Part of the fun of digital marketing is finding new tools to play around with. Finding a new SaaS to try out, experimenting with its functions, and discovering how to push its boundaries is thrilling—or is that just me?
The recent onslaught of artificial intelligence (AI) and AI-driven tools have given us all a lot of new toys and tools to play with and add to our digital marketing toolboxes. AI has come a long way since its inception, and it continues to build and improve at an increasing rate.
And with these new tools come new digital marketing trends. But as the technology continues to evolve, so will the tools and trends that utilize it.
So, what does the ever-involving status of AI mean for the future of digital marketing? First, we should recognize that separating the two will become increasingly difficult. The future of digital and online marketing is intertwined with the advancements in AI.
As AI technologies evolve, digital marketers must stay informed and adaptable, ready to leverage AI’s potential to drive their marketing success. The fusion of AI and digital marketing promises a dynamic, personalized, and data-driven future, propelling the industry into exciting new frontiers.
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AI and Digital Marketing
At its core, AI refers to the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, particularly computer systems. These processes encompass learning (acquiring information and rules for using it), reasoning (using rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions), and self-correction. Specialized AI branches, such as machine learning and deep learning, further enhance these capabilities, enabling more sophisticated applications.
Digital marketing, on the other hand, involves promoting products or services using digital technologies, mainly through the internet and mobile phones, display advertising, or other digital mediums. It’s a significant shift from traditional marketing, offering more precise targeting, comprehensive data analytics, and higher ROI.
AI technologies have started to permeate this digital marketing landscape, bringing about transformative changes. AI can streamline and automate processes, deliver personalized experiences, and provide actionable insights, all of which are instrumental in crafting a successful digital marketing strategy.
AI can also be used to generate content that, on the surface, appears to be made or written by a human. However, it’s important to remember that (at this moment, at least) AI can’t actually think like a human—it only has the appearance of thinking like one. Of course, this could change in the future.
But what could that mean for digital marketing and the humans who do it?
AI Technologies Shaping the Future of Digital Marketing
There are several ways AI is set to redefine the future of all types of digital marketing. In many ways, AI has already taken over many aspects of digital marketing—whether we’ve realized it or not!
Some key AI-driven digital marketing trends and technologies include:
Search Engines and Voice Search
One of the first areas where most people encounter AI is search engines. Modern search engines use AI and machine learning to improve search results, understand user intent, and predict what users might want. This is nothing new, and it’s part of what we generally refer to as “The Algorithm(TM).” The rules for appearing in more search results will always change with trends in The Algorithm. For now, SEO and clear, helpful content remain king for digital marketers. Moving forward, we’ll just have to keep our eye on AI-driven trends to ensure our content reaches our target audience.
This includes figuring out voice search, as well. With the advent of digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant, voice search is becoming increasingly popular. As a result, digital marketers need to consider how their content appears in voice search results, heralding a new era in SEO strategies.
Content Generation and Curation
Content is the lifeblood of any digital marketing strategy. AI can support content marketers by streamlining the content creation process. With natural language generation, AI can produce simple content like social media posts, blog posts, and news articles, freeing up time for marketers to focus on more complex tasks. Currently, these options aren’t perfect and generally require human intervention—either through fact-checking the content, polishing it, or even completely rewriting it.
As the AI continues to improve, however, this could change. As I mentioned before, AI can’t actually think like a human—but when/if it does, the content it creates will probably vastly improve. It’s exciting to see what type of content it could create in the future, with our fingers tightly crossed that there will still be room for human-created content within that context.
As digital marketers, it will be up to us to find our roles within that space, but I’m confident that space will exist for us. After all, we’re marketing to humans, not to AI. So, humans should be involved somewhere in that process.
In addition to creating content, AI can also aid in content curation. Again—”The Algorithm (TM).” AI can recommend personalized content by understanding user preferences and behavior, enhancing user engagement and satisfaction. As this becomes even more prevalent, we digital marketers must ensure our strategies remain adaptable to help us catch on to algorithm-based trends to help our content reach our audiences.
Influencer and affiliate marketing has become a staple of many brands’ digital and social media marketing strategies. AI can help brands identify the right influencers for their campaigns by analyzing social media data to determine who has the most influence over potential customers. This is not unlike using data to find and reach our target audiences. Only this way, AI helps us find who our target audience is watching so we can partner with them and continue to build our online community.
It’s just a new, fancy, AI-driven version of an old-school tactic: product placement.
Personalized Email Marketing
AI also has a significant role in revolutionizing email marketing. By analyzing user behavior, AI can help email marketers send personalized emails to their audience at the right time, significantly increasing click-through rates and conversions. AI will also be useful in helping generate that personalized content, especially since email marketing campaigns often use a defined structure that the AI can easily follow.
Predictive Analysis and Customer Insights
One of AI’s most significant strengths is its ability to process vast amounts of data and derive meaningful insights. Through AI, marketers can predict customer behavior, anticipate market trends, and make data-driven decisions. This can improve everything from product development to marketing campaign planning.
Again, this is simply an AI-driven version of collecting and analyzing data. Currently, it still requires human intervention to ensure the data is clean and useful. But as AI gets better at cleaning and verifying its own data, this will provide more time for marketers to devote to other tasks.
Embracing AI in Digital Marketing Strategy
As digital marketers, we must face the inevitable: we can’t escape AI, especially as we move into the future. Remember that the more AI improves, the more it will become necessary to use it to remain competitive.
And that’s why we should all be using AI right now. The sooner we integrate AI into our current digital marketing strategies, the more ready we’ll be when the future arrives. A wide array of AI-driven tools exist, so I recommend searching online and experimenting with tools to find which ones work best for you and your needs.
Here are a few ways we can use AI in digital marketing right now:
Understand Your Customers Better
AI can help you gain a deeper understanding of your customers. By analyzing data from various touchpoints, AI can identify patterns in customer behavior and provide insights into their preferences, expectations, and buying journey. This enables you to tailor your marketing efforts to meet your customers’ needs.
AI can handle many tasks, from content creation to customer service. Automating these tasks saves time and resources and eliminates the possibility of human error, enhancing efficiency and accuracy.
AI can personalize customer experiences like never before. From product recommendations to personalized emails, AI can help you deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, significantly enhancing customer engagement and conversion rates.
Optimize Your Marketing Campaigns
Through predictive analysis, AI can help you optimize your marketing campaigns. By analyzing past campaign data, AI can predict what strategies will work best in the future, helping you make informed decisions and maximize your ROI.
The Big Lesson
Digital marketing will always be about matching the right product, service, or message to the right audience. Of course, we can’t predict the future, but that aspect of marketing has never changed, so it’s unlikely to do so in the future.
The only things that will change are the tools we use and our role in the marketing process. That means the biggest lesson we can learn in the AI revolution is adaptability.
Because AI evolves at an ever-increasing rate, the way we use it will change quickly. As long as we remain open to learning how to use new tools and become comfortable with an ever-changing role in the marketing process, we’ll be able to carve out a space for ourselves as the human arm of a technological body.
I believe that space will always exist—and staying adaptable will always help us find it.