To start with a quote by Gerd Leonhard, a futurist who talks on humanity and technology, about IBM’s AI Watson:
“Ask Watson about the future of Europe, it will answer eloquently. Ask it about the United States of Europe (a concept) and it won’t understand.”
Artificial Intelligence is taking over the technology and the developers of it are worried about it. But there is a long way before Artificial Intelligent is completely capable.
Are we getting Artificial Intelligence right?
If AI becomes smart that exceeds the performance than human’s cognitive activities, it can turn dangerous in the future. However, we need to understand the verticals of AI before coming to a conclusion:
In simple words, Artificial Intelligence is a developer’s attempt to make the computer act like a human. Artificial Intelligence is still a long way from imitating humans to full capacity but they are, for sure, making things easier for us. There are various AI agents developed since it was first termed in 1956.
Having varied working areas, AI has opened up a lot of scope for businesses. One of them is digital marketing. Today, the digital marketing world majorly depends on AI to get its work done in a more precise and accurate manner.
Let’s know more about AI and its types:
Artificial Intelligence exists in two forms namely Narrow AI/Weak AI and General AI.
|Weak AI are dedicated agents that work uniformly in one field and follow a set of commands. SIRI is the best example of a weak AI.
|General AI works in different segments. It makes a coffee for you, writes content, feeds your pet, etc.
|Weak AI does not need any certification.
|General AI needs to pass a Turing Test developed in the late 90s.
Let’s talk a bit about digital marketing before moving ahead with AI. Digital marketing has helped brands break border barriers and expand their horizons digitally at bare minimum costs. But it wouldn’t have been this easy for marketers without the rapid evolution of Artificial Intelligence.
Digital Marketing involves Artificial Intelligence because a human cannot continuously tap target audiences or analyse data manually.
But do you know where the artificial intelligence and digital marketing merge?
Let’s understand digital marketing in depth and see how it connects with AI. Digital marketing means playing with keywords, SEO, social media, e-mails, website, content and exploiting them to achieve results. For this, you need to know your target audience, their demographics, geographics and sociographics culture.
It is very difficult for the humans to manually gather, analyse, divide, target, calculate impact, ROI and prepare a report. At the same time, the data needs to be saved and used again for either retargeting or to study the trends. This is the place where artificial intelligence comes into the picture.
Digital marketers needs to know what, when, why, what and how to market. But sitting in an office they can not guess and answers these question about their clients. Instead, they need proven data to support their argument regarding a particular campaign. A recent stat states that there are more than 4 billion internet users out of which more than 3 billion are present on social media, which is 71% of the total digital population. Hence, this is where AI comes into the play to strategically divide them. AI can collect, analyse, save and use a user’s information to market on the basis of online behaviour and customer profiles.
Features that AI offers when marketing digitally:
Digital marketers have access to a user’s data today like it was never before. AI can make the best use of this data. AI has the ability to identify opportunities and act upon them.
Reports say that by 2020, 85% of a customer’s interaction with companies will not involve humans and will be taken over by artificial intelligence. Source – (feed dough)
What is it that is so intriguing in AI technology? Let’s look at some features that AI offers:
1) Surgically target market:
AI can relieve the stress of selecting a target audience. It’ll target the right kind of audience for the product. There are bare minimum possibilities of their targeting going wrong. This is a must need feature right now, especially in the Asian countries because of the booming internet users.
Distributing budget and targeting users on different platforms and devices according to demographics, geographics, and other factors are additional features of AI.
2) AI helps in Shopping:
Augmented Reality, a vertical of AI and a trending topic is changing the way people shop. People can now take trials of the clothes they are willing to buy and choose the best they want online. This way people can try different outfits sitting at home from around the globe from the companies present online. All this is possible because of Artificial Intelligence. An e-commerce giant states that almost 70% of customers want the brand they are loyal to, to launch VR-buying experience.
3) Personalised Experience:
Here’s what American Express has to say about personalised experiences and spending of a consumer: “Customers who have a positive customer experience spend 74% more!”
If digital marketing is done right using artificial intelligence, it can make buying easy for the targeted customer by removing complexity and targeting a product designed according to the user’s requirements. This binds the customer to a brand emotionally and for a longer term.
4) Content Generation and Curation:
AI can not only choose perfect content for the users but can also get the marketers/companies’ ROI in terms of eyeballs, impressions, reach, likes and sales.
Content is an important part of digital marketing to optimize your brand and reach to the top rank of a search engine. But it is very hard to continuously come up with a unique content and stand out of the billion content. There’s a lot of content on the web that is repetitive and a lot of it is AI-powered but you can not tell the difference.
This is also giving rise to automated journalism where robots will write for the agencies. The best example is Heliograf of Washington Post which has written various articles on Olympics, politics and has also won awards in terms of artificial intelligence.
AI-powered content generation is picking up the pace where the research is done on a topic, and the content is written automatically as per the data gathered. Auto-created content lessens the probability of errors and fastens the process of content creation.
Let’s not forget the video content. Advanced artificial intelligence features enable you to create eye capturing videos and edit photos no less than a professional. As AI creates content by learning from the past, it’ll understand the trend, analyse it and produce the content fit to market itself and reach on the top.
5) Image Recognition:
It started taking up digital marketing by impacting product tagging and visual search. A user can just upload an image and search the related products.
To understand, let’s take a look at one of the adopters of this technology by a tech giant Pinterest. Pinterest came up with ‘Visual Discovery’ where you can post a picture of something you want to try or something you want to know about, just click a picture and upload it on Pinterest, they’ll find a match for that image. Isn’t that simply awesome? Watch the video to understand more.
Hence, a digital marketer needs to stay up with the trend and make sure a product image is present precisely on the internet to not miss out on the opportunity.
