When it comes to digital marketing trends, there are so many areas to keep up with that it can often be overwhelming for an entrepreneur of any kind. It doesn’t matter what kind of industry you are in - the truth is that every business is focused on their online presence (or at least should be). In addition, many are quick to position themselves to take advantage of the latest digital marketing trends.
This can often be expensive and exhausting. It might involve spending a significant amount of money on new software, programs, products, and also hiring agencies to create content for you. It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about video marketing, SEO writing, or automation, everyone is trying to find ways to make sure that they grab as much attention from the consumer as possible, in hopes of conversion. However, one trend isn’t going anywhere - and that is the fact that artificial intelligence is one of the most important technological trends in the world, and will continue to be. It will also change the face of digital marketing forever.
We all understand that artificial intelligence is considered to be revolutionary for the retail sector because it can tell us more information about the consumer than before. While there are some that might be concerned about overall privacy, the truth is that most of us understand that the modern world involves trading some privacy for convenience. That’s why social media networks such as Facebook, which have information on a significant segment of the world population, still boasts BILLIONS of monthly active users. This is even more interesting when one takes into account the fact that Facebook was globally criticized for its role in sharing data that affected the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
We all understand that algorithms are a huge part of search engines, but digital marketers have to understand that artificial intelligence will certainly change the way that we search. While we used to worry about keyword density and top rankings; artificial intelligence will evolve in a more complex manner, taking into account patterns that human beings might not be able to recognize, and user behavior that marketers might not be able to parse through.
The point is that artificial intelligence will constantly be “fluid”, while digital marketers who focus on static rankings and results might get left behind. This is especially true when one considers that more people are searching the web in a more conversational tone. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that individuals can now search the web using smart home products, including the Google Home and Amazon Alexa.
Google is also making significant progress when it comes to utilizing machine learning with its search queries. In fact, Google admitted years ago that a “large fraction” of queries were now handled by Rankbrain. It’s hard to downplay the incredible capability of Rankbrain and what it means for the future. Specifically, Greg Corrado, a Google senior research scientist, offered this statement in 2015 regarding how intuitive Rankbrain can be:
“RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to embed vast amounts of written language into mathematical entities — called vectors — that the computer can understand. If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries.”
We all know that there is more data than ever, which is to be expected when there are billions of individuals that have access to the Internet. Human beings are creating data at an alarming pace, and that also means that artificial intelligence will help to know and track more about us than ever. This will radically change the way that websites and companies personalize the experience to certain individuals.
There’s an iconic company that has recently made a move that truly shows how important artificial intelligence will be to the way that we consume information, products, and services. In fact, several months ago, McDonald’s, one of the most popular fast-food chains in the world, purchased Dynamic Yield. While there was no exact amount announced regarding the purchase; it is believed that McDonald’s paid in the “hundreds of millions” for the company. This is the biggest acquisition that McDonald’s has made in decades, and it has to do with artificial intelligence.
Specifically, McDonald’s is interested in using the technology from Dynamic Yield to suggest menu items to their global network of consumers, that might result in a tremendous amount of additional revenue. Dynamic Yield will be able to take into account the traffic and weather in certain locations and use machine-learning algorithms to boost revenue. The idea is that the technology will also be able to immediately suggest new menu items based on the ones that you have chosen, as well. Steven Easterbrook, the CEO of McDonald’s, is not shy about how he believes artificial intelligence will change personalized retail experiences. He states:
With this acquisition, we’re expanding both our ability to increase the role technology and data will play in our future and the speed with which we’ll be able to implement our vision of creating more personalised experiences for our customers.”
When one considers that McDonald’s is one of the most recognized companies in the world, it’s only right to assume that many other companies will follow its lead.
Of course, personalization can apply to every possible sector, not just fast food. Artificial intelligence is already widely used by internet marketers to determine what to show to what kind of consumer. Machine learning helps companies understand their consumer in a new way, and create a “profile” for them and engage with them in the most meaningful way. This will not only lead to more profits for the company, but ideally - would lead to a more pleasant user experience (UX) for the consumer, as well.
In this modern day and age, we all want to be able to communicate with a company at any time. It doesn’t matter where the company is located, or what their “hours” are, there are countless companies that have understood that the more they are able to engage with the consumer, the better. Of course, human beings are not machines, and they require free time for the other areas of their life.
This is why AI chatbots have become such an integral part of customer service. After all, if you have a question or concern about a product or service, it can be extremely refreshing to know that a chatbot might have an answer for you, at 3 AM, when you are working hard to meet a deadline. While there are certainly some chatbots that might be lacking in terms of overall service, artificial intelligence will allow for chatbots to answer more complex and open questions, which can end up revolutionizing customer service as we know it.
We already see this with brands that no longer speak about “phone hours”, but offer contact information through social messaging apps such as Whatsapp and Slack so that customers can contact them 24/7. This is a huge improvement from having to wait on the phone for hours to get a response, which can affect customer retention and brand reputation.
Chatbots can handle multiple requests at all times of the day, and they can also retain all the data involved. It doesn’t matter how patient a human being is - everyone has their limits. Chatbots are always patient and respectful, no matter what, which is extremely advantageous to an organization of any kind. The chatbot can also be tweaked to make product suggestions, or even provide advice about certain products and/or services, as well. In this way, a chatbot can simultaneously help to personalize the experience, while providing customer experience, and enhancing the overall user experience, all at the same time. It is natural to see how this can help an organization save costs on sales representatives while attending more to customer needs than ever.
We all know that artificial intelligence is coming, and we have all sorts of different ideas about what that will look like. There is no way to completely tell how artificial intelligence will evolve. Even some of the most well-respected figures on the subject, including Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, have expressed concern about how artificial intelligence will affect human civilization.
However, one thing is for sure - it will certainly change digital marketing forever. This is not to say that it human beings will be replaced, but that organizations will be able to know more about the consumer, and how to take advantage of what they do know, thanks to artificial intelligence. There will be more specific suggestions made, more tailored searches that respond to your tone of voice, and more personalized experiences than ever. There will be some consumers that are uncomfortable with this shift, and others will embrace the newfound convenience. Either way, the digital marketer should understand that if their organization is to evolve with the future, it should work on evolving the same way that artificial intelligence does - constantly and completely.