It’s 2021, and the world has come a long way in terms of technology. Today, AI (artificial intelligence) impacts numerous aspects of life. Especially in the digital marketing world, AI can help to improve customer service and support, as well as deliver more targeted and relevant content.
AI has been a trending topic for quite a while now. And it is being used in various fields, including digital marketing. This is mainly because the use of AI digital marketing strategies can help you deliver improved customer experiences. More than that, they can help you save both time and money.
From Google’s RankBrain and Voice Search to personalized Amazon recommendations, AI is changing the face of today’s digital landscape.
AI Defined Simply
Artificial intelligence (AI) is simply another name for machine learning. Any software program that modifies parts of it’s own behavior as a response to input can be considered a “learning” algorithm. It normally lends itself best to applications where there is a large amount of data available or a large amount of repetition.
Before we get into the specifics of different ways AI can be deployed in a digital marketing company, there are two pieces of AI-advice we have: Fool-proof yourself, and look for commonalities.
Learn about the code-level fundamentals of machine learning yourself, first hand. Yes, this may seem a little bit like work. No one ever said an effective roll-out of AI would be easy. But this won’t take as long as you might think. There are scores of very high quality, very highly condensed starter videos all across YouTube on the subject of AI and neural networks. Just watching a handful of videos will go a long way to helping you understand the basics, the terminology, and the necessary elements for effective implementation of artificial intelligence – no matter the application.
Also be sure to take a data set from a business problem you have already solved. You should already know very well exactly what the inputs are and what the outputs should be. Let the AI system take those same inputs and do it’s thing. Then compare the results against your good, known solution. How does the AI output measure up against the old, lengthy, human-intensive processes?
All too often businesses are trying to apply AI on problems that are poorly defined, poorly understood, with unknown inputs and no way to tell if the outputs are as good as, better than, or worse than the old way of doing things. Educate yourself, and be diligent when evaluating possible AI software solutions so you don’t make this same mistake.
Look for Commonalities Not Just Uniqueness
So many digital marketing software solutions in the world today emphasize only how they are unique. They want to differentiate themselves from all competitors so they rarely highlight (or sometimes fail to mention altogether) those features that are common to all providers in their space. This makes it harder for people buying software solutions (you) to effectively evaluate and compare software options, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence digital marketing solutions.
Don’t be afraid to pester providers for details about functionality that you’ve seen in other digital marketing software suites. If software provider A has a feature, find out if software providers B, C, and D have that same feature.
Important Digital Marketing Applications for AI in 2021
Looking for ways to apply AI digital marketing will optimize your marketing efforts, enhance customer service, improve customer retention, and drive sales. And this is not just marketing hype!
Here are five of the biggest use-cases for machine learning systems in the digital marketing space, as of today:
Chatbots in Digital Marketing
Chatbots are beginning to play a very visible role in marketing. And, while early on, marketing and online customer service applications of chatbots tended to focus on text-based interactions (such as email), they are starting to come into play in more traditional, customer service-based chat support as well. With their natural language processing (NLP) capabilities, chatbots are equipped with an opportunity to provide user-friendly, personalized support that satisfies the user’s needs and helps them feel a greater sense of control over the problem.
But the trick is to build a chatbot that is both easy to understand, and very easy to use. In most cases, customers will need to learn to interact with a chatbot before they can really enjoy the benefits.
Ad Optimization using AI
Learning machines are already commonplace in many of the larger ad networks. The benefits of effective ad optimization include improved performance and better content targeting. But as digital marketing trends continue to evolve and optimize through marketing automation, ad optimization will become a mandatory requirement for anyone in the advertising space.
It will also lead to a rapid increase in data use, as a more sophisticated understanding of consumer behavior gives AI systems the ability to more precisely target ads, thereby generating higher levels of targeted traffic to your website.
Digital Marketing Content Creation
Content is the currency of marketing today. It’s no longer enough to just create valuable content and hope that it draws more traffic and conversions. Marketing technology is now a key component of the marketing mix, and it has the potential to revolutionize the creative process.
Content creators will likely begin working more closely with AI systems to improve the quality of their content, providing an even greater level of personalized, targeted, and relevant information for users. The results are sure to be better content, as well as increased conversion rates.
Enhancing User Experience Overall with AI
A customer’s journey within a brand starts with the initial interaction. But most people don’t just stop with the first interaction with a company. When thinking of the customer experience, most digital marketers will focus on how the customer interacts with a company over time, as well as an examination of a company’s website and digital marketing strategies. This is why it’s important to integrate content, search, and digital marketing into the customer journey with AI.
One example would be an agent at a car dealership giving his or her customers a complimentary daily briefing about the benefits of the service the dealership provides and how it will enhance their experience.
As customers become more comfortable sharing their preferences, more nuanced audience targeting becomes possible. AI can help by offering personalized results to consumers and companies, based on their unique preferences, to deliver more relevant content.
For example, brands can use personalized demographic information to create the most relevant shopping experience for their shoppers, without over-targeting them with a marketing message that may not resonate with their preferences. This is especially helpful for companies whose products are more niche.
AI in Email Marketing
Email is no exception to the AI-driven personalization revolution that is affecting customer’s expectations. If you are going to send someone an email, it better be customized in many different ways for that recipient. This will result in a better email experience overall for your subscribers, but will also put you in a strong position to win and retain them in the long term.
