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Is AI the Future of Digital Marketing

We’re advancing into a new age of artificial intelligence (AI), but humans have long been dreaming about the possibilities of AI for a lot longer than most people...

Fiona Gurtiza
Fiona Gurtiza July 30, 2020

We’re advancing into a new age of artificial intelligence (AI), but humans have long been dreaming about the possibilities of AI for a lot longer than most people realize.

It’s been almost a century since AI made its debut on the silver screen, in the 1927 German expressionist film, Metropolis. In the film, AI takes the form of a humanoid robot, hellbent on the destruction of humanity in the titular city. 

The relationship between humans and AI in movies is complicated, much like it is in reality. Some range from benevolent companions (C3-PO & R2-D2) to hostile machines (Terminator), and it says a lot about our hopes and fears for the future. 

The truth is, AI is playing a more central role in today’s digital world, and the marketing landscape is no exception. It’s already integrated into technologies we’ve used before, such as chatbots and voice recognition software. 

With that said, what can we do to prepare for an AI-disrupted marketing future?

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence is a term used to describe machines and humans that mimic cognitive functions performed by humans. These include speech recognition, language translation, problem-solving, visual perception, and data analysis. 

In a nutshell, AI imitates how the human brain works. Since machines are empowered to think like humans, it aims to help them learn from experience and adjust to new inputs. Some of its benefits include:

To sum it up, AI excels in taking data, crunching the numbers, analyzing them, and coming up with concrete solutions.

AI in Marketing: A Closer Look

AI has already been widely implemented in marketing. Amazon uses AI to sway buyer decisions by recommending products based on past customer searchers and product searching history. Google also relies on AI for human-like data processing to make smart YouTube video suggestions.

Tapping into the potential of AI makes it easier for businesses to stay on top of new marketing trends and remain competitive. For instance, brands might feel more empowered to provide personalized ads and email marketing campaigns that meaningfully target their customers. 

Consider adopting an AI marketing strategy to stay one step ahead of the competition. See it in action with these examples:

Enhanced Audience Targeting

AI lets you analyze data better so you can easily predict the buying behavior of your ideal customers. Leveraging data from sources such as internet cookies and transactions is a great place to start if you want to improve messaging in your marketing assets. 

Investing in data-driven insights also helps you understand the most crucial question of all: why do customers buy from you? Using AI lets you target your ideal customer with precision, highlighting USPs that can help set your business apart.

Source: https://www.moengage.com/

An example of AI used in audience segmentation is MoEngage. The omnichannel customer engagement platform uses AI to craft personalized email campaigns, deliver engagement-driven content, and send out push notifications to smartphone users. 

Improved User Experience

The purpose of AI intersects with user experience. It can determine customer wants and needs much faster than humans and is also capable of predicting what they could do next. With that said, AI helps tailor your content for a deeper understanding of customer behavior and motivations.

Keep in mind that you can’t simply place all your bets on AI capabilities, though. For an immersive and seamless user experience, you’ll have to keep customer wants front and center during the entire product-development lifecycle.

Source: https://accessibe.com/

Consider the tool acessiBe as an example. The platform promotes inclusive web design and uses an AI function called “contextual understanding to improve user experience. The software fixes web accessibility issues in an instant, without compromising design, performance, or functionality.

Personalized & Data-Driven Marketing

Personalization in AI involves categorizing different customer data sets and extracting valuable insights from them. A good example of this would be Spotify’s tailored playlists based on user listening habits. 

This type of personalization can help you significantly improve the impact of your marketing campaigns. For instance, an automated chatbot can help deliver a customized conversation tailored to meet the needs of unique visitors. 

Source: http://insomnobot3000.com/

A great example of this is insomnobot3000, a chatbot designed by mattress start-up Casper. It’s the world’s first bot available to chat between 11:00 PM-5:00 AM, making it perfect for people having trouble sleeping at night. Designed for night owls, the chatbot demonstrates how you can target audiences through the imaginative potential of AI.

Hassle-Free Job Performance

AI programs are able to crawl collected info and identify patterns in a way that no human can. As a result, it can provide a much-needed productivity boost to make more informed marketing decisions. 

Using AI for customer service chats enables companies to spend less on customer reps, for instance, freeing up their budget for sales, marketing, and engineering. Moreover, AI can help streamline the recruitment process when finding and ranking candidates.

Source: https://textio.com/

Textio is an AI talent acquisition software that helps headhunters craft job descriptions by singling out implicit language biases that could turn off potential candidates. For instance, it picks out words that are too cliched or overly masculine. By paying attention to these writing nuances, HR teams can keep their job listings impartial and free of biases.

