The technology landscape has undergone vast changes since Siri started answering user questions and Tesla’s cars started driving themselves. Almost every industry feels the impact of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution. In the year ahead, the relationship between AI and marketing will continue to strengthen. Marketers may use AI for greater personalization, and data collection will be more sophisticated and offer more precise insights. Chatbots will continue to learn how to respond more like humans and be incorporated into customer service. Organizations across industries will use AI to simplify decision-making and maximize profit.
Where We are Now
If your organization is just beginning to evaluate your AI marketing investment, you may wonder what successful marketers are currently doing. Each day you postpone embracing AI technology puts you further behind the competition, as new developments happen every day.
Artificial intelligence works behind programs and services provided by giants like Netflix, Google, and Walmart. Here are some of the ways marketers currently use AI to improve brand awareness and increase conversions.
Artificial Intelligence Generated Pay Per Click (PPC)
Marketing agencies spend most of their PPC investment on Google AdWords and Facebook. When they do, they have the option of creating their own ads or using third-party AI tools. Machine-learning helps marketers optimize layouts, enhance copy, narrow audience focus, and bid successfully for ad spots.
AI Personalization Crafts Website Experiences
Brands of all sizes use intelligent algorithms to analyze the hundreds of data points that relate to each user, measuring site interaction, location, what type of device they use, and demographics to supply content most likely to interest them. Individual users receive push notifications for improved conversion rates.
Pandora, for example, uses live marketing analysts and machine-learning to identify songs listeners might be interested in. Monitoring each active device for location, activity, skips, and likes provides more pleasing content and an enhanced user experience.
AI also analyzes site traffic and provides pattern change notifications marketers currently use to optimize user experiences. Slackbot reviews data and delivers performance reports, and Hunch lets you know if you have data disruption or other significant changes.
AI has the power to gather thousands of data points from a sea of users and make sense of patterns humans couldn’t see. They put puzzle pieces together for any type of advertising. For example, AI might look within a location for users who fit gender, shopping history, and online search characteristics to know when someone is most likely to respond to a coupon for a new yogurt flavor or a pair of running shoes, generate an ad for their social media feed, and follow up with a savings offer.
AI for Content Creation
Machines currently generate content without human interaction for simple formats like business reports, hotel depictions, stock updates, and athletic game summaries. They also help content marketers by providing machine-learning that indicates what audiences are most interested in viewing (even tracking their on-page behavior) and what keywords will help them find it.
Marketers currently use predictive analytics and AI to create campaigns for the near future because most people repeat behavioral patterns. AI gathers information on user routines, and it can gather and process data for more points and across a wider range of users. When customer preferences change, predictive analytics can suggest ideas for new product lines or decide item-pricing according to competitor comparisons.
What to Expect in 2018: Chatbots, AR, and more
In the next year, AI marketing will evolve even more rapidly. Chat and speech interfaces became effective ways for machines to have conversations with humans, and those tools will continue to improve. Chatbots currently answer questions and place orders, and some brands are giving them personalities of their own. In 2018, expect to see marketers use chatbots that don’t just supply basic services but also attract users to their brand.
Emirates has been using chatbots within the display ads for its Emirates Vacations unit. In a recent Digiday interview their SVP of marketing Ailsa Pollard said, “We see AI as a way we can add more relevance to the consumer journey and provide better responses.” Other chatbot early adopters include CoverGirl and Charity Water. CoverGirl allows users to talk to a chatbot patterned after influencer Kalani Hilliker, a teenage model and dancer. Charity Water puts users in touch with a young girl from Ethiopia. As the months go by, more organizations will improve chatbot listening capabilities and aid them in providing the customer with progressively more engaging information.
Microsoft is taking things beyond just voice and text and is working toward communication that involves sight, sound, touch, and eye contact. The ultimate goal is to create technology that is invisible except when users need it. Users will eventually feel like they’re talking to a live person that has emotions and a conscience. Augmented Reality (AR) might eventually allow customers to feel like they can handle a product before buying it, using touch and smell as part of evaluation.
AI marketing will use image recognition to identify successful images. Marketers know content with images trigger more likes, retweets and conversions, but the internet is saturated with images that vie for user attention. It can be a challenge to decide which one will attract the most views and achieve desired results.
While humans can’t monitor the monumental number of images available online to identify the ones that draw the most interaction, AI can. Machines analyze what the preferred images had in common and suggest the most compelling choices for campaigns.
Amazon Rekognition doesn’t just recognize faces and objects; it can identify what emotions users are feeling. In the year ahead, marketing teams will use image recognition software to identify locations their product is most commonly used or consumed to create more effective product placement ads. They might use facial recognition capabilities to identify when users have a positive response. They also will likely use it to improve visual engagement on social media and other channels.
For many organizations, the biggest benefit of AI marketing in 2018 will be how it enables them to make better use of their advertising dollars. When AI creates personalized ads that reach the users most likely to respond, departments don’t waste money on audiences that will never be receptive. As machine learning identifies what works, ads will be even more precise and traditional marketing tools will eventually become obsolete.
How to Prepare Marketing for the Future
Successful marketing departments will identify the change ahead and take these steps to get ready for growth.
- Hire and train the right employees. AI programs will only be as effective as the staff that uses them. Marketers need training on new technology as it emerges, and AI is no exception. When hiring, look for employees with a wide range of skills and a flexible willingness to embrace change. Invest in talent that understands currently available technology and knows how to leverage its effectiveness.
- Create voice-search friendly content. Currently, 20 to 25 percent of queries are voice searches, and that number is about to boom. Plan ahead in website redesigns and content creation.
- Assume your customers use AI-enabled devices. Design for clients who don’t just use smartphones but have artificial intelligence in their refrigerators, vehicles, and washing machine. If users start to rely on AI to create grocery lists and decide what gym clothes to order, how can you best reach them?
Will AI Steal Marketing Jobs?
Any time someone invents technology that can complete tasks faster or on a larger scale than human workers, there’s fear. The use of AI in marketing has grown so fast, some fear a future where decisions are made automatically by machine. While there will likely be a disruption, the idea that AI replaces intellect is too far out to be a real concern.
In the future, AI will make marketers even more effective. Instead of endlessly analyzing data, marketers will receive more comprehensive reports based on machine-learning. Instead of feeling continually stressed, they’ll draw fresh inspiration from the information provided by technology.
With better data, marketers will be able to predict which audience members are the best prospects, further personalize messaging, provide enhanced product recommendations, and receive notifications when it’s time to offer clients help.
Some marketing jobs may be threatened, but only low-skilled ones. For those who derive most their income from writing filler page content or setting up basic social media ads, machines are already equal to the task. Marketers who continue to add to their skills will have an expanded list of responsibilities that grow increasingly sophisticated. High-performance marketers are comfortable using AI and other technology to create unforgettable customer experiences.
Aquent can provide your company with the digital marketing managers, front-end developers, and visual designers that can take your organization into the future. Get in touch to request talent today.