To broaden the view and take an example of Google NetX:
Google vision has the ultra capability to recognise text, face, landmark, document, label, logo and image. Google vision can translate text, define an image or describe a place to you with just one landmark picture. This has opened up a new horizon for marketers making it easier and interesting for working in the field. Refer to the image below to know more.
Now just place your phone camera towards the word you want to translate and google won’t even change the background. You can instantly translate by even pointing your phone on a TV. You don’t need to carry a translation book anymore. Please refer to the image below to know more.
6) Voice SEO:
Technology is so advanced nowadays that a phone can identify a human voice and report to its command. This is probably not news anymore because now AIs of phones identify music for you, track your preferences and suggest similar kind of music to you. Shazam is one of the best examples of that. This improved the quality of search for the users but also gave marketers and their clients a new area to market.
Voice SEO is expected to take over online search by 50% by 2020. Which means it will be as important to optimize voice as it is otherwise. Voice search is now not limited to phones but is also present off the screen like Google Home and Amazon Echo. Off-screen voice search is expected to amount to almost 30% of total voice search by 2020. By optimising voice search you are targeting a large group of people.
Also to keep in mind, voice search is a bit different than a traditional search. SEO for voice search requires a more nuanced approach. Long tail keywords can help boost your SEO. You need to make sure they need to be closely related to the products or brands.
With the help of artificial intelligence and good knowledge of advertisement, ads can be personalised according to the targeted customer.
7) Sales Forecasting:
Marketers and advertisers used to forecast sales manually taking into consideration the factors like past sales, weather conditions, market value but there were possibilities of errors. AI is also revolutionising the sales forecast by paying attention to the same factors but more accurately. With minimum error chances, they also take care of CRM systems.
A question is bound to arise as to how far can it foresee? A machine learnt over years can foresee your growth rate to almost 2 years and keep updating it. Your profit ratios, a new competitor’s in the market, anything related to the business and they have it calculated for you.
John Paul, a previous Georgia Tech prof says that AI can help you get business with perishable products. It does not mean groceries but also show tickets, airline seats, etc. by adjusting the price on its own and trying to make as much profit as possible.
Sales forecasting and dynamic pricing are seen in the ecom industry at the time of premium product launch like One Plus on Amazon. To note next time you book a flight they mention that prices are subject to dynamic pricing. Which means they have already deployed an AI to take care of sales, sales forecasting, competitor’s analysis, their pricing techniques, and a consumer’s intention to buy.
I noticed an e-commerce website can guarantee you about their price is the lowest. This is how they do work. AI can track a user’s actions and understand the number of time he visits a website. This can assure them about a user’s willingness to buy a product and pricing is set accordingly.
Artificial Intelligence can also read calendars and set prices of the products according to upcoming special days, religious holidays or festivals and weekends according to the users’ data and the increasing user count.
As talked in our previous article about chatbots, they have proved a boon for the society in a lot of instances. They have made it easier for marketers on the digital platform by performing a lot of tasks accurately and swiftly. Chatbots can perform better than a human attendant and answer a user’s queries searching for data online and keep on learning and getting better. Chatbots help in backlinking to a company’s website or to their social media page increasing their visitors. Chatbots also understand a user’s need and can customize accordingly. More than 50% of people today prefer to have a chat link on a website or facebook enabling a 24*7 customer support.
Chatbots also help in social media marketing. Facebook messenger which is second most used messaging application has more than 34000 chatbots deployed by different business helping them cut cost on human resources and have a more efficient communication method.
9) Email Marketing:
The market generally sees an open rate of emails anywhere between 20%-30%. It was quite high before AI came into the picture. Artificial Intelligence has changed how marketers see the potential in email marketing. Emails took time in drafting and were boring enough for a user to open and read. But with the amount of data available, emails cannot be missed out.
As discussed above, AI has the potential to identify right information for the right target audience. Through artificial intelligence, you can collect, analyse and use that information to target your user in the intriguing manner.
AI can make task easier for you by personalising the data, making it attractive and crisp. This has made the open rate grow and cross the 40% margin. Isn’t this a useful tool for a useful tool for digital marketing?
Albert: Artificial Intelligence developed by Harley Davidson
Let’s read about a case study of Harley Davidson and it’s artificial intelligence agent Albert to know more about the Digital Marketing that Albert helped Harley Davidson with.
“For there to be a technology that knows nothing about us, yet can come and outdo us in its first shot was incredible. We have since increased our commitment to Albert by tenfold and are currently building a call centre to accommodate the leads he’s generating for us.” as quoted by Asaf Jacobi, president of Harley Davidson, New York City.
But what is it that Albert has become so prominent?
Harley Davidson, a premium in its segment hadn’t seen the potential in digital sales before developing Albert. Before Albert, avg sales on a weekend were 8 motorcycles and on the very first weekend, after Albert was deployed in 2016, the sales went up to 15 motorcycles. That was a record Harley NYC had ever seen.
According to Harley Davidson, following are the areas that a human intelligence was not able to punch, which Albert did:
- Identifying unknown audiences.
- Identifying top-performing creative and messaging combinations and prioritising them across all digital channels.
- Pricing and budget allocation across all digital channels (on the fly marketing mix modelling).
Jacobi assumed from his data that only 2% of New York’s citizens are potential customers, whereas Albert estimated a much larger market and began targeting them converting leads into sales.
Harley Davidson claims that after deploying AI Albert, they have seen a steep increase in website views by 566%, 2930% increase in leads/month, and the most important, 40% sales delivered by Albert.
There are numerous examples like Albert in today’s world about artificial intelligence taking over digital marketing and sales. It’s up to a company’s perspective about the field and strategy to adopt. If done right, the technology leaves no place for error or ignorance.