Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a catchall term for applications that perform complex tasks that once required human input, such as communicating with customers online or playing chess. The term is often used incorrectly to refer to anything that seems smart or smart-seeming. But AI is more than just making things seem smart; it’s about making them actually intelligent.
According to a 2021 McKinsey survey companies reporting AI adoption in at least one function had increased to 56%, up from 50% a year earlier. In addition, 27% of respondents reported at least 5% of earnings could be attributable to AI, up from 22% a year earlier.
In this article, we’ll explore how marketers can use AI in their day-to-day work with examples from companies like Facebook, Netflix and Google that are already doing so successfully.
The use of AI in Digital Marketing
From September 2021, AI has already played a significant role in digital marketing, and it’s likely to continue to evolve and expand its applications. Here are some ways AI is commonly used in digital marketing:
AI helps in creating a personalised user experience by analysing customer data, behaviour, and preferences. It can tailor content, product recommendations, and marketing messages to individual users, increasing engagement and conversion rates.
Netflix leverages AI and machine learning to analyse their current users’ watch history to provide personalised content recommendations, improving user retention and engagement on its streaming platform.
Chatbots and Virtual Assistants
AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants provide instant and automated customer support, handling customer inquiries, offering product information, and resolving common issues, with 24/7 availability which frees up human resources.
AI algorithms can generate content, including articles, social media posts, and product descriptions. While not yet perfect, AI-generated content can be useful for creating bulk content quickly or providing inspiration for human writers to get you off to a flying start. A free tool that can help with this is Copy.Ai
Image and Video Analysis
AI-powered tools can analyse images and videos to understand their content, context, and sentiment. This capability can be used for visual search, content moderation, and script analysis of user-generated content.
Email Marketing Optimisation
AI can optimise email marketing campaigns by analysing your customer data, specifically their behaviour and engagement to determine the best time to send emails, subject lines, and content that resonates with the target audience. – MailChimp uses this AI very effectively when using their send time optimizer.
AI-driven advertising platforms can automatically optimize ad campaigns by adjusting bids, placements, and ad content based on real-time data and user behavior. – Facebook’s ad platform incorporates AI for ad targeting, budget optimization, and ad delivery. It uses machine learning to identify the most relevant audience segments and deliver ads to users most likely to engage with them. This machine learning campaign is called Advantage + which is something I would personally recommend.
Challenges of AI for Online Marketing
While AI offers numerous benefits in digital marketing, it also presents some potential challenges that businesses and marketers need to be aware of:
- Privacy Concerns: The use of AI in digital marketing involves collecting and analysing vast amounts of user data which can raise privacy concerns if not handled appropriately. Customers may feel uncomfortable or violated if they perceive that their personal information is being excessively used or misused.
- Over-reliance on Automation: While AI-driven automation can enhance efficiency, excessive reliance on automation may lead to a loss of human touch in customer interactions. Customers may prefer human support for more complex issues, and overly automated responses could lead to frustration.
- Limited Creativity: While AI can automate certain creative tasks, such as content generation, it may lack the creativity and emotional understanding that humans possess. This could result in marketing efforts that lack the human touch and emotional resonance.
- Increased Competition: As AI becomes more accessible and widely adopted, it may lead to increased competition in digital marketing. Businesses that fail to leverage AI effectively might fall behind competitors who harness AI-driven insights to gain a competitive edge.
- Complexity and Cost: Implementing and managing AI technologies can be complex and costly, especially for smaller businesses. Integration and maintenance require expertise, which may not be readily available to all organizations.
- Loss of Human Jobs: As AI automates certain tasks, there could be concerns about job displacement for human workers in marketing and customer support roles.
5 Evolutions of AI for Digital Marketers
The future of AI in digital marketing is likely to be transformative and filled with exciting possibilities. As AI technology continues to advance, we can expect several key trends and developments in the field of digital marketing:
- Hyper-Personalisation: AI will enable even deeper levels of personalsation in marketing efforts. Brands will be able to deliver highly individualized content, product recommendations, and offers tailored to each customer’s preferences, behaviour, and context.
- AI-Generated Content: AI-generated content will become more refined and seamless, enabling marketers to create high-quality, relevant, and engaging content at scale. This could include written articles, social media posts, and video content.
- Conversational Marketing: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants will continue to evolve, enabling more natural and context-aware conversations with customers. Conversational marketing will become a central aspect of customer engagement strategies.
- AI in Influencer Marketing: AI will help identify the most relevant influencers for a brand’s target audience, analyse the impact of influencer campaigns, and measure the return on investment (ROI) of influencer marketing efforts.
- AI-Driven Video Marketing: AI will play a significant role in video marketing, enabling personalised video content, automated video editing, and real-time video analytics.
Overall, the future of AI in digital marketing holds enormous potential to revolutionise how businesses connect with their customers, drive engagement, and deliver personalised experiences across various channels and touchpoints. However, it will also bring new challenges in terms of data privacy, AI ethics, and ensuring that AI remains a tool that empowers marketers while respecting the rights and preferences of consumers. To mitigate these negative impacts, businesses must ensure that AI systems are regularly audited for bias and fairness. Moreover, maintaining a balance between AI-driven automation and human interactions is crucial to provide customers with a positive and personalised experience while addressing their concerns effectively.