When you think of digital marketing, the first thing that comes to mind is probably paid advertisements online: banners, pop-ups, Google ads, sponsored posts, that kind of thing. In the early days of the internet, that was how businesses connected with potential customers. They digitalised the same practices already being applied in the physical world.
And that’s a fantastic starting point. The aim is always to raise awareness of your business with people who fall into your target market. That’s why those methods have stood the test of time.
But as the way we use the internet has developed, the potential avenues for digital marketing have expanded. The digital world is now where we communicate, connect and research. Email, Google search and social media are now embedded into our daily lives, and that relationship looks set to grow more intense in the coming years.
As a result, the practice of digital marketing has moved far beyond those foundational approaches. Internet users have grown savvier and technology has advanced, so there are now more ways than ever to communicate your brand and engage with your potential audience.
At the cutting edge of that process is artificial intelligence (AI), a broad term generally designated to machines or systems capable of interpreting data and using it to achieve goals. You may believe that AI is only found in science fiction movies, but in reality its already having a huge impact on digital marketing.
Here are a few examples of how digital marketing and AI are working seamlessly together, today.
The rise of digital assistants
If you’ve ever used a digital assistant - Amazon Alexa, Google, Siri, Cortana and more - you’ve been benefiting from sophisticated AI. These systems use natural language processing to interpret your words and provide answers to your queries.
As they grow smarter and more capable, voice assistants are becoming a significant part of the digital marketing landscape. For companies like Google, Amazon and Apple, these assistants tighten the link between users and their products and services.
Google Duplex will run your queries through Google. Cortana will use Bing. Siri integrates with a range of Apple’s core products.
A few years ago, voice search queries online were pretty much non-existent. But as the technology becomes more commonplace, the landscape is shifting dramatically.
A recent study from SEO specialists BrightLocal found that in the UK in 2018:
– 58% of consumers used voice search to find local business information within the last year
– 46% of voice search users look for a local business daily
– 27% visit the website of a local business after conducting a voice search
– 76% of smart home speaker users conduct local searches at least once aweek—with 53% performing daily searches
An analysis by ComScore predicted that 50% of all searches will be accomplished by voice search in 2020.
The statistics don’t lie. There’s plenty of talk in SEO circles about how website content and digital adverts should now be tailored to reflect this trend. In the future, it seems inevitable that AI, natural language processing and voice search will make typing queries a thing of the past.
A more basic form of AI that you’ve probably bumped into online is the chatbot. These pop-up helpers often appear when you're browsing a website or using a platform like Slack or Facebook Messenger. They attempt to interpret your typed request and point you in the right direction for a solution.
These chatbots are essentially just software simulating the act of a conversation. Because they are context-specific and trained with data that’s relevant to what they expect you to be looking for, they are easy to confuse.
Ask a chatbot on a bank’s website about the meaning of life rather than mortgage rates and you’ll see what we mean.
Nevertheless, these chatbots provide an important digital marketing service. They make customers feel listened to out of hours when no human staff are on hand to provide assistance. They can also be crafted to use a database full of responses that are ‘on brand’. Which is important, because these bots are often the first point of contact for customers, qualifying sales leads, and, unlike a human, able to help countless people at a time.
Among the most well-known forms of AI is machine learning, in which a system churns through mountains of data to spot patterns and trends beyond what humans might be able to discover.
Organisations of all kinds are using AI to improve sales and marketing performance. With enough data, you can see what’s driving leads, how best to interact with customers, when to send emails, how to adjust pricing strategy and much, much more.
Salesforce is one example of an industry-leader making headway with AI. The company’s Einstein platform combines machine learning with deep learning, predictive analytics and natural language processing to offer context-dependant insights, predict the future behaviour of leads and, best of all, recommend the next actions employees can take to drive sales.
The final example of AI being put to work in digital marketing comes in the form of campaign optimisation, which is essentially what we do here at Adriel.
Designing and managing online advertisements can be a time-consuming and confusing task for small business owners. So rather than becoming an SEO, AdWords and localisation expert overnight (or spending a fortune to hire one), our AI optimises online ads to ensure they are seen by your target market, drive more traffic to your website and, as a result, improve your sales.
Better still, our AI is always learning: With every successful campaign it gets a little smarter.
If you’d like to find out more about how Adriel can simplify and amplify your online advertising, visit our product page here.