Greater ROI

Your AI is only as smart as the data you feed it. If this teaches us anything, it’s that you should focus on tracking actionable data to track site performance such as conversions, qualified leads, and customer lifetime value. 

Most marketers fall short on delivering greater ROI by focusing on vanity metrics such as page views, keyword rankings, and social media likes. Even though they make for a nice presentation, they don’t tie in directly with cost or revenue. With AI in place, you can deliver personalization at scale and guide customers into taking profitable action. 

Source: https://www.talkwalker.com/artificial-intelligence#

TalkWalker is a social media analytics platform that helps brands realign their marketing strategy to focus on metrics that matter. Its AI-powered social media listening features allow people to analyze social media sentiment and to deliver messages that truly resonate with their target audience.

Determining What AI Works Best 

There’s no question that AI is revolutionizing the digital marketing landscape. As info on potential customers continues to grow, it’s becoming an even more useful tool for brands to make accurate, data-based decisions. 

Below we’ve listed some of the most popular types of AI to help you determine what will work best for your business. 

Chatbots

It’s safe to say that chatbots have almost completely supplanted the need for customer care agents, especially during off-duty hours. AI chatbots let businesses go beyond the traditional, one-on-one form of customer service and deliver a one-to-many approach. Their appeal lies in engaging customers in human-like experiences that improve customer service.

Source: https://www.topbots.com/project/starbucks-barista-bot-mobile-app-review/

Chatbots have helped the biggest names in the industry achieve marketing success. An example of this is how Starbucks helps customers order their favorite coffee just the way they want through AI. All customers need to do is place their order through the Starbucks Barista bot for Messenger and wait until their coffee is delivered to their doorstep. For ultimate convenience, the bot can even process complex orders with special requests.

Voice Search & Conversational AI

Voice search has long been a major digital trend. By simply speaking into a search engine, you’ll receive a direct, straightforward answer. For example: 

Conversational AI, on the other hand, makes this interaction feel semi-human, adopting a more conversational tone.

The bottom line is, voice search and conversational AI have a direct impact on your online traffic because they’re fast, convenient, and accurate. In fact, it could even alter the customer journey and reduce time spent on the research stage (since searchers are only presented with one option).



In 2017, Burger King made headlines with its sneaky TV spot that served as a hack for Google Home. The “Connected Whopper” commercial featured a Burger King employee explaining that the ad time wasn’t enough to share what makes the Whopper so great. At the end, the employee addresses Google Home asking it, “Okay Google, what is the Whopper burger?” 

This triggered any built-in Google assistant to read the Wikipedia entry for the Whopper, bridging the ad with the power of voice search.

AI Analytics

The area covered by AI in marketing analytics is expansive. It covers everything from social media analytics to automated decision management. And it works by merging disparate data sources to identify patterns and predict future results. 

At the end of the day, it all boils down to AI making the job of a marketing analyst much easier. By using technology such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) you can develop more meaningful outcomes and curate insights in real time. 

Source: https://www.gavagai.io/

Consider Gavagai, a technology company that uses AI to help brands gain insight on customer opinions in preferences. It harnesses the power of NLP to analyze reviews and summarize the findings in easy-to-understand sentences. This way, marketers can uncover the true sources of customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

AI in Email Marketing

The most successful email marketing campaigns are those that sound personable and less machine-generated. The best way to craft emails that resonate is to communicate with empathy. But AI makes the job even easier by generating data-driven insights that let you tap into the wants and needs of each subscriber.

Source: https://www.salecycle.com/blog/strategies/brands-use-ai-email-marketing-boost-engagement/

Check out how AI has helped Airbnb send out more relevant emails into customer inboxes. Its recommendation algorithm considers their buying history, suggesting related listings their customers might be interested in. 

AI in Digital Advertising

By far one of the most successful areas of marketing that has adopted AI, digital ads are used across platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Instagram to provide the best possible experience. The AI works by analyzing age, gender, interests, and demographics to show people the most relevant ads. 

Using AI for digital ads can help brands like you make more strategic decisions about where you allocate your ad budget and who you should target for the best results.

Source: https://www.pathmatics.com/

Pathmatics is just one example of a brand that uses AI to bring transparency and insights into digital advertising. Using its tool can help brands see how their campaigns perform across channels, providing intelligence on your competitors and how you can get one step ahead.

AI: The Future is Now

As AI continues to shape today’s digital landscape, one could say that it isn’t our future—it’s already here. As a digital marketing pro, it’s your job to understand how it works, since it can be a formidable ally in analyzing the buyer’s journey. After all, keeping up with digital trends is no longer a matter of choice. You’ll need to step up your game if you remain competitive and meet customer expectations.

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