Generations of historical evidences have proved that human civilizations, whether ancient or modern, have survived, thrived and evolved benefiting from technological innovations. In today’s era, machines have become an integral part of human life and ecosystem. Inevitably and with time, machines are becoming smarter. With continuous change in demand, machines are becoming more and more important to make human lives better, faster, easier and debatably happier as well.
Gone are those days when artificial intelligence was only limited to and correlated to robots. Robotics is a mere branch of artificial intelligence and 21st Century has witnessed usage of AI in all domains of technology. Now-a-days artificial intelligence is playing major role in diverse fields like healthcare, security systems, machine learning and data analytics, automotive industries, education, social media, entertainment and astronomy as well. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that machines have truly taken over world and artificial intelligence plays crucial part in it.
Like every other domain, AI is now prevalent in digital advertisement as well. A decade ago marketers were hesitant towards integrating AI in their marketing strategies. This was due to multiple challenges like lack of resources, lack of technical knowledge, lack of infrastructure and lastly because of the infamous narrative of “losing a job because of a machine”. However, over time AI has revolutionised digital advertising, making it more efficient, accurate and effective. About 70% marketers now believe that AI is an important part of their data strategy and 80% of technology leaders believe that AI increases the efficiency of their teams by at least 30%, as per the recent article in search engine journal.
Applications of AI in Digital Marketing :
1. Personalized Shopping Experience –Ecommerce websites and mobile apps are now able to create recommendation patterns for customers in order to generate more business via personalized shopping experience. These recommendations are made in correlation with their browsing history, preference, and interests. This helps in improving a brand’s relationship with their customers and their loyalty towards the brand.
2. AI-Powered Assistants – Chatbots or virtual shopping assistants can help enhance the user experience while shopping online. To make the conversation as human and personal as possible and to have real time engagement with customers, “Natural Language Processing” can be used which is a part of AI, too. Amazon.com will soon use the chatbots for their customer service.
3. AI in Social Media – It is well known that Instagram uses artificial intelligence to customize the “explore tab”. It focuses on what kind of content user may like, what kinds of accounts user may follow etc. It also prioritizes the posts by means of freshness, popularity, relevance and user preferences. According to Instagram, the “explore” tab now drives more user engagement than the actual feeds of users.
Facebook extensively uses AI to parse through user posts to identify hate speeches, spams, fake accounts, graphic violence etc. Through machine learning, Facebook also provides real time translation of written posts for its users. Facebook and Instagram, both use AI powered tool called DeepText to understand human conversations better and to weed out irrelevant ads as well. Few other AI ventures of Facebook also include automatic image recognition, “Talking Pictures” for visually challenged people and “Suicide Watch” to identify and inform about a person planning a suicide.
Twitter has now become the biggest social platform for politicians, activists and NGOs. This gives rise to unimaginable social violence. To conquer this, Twitter’s in house engineering team called Cortex has developed powerful AI to identify hateful content, racial slurs and gender biased posts.
4. AI and Advertising – Success of Digital Advertising highly relies on customer behaviour and targeting right audience at right time. Use of AI to analyse the customer behaviour, browsing patterns and personal preferences can help marketers to deliver precisely targeted and personalised ads at the right time to their audience. Artificial intelligence can be effectively integrated at all of the funnels of digital advertisement i.e. awareness, consideration and acquisition.
Digital platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitch are literally sitting on the goldmines of data! Data management platforms store this data which can later be analysed by AI powered demand side and supply side advertisement networks. Same data can be used for remarketing and retargeting purposes. AI can also be used to edit and optimize marketing campaigns to fit the demand of market and to forecast campaign budgets.
Many digital agencies use AI based browsing and data collection tools to stay aware of latest trends, buzzwords in order to incorporate those into their digital strategies. “Drip Marketing” is one of the advertising strategies which rely on AI to detect customer actions and trigger cross platform ads and emails for the same customer.
Algorithms of all digital platforms are updated on timely basis to include more artificial intelligence based features. This includes all algorithms like Facebook’s Edgerank, Amazon’s A9 algorithm and army of Google algorithms like Penguin, Panda, Pirate, Hummingbird, Bert etc. Due to this advertisement on digital platform has become highly profitable and at the same time, customer centric.
Looking to the future
Access and integration of artificial intelligence in digital marketing has now become game-changing and ever-evolving phenomenon. Till now, businesses and digital agencies were empowered to provide improved user experience, to predict user behaviour and to provide real time customer support.
Henceforth, artificial intelligence will not just predict but alter the consumer behavior.
These days, consumers are fed with tons of information every day. Nobody wants to invest time in evaluating best options. This leads to delegation.
How about retrospection of what is already controlled by AI?
- Social Media algorithms influence what brands we engage with.
- Digital maps now decide what routes we take or suggest what places nearby to visit.
- Recommendation engines control awareness and influence purchases
AI based algorithms will act as new gatekeepers, through devices like Alexa, Siri which are literally digital personal assistants of humans these days. And the future of any business depends on one’s ability to influence the AI’s that make the recommendations to us.
Think about it. When a person asks their Alexa to “order me a burger”, it’s the AI who decides the brand. Future digital marketers need to understand how that decision is being made and make algorithm their audience and not actual users. At the same time, the end goal must be to improve human lives in subtle ways!