Another email concern is whether customers are opting in to receive marketing emails, which is one way to determine if there is a problem. Google has found that many people who receive unwanted marketing emails opt out, so keep that number in mind when you’re strategizing for marketing emails.
These may be some of the most powerful ways to implement AI in online marketing, but they are also the most popular. And if they are popular, then they may not serve as a point of differentiation in a competitive marketplace.
Less Common Ways to Put AI to Work in Digital Marketing
Any time there is repetitive work or lots of data in business, you’ll likely find a potential use case for AI, especially as you scale up that process. Here are some additional ideas to consider for your particular digital marketing practice. Don’t try to use AI everywhere, pick those parts of your business that you are well known for and pilot some AI systems there first:
- Personalization – This is a broad area to look at, so feel free to think outside of the box here! A great example is Amazon using AI to personalize their shopping recommendations to customers, a move that has brought massive competitive advantage to Amazon.
- Variable Pricing – Also called Dynamic Pricing, these systems can adjust the price of a product automatically depending on a customer’s past purchase history with the retailer. You could use this in your ecommerce business to give discounts to heavy spenders, discounts to frequent buyers, and a free trial period to customers who have never bought anything from you before.
- Search Engine Optimization – This may seem obvious, but many websites and businesses still struggle to optimize their search engine results pages to provide the best possible experience for their audience. Take Amazon.com again as an example, where they use AI to determine a product’s most searched keywords, based on a list of millions of existing customer reviews and ratings.
- Timing of Campaigns – Knowing the right time to send adverts to your target audience will help you take advantage of big events, trends, or news stories. With the right data set, algorithms can help predict the optimal time(s) to act.
- General Automation – There are countless, day-to-day activities that people engage in. If you find yourself or your team members bogged down, look for smart solutions to your necessary but repetitive tasks.
- Big Data Management – As more and more digital devices come online, more and more data is being generated. Don’t be afraid to leverage AI to manage all the juicy data upon which AI itself feeds.
- Predict Customer Behavior – The many, constant streams of information about your customers can be harnessed to predict human behavior. If you’re using AI to predict the behavior of your customers, you’ll need to implement a robust data management strategy to make sure you have a complete picture of your customer base and all of the data they generate.
- Business Intelligence (BI) & Analytics – Bringing together disparate data sets for different purposes, and making them available to other employees and users, makes all the data sets actually useful. When you apply AI to BI, you are able to improve decision making based on a more complete view of your business’s performance.
- Recruitment – You can use AI to improve your recruitment processes and speed up the entire hiring process, from sourcing and interviewing candidates, to onboarding, and finally into operational workflows.
- Improve Investment Return – AI can help you to quickly sort through the large amount of data that can be stored for financial investments to spot patterns, trends, and anomalies. This is a great way to improve your investment returns.
- Speech Recognition – Voice recognition is no longer restricted to high-end devices, making it an easier option for everyday use in your own business. Most speech-to-text programs can translate your own speech into text, with the basic technology allowing for faster processing and improved accuracy.
- Lead Generation – Companies with strong marketing capabilities are typically on top of this, but for the many small businesses and startups, having a platform that automatically monitors leads and generates timely and targeted emails to new customers can be a life-saver.
- Prioritization of Marketing Channels – When it comes to your marketing, how do you decide where to spend your time, and where to spend your money? Some channels are very expensive, or heavily relied on by customers, but for others you may not be seeing any results. AI is able to make the right call, helping you to focus your resources on your most profitable channels.
- Social Media Management – Brands and businesses are increasingly harnessing social media to interact with, and to educate, their audience. In the process, brands are investing in marketing automation to help them better manage and optimize social media efforts.
- Sales Forecasting – AI is able to make predictions about sales more accurately than any human can, simply because of the massive quantity of data an algorithm can ingest. It can tell you the probabilities of a sale occurring, giving you the opportunity to make real-time changes and drive results.
- Product Recommendations – Machine learning can bring a much more personalized shopping experience to your customers and your brand. It can recommend products based on your shopping behavior, as well as bring you relevant content and other details related to your customers’ interests.
- Web Design – Crafting a stunning website is a daunting task for anyone, and AI can help you with this process, or at least supplement your efforts. The technology allows for the creation of dynamic sites that are easily updated, and have multiple sections and pages that are regularly refreshed with your business’ information.
Summary of AI in Digital Marketing
The term “AI” can often scare people away, making it seem complicated and costly to their operations. The truth is that there are a range of techniques you can use to benefit from learning technologies in your online marketing efforts. There is a lot of capability that can be brought to bear by advanced technology, and with proper planning you will soon see a return on investment for your marketing efforts in 2021.
With AI technology, marketers can spot microtrends and even predict trends. They can then make strategic decisions about where they allocate their budgets and who they target. As a result, brands can reduce digital advertising waste and ensure that their spend delivers the best possible results.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is science that deals with building intelligent machines that can think and respond like a human. It holds exceptional future opportunities in digital marketing.
AI technology enables marketers to separate their customers into distinct personas and understand exactly what motivates them. With this information in mind, marketers are able to focus on the specific needs of their audience and creating a long-lasting relationship with the brand.