Artificial intelligence promises to disrupt every industry within time. Digital marketing will be one of the first fields to undergo some significant changes. Even if most marketers are unprepared for this change, there’s an army of front-runners waiting to get their hands dirty using AI in marketing.
The big reason behind why online marketing is bound for an early AI makeover is that automation has come rather far in online marketing. At least if we compared it to other industries. Automation is a good stepping stone for AI since an automatable process shares a lot of needs with AI, like well-structured data and clear goals. As long as the automated system have large enough data sets from which AI can draw conclusions.
Additionally, a lot of Martech startups are enthusiastically adding AI to new and already existing marketing tools. The promise to optimise and personalise marketing campaigns across channels, creating larger ROIs and better user experiences, is lucrative for a myriad of start-up businesses.
AI-driven digital marketing will soon be the norm. The effect will be so significant that the current paradigm will seem tedious and blunt when we look back.
AI will reinvent marketing in these three ways first:
1. Optimising campaigns
The possibility to use AI for ad optimisation is already in place. Tools like Smartly, Codewise, Albert and Frank, can significantly reduce the manual effort in your ad buying process making it possible for marketers to place thousands of ads across multiple ad networks smoothly.
These tools effectively run themselves, learning over time what works and not. Three parts of ad optimisation are low hanging fruit for an AI: 1. automated bidding, 2. pausing poorly performing ads, and 3. dynamic ad creation, (using templates to create personalised ads from a catalogue of pre-defined assets).
AI has already created new tactics for campaign optimisation, but it also lowers the cost of running campaigns. I’ve been in some projects where we get 200 % better results from the same budget, compared to buying ads manually through a media agency. And on top of that, we don’t have to pay the media agency.
Most human marketers don’t wanna spend their time to optimise ads at night, when most of the optimisation is needed. But with predefined parameters, such as budgets, placements and frequency caps, AI can already run campaigns with almost no human interaction.
Google claims that by optimising the placement of local search ads automatically, their “Smart campaigns” delivers three times the performance of the old AdWords platform it replaces.
Who? When? Where? What? The million dollar question every marketer wants to answer is perfect for AI. Personalised marketing messages are about identifying who you are talking to, makings sure to feed that person the right message, at the right time, in the right channel. Orchestrating all of this demands a lot of input, but when that data is in place, you can move on to do better things.
AI will automate marketing personalisation. Partly by speeding up the decision-making to (perceived) real-time, calculating and feeding messages to your audience. Continually testing an iterating to optimise towards your goals. But also by helping you to act faster on the insights currently hidden in reports you get at most once a week.
Your role as a marketer will be to define the data points for your AI to base its calculations on, describe your customer and the end goal. Your AI will determine what kind of personalisation work best for a specific user and automate customer interaction completely.
3. Analysing data
Within marketing analytics, we already have millions of data points to analyse. The amount of information is so comprehensive it’s hard for a human to process it all. With an AI analyst at your service, you can get pre-processed insights making it possible to make smart decisions.
AI will take over the process of capturing, cleaning, and parsing data –enabling much faster analysis and more accurate predictions. The recommendations you can get from an AI will be detailed, for example, it could suggest adding a specific touch point when leads are generated from landing pages while removing one when they are generated through organic search.
Because AI never sleeps – and works at scale – it will deliver recommendations almost in real-time. E-commerce is one field that will benefit significantly from this type of AI-driven decision-making. The A/B-testing process will become much less tedious when the suggestions on what to change on your e-commerce site become very detailed. And soon the AI won’t only suggest changes, it will implement them on your website in real-time.
There’s a lot of gems hidden in any marketing analytics tool today. It’s hard to comprehend it all, just because of the volume. With AI, marketers will be able to have an extremely data-driven approach, without spending all day in a business intelligence tool.
The challenges for AI in marketing
As with most new technology, set-up will be the weak spot to get the AI tools in place. Companies need well-structured data for their AI systems to learn from, and it needs feedback to continually learn and develop over time.
It’s no coincidence that the companies with the most data are at the forefront of using AI for marketing. But we can already see that new more accessible AI-tools makes it possible for small companies to benefit as well. And sometimes they have even more to gain when the costs are reduced, and the results are improved.
And one last thing: This is happening today – not in 5 or 10 years. So you probably should get moving.