Artificial intelligence has disrupted many industries, and has now made its way into marketing. What was once considered a pipedream or restricted only to sci-fi movies has now manifested into reality. Terms such as artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, and natural language processing have now become a frequent part of marketers’ vocabulary.
A Brief Review of AI and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence is a field of computer science that focuses on building intelligent systems that replicate human problem solving capabilities.
As a subset of AI, machine learning (ML) uses data to enable the intelligent machines to learn on their own without the need to program them. For years, programmers had to hard-code instructions to get the desired output, but with the development of machine learning, computers learn on their own by recognizing patterns from the available data.
What Is the Impact of AI and ML on Marketing?
With so much hype surrounding AI and machine learning in particular, let’s see how they can boost your marketing.
Recommendation engine is a great example of artificial intelligence. Recommendation engines are how ecommerce websites entice you to make more purchases, or Netflix hooks you to binge watch series after series. If you’ve ever seen people who buy x, also buy y recommendations on an ecommerce website, that’s collaborative filtering algorithm in practice, one of the two types of recommendation systems. Collaborative filtering algorithm makes recommendations based on your behaviors, activities and preferences as well as the same of people with similar characteristics.
Another type of recommendation system is based on content-based filtering, also known as cognitive filtering. It compares products based on their features or properties. For example, a B2B CRM vendor might segregate its blog articles based on categories such as marketing automation, email marketing, social media marketing etc. and show more of same blog posts who express interest in a particular category.
Bots writing content might sound surprising, but it’s really happening. Although they are not yet that sophisticated to write editorial content, blog posts or opinionated articles, they are capable of writing reports and news articles based on data and keywords. Services like WordSmith, Quill and Articoolo have already started churning out content that closely resembles to that of a human writer.
Search Engine Optimization
Deemed as the third most important ranking signal, Google’s RankBrain algorithm thrives on machine learning to understand search queries (keywords) and determine the most relevant results to the queries. Google’s Gary Illyes has shared an advice to optimize your website for RankBrain where he says, “Optimizing for RankBrain is actually super easy, and it is something we’ve probably been saying for fifteen years now, is – and the recommendation is – to write in natural language. Try to write content that sounds human. If you try to write like a machine then RankBrain will just get confused and probably just pushes you back.
But if you have a content site, try to read out some of your articles or whatever you wrote, and ask people whether it sounds natural. If it sounds conversational, if it sounds like natural language that we would use in your day to day life, then sure, you are optimized for RankBrain. If it doesn’t, then you are un-optimized.”
Another trend that is all the rage at the moment is, voice search. With virtual assistants like Amazon Echo, Google Home, Google Now, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft Cortana getting mainstream adoption, ComScore has predicted that, by 2020, 50% of the searches will consist of voice searches. Therefore, optimize your website for natural language queries, because people would prefer asking“Ok Google, what are some coffee shops near me” instead of “best coffee shops in los angeles.”
Chatbots possess the capability to scale customer support function on a massive level. They can mirror human conversational skills without giving you a hint that what you are communicating with is not a human, but an artificial conversational entity. Their strength lies in how rapidly they adapt due to their machine learning capabilities and their omnichannel presence. You can integrate chatbots with your website, mobile and other platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, WhatsApp, Kik, Telegram just to name a few. Their immense potential to improve the way Marketing is done has led to brands making them an integral part of their marketing strategy.
Digital marketers used to spend hours optimizing metrics such as cost per click, cost per install, cost per acquisition etc. But with the introduction of AI in digital ad platforms such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, it’s become easy to manage your ads and ad spend. As Marvin Chow (VP of Marketing, Google) has said, “AI and machine learning could get us closer to of one of advertising’s most-sought goals: relevance at scale.”
These platforms analyze behavior, interests, demographic characteristics, location and other parameters of their user base to determine the most suitable audience for the ad. The platforms further allow automatic bid adjustment optimizing advertiser’s ad spend and getting bang for their buck.
The Future of AI and ML
To unlock the full potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning, companies need vast amounts of data. The adoption of AI is sometimes met with criticisms such as, “Machines will take away our jobs.” But nothing could be further from the truth. Change is difficult and uncomfortable. But the sooner you understand that AI is your ally, the better off you will be in automating and scaling your marketing efforts.