This article is about Artificial Intelligence
How AI is changing the game of digital marketing
By NIIT Editorial
Published on 09/10/2019
Going AI-First - Why Digital Marketers need to embrace Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
The moment you enjoy any online video, the website offers more videos that ‘you may like’? And it isn’t a surprise that many times those are exactly the kind of videos you would like to watch. Have you also noticed that the apps you use for shopping take no time in listing ‘recommendations’ of products that you may want to buy? What sounds uncanny is actually an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered predictive system operating behind the veils and more often than not, it influences our buying decisions. And this predictive analysis is only scratching the surface of a complex multi-layered system.
During the last decade or so, technology has made several disruptions that have helped marketers reach the right audience with the right message. With each passing day, AI is becoming ever more powerful and tremendously useful, leaving no sector untouched - making its presence felt through its supplementary processes such as Big Data, the Internet of Things, and Machine Learning. Large corporations are investing significant amounts of money in advance research and design of people-centric AI systems, to develop a more humanistic approach to artificial intelligence. Now, even Digital Marketers are shifting their focus from creating content for small screens (mobile-first) to working on incorporating AI into the latest scheme of things (AI first).
Bringing the benefits of AI to Digital Marketing
The data footprint left behind by users on social media is a goldmine for digital marketers. Using built-in algorithms of machine learning, it is now easier than before to do predictive analytics and enable targeted marketing to multiply sales, strengthen the pipeline, and to offer a better customer experience, increasing the ROI. It’s a win-win for the brand and the customers.
Previously, marketers were apprehensive to incorporate AI into their strategies, perhaps due to the ambiguity regarding the results. Now, however, we see a remarkable shift in their confidence to embrace AI. From autonomous targeting and media buying to cross-channel execution, testing and optimization, analytics, and insights there is nothing that AI is unable to do resulting in several industries continuing to reap the benefits. Think optimized decision making, better sales-cycle, and ‘predictive’ buying and selling processes – who wouldn’t want that?
The Role of AI in Digital Marketing
Saying that the role of Artificial Intelligence in digital marketing has been on the rise would be an understatement. Use cases in AI for digital marketing will continue to uptick. E-commerce websites like Amazon deploy it to evaluate patterns in the purchase history, spending power, and website sessions to streamline the products displayed. Others like Spotify, follow a similar implementation routine to process the music taste of listeners and subsequently offer similar songs.
How AI is changing the future of Digital Marketing
From product recommendations to customer service, AI has begun establishing a permanent foothold in each sector of marketing. Below we take a look at the key iterations that AI in digital marketing is bringing about.
There is not an industry that remains untethered from the effects of big data. Marketing requires an appreciable extent of data governance and management. AI has unfurled the hidden capacity of data enabling marketers to see customer engagement with a new lens. The information collected through emails, social media, and website traffic for instance can be processed through algorithms to identify customer preferences.
Google accorded AI the prominence it deserves back in 2015 by introducing RankBrain. The update was targeted to help users search results matching expectations. By integrating natural language processing and semantics into search, Google acquired the ability to zero-in on the most appropriate search results, making the platform a fan favourite. Similar approaches were adopted by the e-commerce giant Amazon.
Lately, there has been a barrage of networking and shopping platforms that have successfully introduced visual search in their algorithms. The functionality makes it easier for people to search with visual queues. Pinterest is a prime example of this. Similarly, Forever21, eBay, and Instagram offer varying levels of visual search.
Product Recommendation Models
Enterprise businesses have been herding years’ of useful customer data in silos. Processed by the right algorithms, they help businesses chart purchase history based on which precise product recommendations can be made. This has been efficiently demonstrated by the OTT platform Netflix, music app Spotify, E-tailer Walmart, and a whole bunch of others.
Businesses are all about profit maximisation. Gone are the days of fixed prices and discounts limited to a few occasions of the year. AI-algorithms are being hard trained to deploy dynamic pricing models that factor in supply and demand. Variating prices, even marginally, amount to monumental gains in revenues. Airbnb, Uber, as well as the Indian Railways system, have acknowledged the use of AI-powered dynamic pricing.
The voice recognition marketplace is expected to reach US$27.16 billion by 2025. Recent developments in AI speech recognition software have ushered the entry of voice-controlled devices such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Chromecast, and Siri by Apple.
Social media is the place to have the best conversations with customers. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. Social listening tools can sift the platform for brand mentions and point out customer sentiment and conversation context. Brands that have a trained workforce in AI, leverage it to streamline responses to queries, say with chatbots, and up their social mojo.
Step up the game
In digital marketing, it isn’t about randomly building AI products or tools, but the idea is to understand AI in totality so that you can put in a conscious effort into the research and development of AI projects that fit within your customer’s daily lives or professions. The concept is to utilize the power of AI to understand and respond to user queries in the same manner as a human would.
Building an ‘AI-first’ digital marketing company or a team requires a deeper change of mindset. In order to be able to truly transform, the focus needs to be on contextual information, using intelligent technology to improve customer experience. It’s about understanding how to pick and approach content for virality for the web and social channels including web pages, banner advertisements, email, SMS, blog, inbound, and mobile marketing to close the ROI loop. Diving deeper, it is about understanding the algorithms of electronic word of mouth and the power of viral marketing, influencer management, and campaign management. It’s about upping the antennas with social listening and sharp observation with Business Intelligence and dashboards for marketing applications and making use of Machine Learning for customer profiling, using analytics tools classification, clustering, and market basket outcomes. For this, you not only need the right software and development tools, but also the appropriate hardware to operate the demanding algorithms.
And while AI helps you target the right audience and understand the buying behavior, it also gives you a realistic picture of your firm’s resources and capabilities letting you manage the product and the brand through the right advertising and sales promotion including social, mobile, analytics and cloud. This is the bigger picture.
The smart thing to do in order to assess the impact of digital and social media marketing is imperative to create a road map for digital marketing initiatives and integrating offline and online channels. Understanding ROI for digital marketing projects would help you in leading and managing the projects better. You would then focus on the strategic role of Big Data and emerging technologies for digital marketing, pumping it with innovation and the right amount of funding, championing, and sustaining digital marketing initiatives.
And that is why at NIIT, we have built comprehensive multi-modal courses on digital marketing. These courses not only strengthen your knowledge of traditional marketing management theories but also provide you an in-depth knowledge of digital marketing and analytics concepts teaching you to plan, implement, and measure a digital marketing strategy. Further, the courses prepare you to build a project of your choice on digital and social media marketing ably guided by an instructor. It also qualifies you for digital disruption in marketing for branding, sales, advertising, and customer management.