Business December 12, 2018 Last updated September 9th, 2019 2,550 Reads share

How Is Artificial Intelligence Shaping up the World of Digital Marketing

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‘Dread it, run from it, destiny arrives all the same.’ This popular quote by Thanos, the Mad Titan of the Avengers movie aptly points to the coming of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.).

The use of Lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) which one activated can engage targets without human intervention, gives rise to the prospect of a Doomsday where killer machines will rule over humankind.

While AI is talked about in the same breath as killer bots, in reality, it presents the opportunity to automate mundane tasks and give companies time to focus on their future business strategy.

Right now we are in the phase of the rapid shift. This shift is happening everywhere, A.I has revolutionized industries one after the other. Sophie Hackford, Director – WIRED Consulting and Education, broke down what constitutes this rapidly evolving technology.

She says, “Artificial intelligence is indexing the real world the way Google does the Internet. They digitalize us and what we are creating by processing our behavior, listing what we do, and categorizing us.”

According to the New International Data Corporation (IDC) spending guide, the worldwide spending on cognitive and artificial intelligence systems will increase from $19.1 billion in 2018 to $52.2 billion in 2021.

Phew! That’s a lot of investment. Over the next few years, every industry will need to evaluate how AI will affect their business processes and how to go to cope up with the market dynamics.

How AI is changing the face of today’s digital landscape

You must have probably heard the famous saying – ‘Data is the new oil.’ In the same way, AI can be compared to the modern-day refinery which processes data to unveil varied insights and help marketers make sense out of the noisy internet.

This year we have witnessed AI making its presence felt through Google’s Alpha GO, Watson’s BEAT & social media chatbots and are some of the components which will eventually contribute towards unleashing the full potential of AI.

Let’s take a look at the ways in which AI will possibly impact digital marketing.

– Image recognition and AI

Though previously confined to identifying isolated objects in an image, it is now possible to get a detailed description of items with AI.

Here are some examples of image recognition at work :

  • The eBay app allows shoppers to search for items using a camera
  • Facebook’s AI smart recognition software helps blind users by providing descriptions of photos to a screen reading software, so they can understand what people have shared on their feed  
  • The neural network developed by researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign enhances pitch black photos to make them bright and colorful

Amazon’s Recognition identifies people, objects, text, and scenes using deep learning technology

With over 3.25 billion photos being shared every day, this humongous amount of imagery can be processed with the use of to recognize objects, events & activities and eventually decipher consumers interests.  

Voice search queries

Though my mom was hesitant about using a smartphone at first and used it just to make calls, now she uses the blue microphone button on her mobile to order anything and everything from grocery to dresses. Voice search has provided the ease of accessibility for users like her and has made search easier, as it doesn’t require typing anymore.

Alexa and Siri are examples of how AI assistants can work to provide quick answers by way of understanding the intent of a user’s search. Not only these smart devices are emphasizing on conversations, but also are altering the SEO landscape which requires marketers to brainstorm keywords which are used by customers for voice search. This highlights a shift from the old keywords based SEO to include conversation based long tail keywords and create content around it.

–  Dynamic pricing to attract more customers

AI has enabled pricing solutions that offer customers prices based on their buying habits. Dynamic pricing methods use machine learning to identify customer data pattern, which once analyzed can be adjusted to suit the person’s buying habits and budget.

Take, for example; an online shopper who spends time comparing products within a specific price range; machine learning systems can take a note of that to adjust and determine product prices accordingly.

  • London based startup Pace has developed a software which helps the hotel management to maximize their profits by offering the price customers are likely to pay based on their demographics. For example, someone staying during the peak season could be willing to pay more, whereas students might look for cheaper options.
  • Wise Athena, a leading software platform helps consumer packaged goods companies to determine the best price for their products and decisions related to trade promotion. The software company claims to analyze all of the particular company’s products to help them optimize prices, maximize gross margin and reap maximum revenue.

The ability to monitor and process information in real-time gives companies the chance to offer customers a highly personalized product. Hence, it creates a win-win situation, for the buyer in terms of desirable product pricing and for the seller in terms of adding to sales.

– Boost to content marketing efforts with AI-generated content

From Washington Post’s Heliograf to websites like Articolo and Wordsmith, AI already creates content. Though it cannot deal with the human emotions conveyed in writing yet, it increases the probability of channeling the marketers to plan future campaigns.  

By using AI to track conversations and buzz online, businesses can evaluate the content type and form which resonates most with its users.

Who knows, maybe one day content will be written by machines and edited by humans, or maybe such is already the case now.

– AI-assisted Insights

AI uses an array of touchpoints to develop accurate customer personas,  thus identifying the intended target audience for a product.

Some of the touchpoints include –

  • On-site behavior
  • Transactions initiated
  • Previous communication with the customer
  • Demographic information

Look at Sephora, now a  big name in the beauty industry. The company used digital transformation to take up a position as one of the leading beauty retailers in the world and now looks to enhance the customers shopping experience by adopting the right mix of AI.

– The machine learning lead campaign

Machine learning enables organizations to utilize customer data sets to develop an actionable marketing strategy.  Take a look at the companies employing machine learning:

> Facebook uses machine learning and AI to find & target users based on advertiser’s desired action.

> Google AdWords’ automated auction system lets advertisers pay the lowest possible cost per conversion, which would not have been possible to manage manually.

> Caron, a tool by Clicksco, is a cloud-based audience management service, which uses machine learning to allow publishers to view complete audience profiles and discover their niche interests to enable relevant content distribution.

T-mobile is utilizing AI and machine learning capabilities to give customer care representatives detailed reports and technical resolutions to speed up their response time on customers’ queries.

Gain a competitive edge with a pinch of AI

Here’s how AI can boost your Digital marketing efforts:

– Cater to your audience better :

It can help in understanding consumer choices and preferences leading to a more accurate customer persona which translates to increased sales.

– Effective marketing :

End the guesswork and create a more go-to-market strategy for your business with predictive analytics and AI. A machine learning program can run through raw data, row after row to see patterns and identify a relationship in data.

– Raise the productivity bar :

AI is expected to increase productivity by 40 percent or more to ensure significant time and costs savings. AI can automate and prioritize decision making, to help you quickly work on high priority tasks.   

– ROI it is!

According to research, about 38% of consumers believe that AI will improve customer service.

While a study by Pointsource highlights the fact that 34% of shoppers tend to spend more money online when AI is deployed tactically.

With better-performing content and deals tailored to customers preference, sales is likely to improve and boost profitability.

Marketers say ‘Hello’ to AI

Has anyone seen Google’s CEO unveiling the chatbot to book appointments for a salon and a restaurant?

Chatbots have become popular and probably are the biggest example of the use of AI. They can now engage in human-like conversations which adds to the enhanced customer experience.

While customers schedule tasks, coffee giant Starbucks is using AI to let customers order coffee. The bot is capable of understanding complex orders, along with special requests from customers liking a cappuccino catered to their taste.

As personalization plays an important role in developing customer relationships, AI can serve as the connecting link between marketers and customers. With constant results optimization, real-time personalization and dynamic adjustment of multiple variables(such as past preference & spending habits), AI will continue to evolve and play an important role in the business ecosystem.

If you have benefitted by the use of AI in any of your online efforts or have anything to share related to your experiences, let me know in the comments below.

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Lavanya Loomba

Lavanya Loomba

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