Artificial intelligence (AI) is here, and it’s going nowhere but up. You know the buzzwords, but vague or specific terms like automation, Alexa and robots (!) don’t quite do justice to the power of AI and its potential to start a revolution in just about every sector, industry or part of life as we know it.
One industry that is particularly affected by the ongoing rise of AI is, perhaps inevitably, digital marketing. Such is its pre-determined reliance on our ever-shifting relationship with technology, digital marketing has to change or die in the face of every new evolutionary leap. As it happens, AI represents the biggest leap yet, and digital marketing is well and truly along for the ride.
Here we detail a few areas that are already on their way to being changed forever by the increased use of AI in digital marketing, from content through to all that all-important SEO.
So much of a businesses digital marketing plan hinges on a good content strategy. How a brand or business puts that strategy into practice is even more important. On top of that truth, a brand must wrestle with the fact that content plays a part in many other aspects of their marketing output, from SEO and PPC to email and PR.
Recent years have seen the rise of automated smart tools that are able to take on board keywords or phrases, and generate pieces of content with those in mind. Whilst these technologies are still being improved, they are doing exactly that – progressing exponentially to the point where many larger businesses are already utilising these platforms as part of their overall content strategy. The likes of Quill or Wordsmith are being used by respected outlets such as Forbes and the Associated Press, in order to regularly create relevant, engaging content for the online world.
Whilst content will still require a human element for a long time yet (even content creation tools need to be overseen by people who understand the nuances of online content), there is no doubt that the game is slowly being changed by these developments. Consider this alongside similarly groundbreaking developments in content curation, and this is one trend that cannot be ignored. For a mainstream example of AI helping with content curation, take a look at your latest Netflix recommendations. Now imagine something similar on your own blog or eCommerce site, prompting users to view more posts or products that are relevant to their interests. Through this, you are giving people more of what they want, and enticing them to stick around on your website for much longer. You’ve got them hooked.
According to Smart Insights, ‘content research and curation’ makes up 15% of AI investment or integration amongst businesses. That’s joint top of the list alongside customer service.
In the age of smart phones, social media and virtual reality, the stunning rise and subsequent impact of email seems an age ago already. In comparison to many other marketing platforms, email can already be deemed as ‘old fashioned’ by some, and recent policy changes can make it tricky to navigate. That being said, email marketing remains a direct and effective tool for businesses, and it too is seeing the impact of AI. Machine learning means that the analysis of massive data sets can be done swiftly, helping to identify key indicators such as when is best to contact someone, the regularity of sends, their preferred content and the most clickable subject lines or topics of interest.
AI is already revolutionising search in a few key areas. Perhaps the most widely known is voice search. The nature of voice search has naturally shifted the way in which we search for things. For example, Google has stated that 70% of searches received through their flagship Google Assistant are in conversational language generally considered to be more ‘natural’ than traditional searches. This is an area in which marketing agencies and businesses will need to adapt their approach to SEO in the near future.
Google, of course, has its own machine learning algorithm called RankBrain. This was developed in order to provide people with results that are more relevant to their searches, as the AI attempts to take context and language into consideration. This will further enhance the cause of voice searches, as Google can interpret user’s more conversational language and give them results that will genuinely help with or answer their queries.
Great websites need equally great developers and designers, right? The answer to that question is still yes, although a much less emphatic one than in the past. Thanks to the development of new AI-driven software, we are seeing more automation in the field of web design. There are now several apps available that use AI in order to build effective, converting websites based on vital information given by users. This information includes elements crucial to the overall build, such as images and copy. This results in a web design and build that is more time and cost effective, whilst cutting out significant stages of work usually undertaken manually.
Similarly, user experience (UX) is seeing the benefit of AI technology. Websites can now utilise advanced algorithms in order to provide a highly personalised and bespoke user experience for each and every visitor. As these algorithmic developments work to analyse user data such as demographic, device and location, the AI can then display more relevant content to that particular user. This should excite every business or brand, as it further speeds up the process of building a trusting audience that is more likely to buy into whatever you are offering.
The Revolution Continues
The impact of AI doesn’t stop there. It is rapidly changing other areas of digital marketing such as digital advertising, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The best way forward for any business is to soak up as much info as possible at this early stage and have an open mind. Begin to put the essential steps into place, and be prepared for any changes.