Talk to any marketer today, in any sub-discipline and within 5 minutes the conversation will have steered toward talking about artificial intelligence (AI). It’s a hot topic right now because of the rapid growth it has seen–according to MEMSQL, 61% of marketers are now saying that AI is the most important aspect of their data strategy.
Some marketers are worried that the robots are coming to take their jobs but most of us believe that AI is an effective tool that will augment humans rather than replace them. In automating tasks with AI we can often remove aspects from our jobs that are time-consuming and tedious, while also getting more in-depth information that allows us to implement more creative and engaging campaigns.
Is The Digital Marketing Sector Embracing Artificial Intelligence?
As the demand for AI-based tools grows within the digital marketing sector, more and more innovative startups are appearing with AI solutions to problems marketers encounter in their jobs.
In a 2016 survey, Hubspot found that only 11% of US companies were not interested in interacting with AI-based tools, meaning a whopping 89% were interested in some way. It is no surprise then, that AI is finding its way into all areas of marketing, with companies creating tools to make marketers lives a little easier.
Areas of Digital Marketing Being Disrupted by Artificial Intelligence
Content marketing is, and will likely always remain a very human field. It requires skills such as storytelling and creativity, skills that AI is not currently able to do at a level that can match humans. So, where does AI fit in for content marketers?
Marketing as a whole has become a lot more data-driven field over the years, with tools like Google Analytics you can build a very clear picture of how users are engaging with your content. The problem is the sheer volume of data available and deciding which metrics to measure and then analyzing what those metrics tell you.
In 2019, we will likely see that more content marketers get to go back to doing what they love –writing great content–and have to spend less time analysing data, as AI automates this part of their role.
Content Marketing AI makes all aspects of content marketing analysis easy, from initial content audits to continued performance measurements. It also has the power to interpret the data it records and give actionable insights to the marketer, suggesting edits to content for things like grammar and spelling as well as the tone of voice and structure. By incorporating AI in 2019, content marketers will find it much easier to optimise their content and get greater feedback and engagement from their audiences.
SEO is one of the areas of marketing that changes at the fastest pace. Google only launched 20 years ago, and in that time the tactics marketers have used to rank for search terms relevant to their business has changed dramatically.
With search engines like Google processing 63,000 searches a second it is only logical that they would be using AI and machine learning to make this possible. One of the big influences that AI has had on SEO is the Google algorithm update RankBrain.
RankBrain is a component of the algorithm that uses machine learning to help determine what the most relevant links are for a particular search term. It has allowed Google to become more adept than ever before at processing data and is believed to help Google understand search intent.
Google teaches the machine learning aspect of its algorithm using data from a variety of sources, to allow it to understand the signals that match a good search result and change page rankings based on this.
This more intuitive way of determining results has meant that digital marketers have had to veer away from blackhat SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing and focus more on creating high-quality content. Continued AI updates in the algorithm mean that in 2019 marketers will be shifting the focus back to user behaviour, concentrating on things like bounce rate and time on page to ensure they maintain or improve their current positions in the SERPs.
Email marketing has seen a huge trend towards automation and we will see AI continue to push these boundaries in 2019. According to Forrester’s Research, businesses who are using AI to drive marketing will gain $1.2 trillion per annum over those who aren’t. No business wants to be the one losing out on those kinds of numbers, so this will be the year that AI is truly embraced in the marketing sector.
AI can be used for a range of elements of email marketing, from boosting collaborations to personalization as well as analysing data from campaigns. This year we will see the biggest changes come in the form of personalization, as AI becomes an email marketer best friend.
Personalized content is starting to become more deliberate, accurately based on past consumer behaviour and AI is fueling this much-needed change. Using consumer data is becoming less “creepy” especially when it gives consumers a better experience and AI platforms are beginning to allow businesses to do this at a large scale.
Consumer data such as content choices, clicks, purchases and other behaviours can be gathered and applied to email marketing strategy. Through innovative AI technology marketers can then identify the content and products that will perform best with their audience at an individual level and create personalized email marketing campaigns based on this information leading to higher CTR and a greater ROI.
While all these AI solutions have the potential to provide huge benefits to marketers, as AI becomes an industry standard and a label on more products and services, it will become more important for marketers to remain vigilant.
One issue with trends is that they can cause you to feel like your falling behind which leads you to make impulsive buying decisions. Businesses need to identify where their problems are and thoroughly tests and research potential AI solutions to them to ensure they implement the most effective option.
This year will be a pivotal year for AI as marketers see the ROI it can provide them when properly implemented. We will see that over the coming months AI moves from being hype and a buzzword to becoming more mainstream as it is embraced by small businesses and enterprises alike. Is this year going to be the year your business embraces AI in your marketing?