly.
This information will also enable the digital marketers to understand when they need to accelerate the marketing activities and when they should reduce it. This will enable them to create more focused and sharper digital marketing strategies which are more aligned towards the future business cycles that they expect.
Customers are one of the most important stakeholders of any company and it is important to stay in touch with them. Using Chatbots is a great way of doing that.
Chatbots stand for “Chat Robots” which are AI-powered chat modules that can be integrated into websites and social media pages. You can program these Chatbots with some predefined questions and answers, and also provide the logic based on which the Chatbot interact with the customers using these.
The Chatbots can automatically greet and engage with the visitors when they land up on your website or social media pages and also provide them with any information or solutions to the problems that they are facing. The best part is that these chats can happen without any manual intervention from your side.
Chatbots nowadays have become so intelligent and powerful that in many cases the customers do not even realize that they are actually interacting with a machine. Many leading companies have integrated Chatbots into their marketing strategy and they have reported stellar sales growth through these. Many other companies are successfully using Chatbots for providing customer service as well.
These are just a few ways in which digital marketing will gain from the use of Artificial Intelligence. As mentioned earlier this is a rapidly advancing field and we are sure that in the future there will be many more benefits that will come out of AI. One thing is for sure, Artificial Intelligence is here to stay. So catch the trend early if you want your digital marketing to become sharper, focused and more profitable.
Feel free to comment here about what you feel is going to be the impact of AI on digital marketing. Has your company started taking advantage of this disruptive technology? You can also contact us if you need any help in implementing AI-powered digital marketing techniques for your company.