The world of digital marketing is continually evolving. The way customers and businesses interact has, perhaps, been the most affected by changes. At the foundation of the changes, is how both companies and their target audience use technology. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the biggest technological changes we have seen in the last decade.
With AI, machines are now able to think, respond and take action like humans. It doesn’t end there. The AI-based machines can also learn from every task and apply the knowledge to future tasks. Augmented Reality (AR) is a variant of AI that is focused on the pictorial and graphical side of things. It places non-physical objects next to real-life objects. AI and AR are now part and parcel of the marketing experience.
Digital marketers are adopting AI and AR in their strategies to real their target audience better. This post takes a look at the finer details of how AI has changed the game in marketing and how your brand can ensure it doesn’t get left behind.
AI Used in Content Development
Content is the lifeblood of any digital marketing campaign. AI simplifies the process by ensuring that your human copywriters can focus on creating customer-facing content that genuinely requires a human touch. Other elements of content like generating business reports, product descriptions or headline news can be left to AI-based content development solutions.
Big brands like Associated Press and Washington Post have since deployed this strategy. AP generates more than 3,000 reports every quarter using artificial intelligence.
Solutions like Quill use AI to generate quality product descriptions from previously gathered data and your inputs. The end product often requires little or no editing, which means digital marketers get to replicate the quality of a human, but for half the cost. Don’t confuse this with the use of low-quality article spinners. Content generated by quality AI is readable as AP, and other brands have demonstrated.
AI Used in Email Marketing
The growth of social media in the last few years means that email has taken the backbench in many companies’ marketing strategies. However, email marketing is still one of the best ways to generate revenue. With the introduction of AI, email marketing is bound to become even more effective. With AI, you can analyze tons of data around the online habits of your target audience. The data can then be applied to ensure more personalized emails, and increase the overall conversion rates of campaigns.
AI Used in Customer Behaviour Prediction
The self-learning nature of artificial intelligence is one of the best things about it. This is why it can improve virtually any process, including customer behavior prediction. Using AI, digital marketers can closely follow customer groups collectively, monitoring their preferences and overall interactions with your products and services. The data collected can then be used to generate tailor-made offers for your customers.
The AI-generated data can also be deployed in other areas, including customer service and the on-boarding process. Using real and targeted data can deliver better results than running these processes using a blanket approach.
One important benefit of using AI to analyze customer behavior is the fact that it can highlight areas where you can improve your product offerings. By understanding your customers’ buying habits, you can create a more targeted marketing strategy. You will also only commit resources to promote products that people are ready to pay for.
Incorporating AI data analysis with your digital marketing strategies will always yield more results than going it alone with your human limitations. It is the best way to personalize the user experience for your audience, engage them and generate more leads and sales.
Perhaps the best example of this is Amazon’s, AI-powered recommendation system which promotes personalized solutions as people shop. The system takes into consideration the user’s buying history, the items they’ve liked, and what similar customers have bought or viewed. The recommendations show customers items they need but may not have found on the platform, thus contributing to more revenue for the brand.
AI Used in Voice Search Marketing
More than 65% of 25-49 year-olds speak to a voice-enabled device at least once a day. 55% of households are expected to own smart speaker devices by 2022. Digital marketers can no longer ignore voice search today.
More people are conducting searches by speaking to Google, Cortana or Siri instead of entering search terms in a search engine. People want a faster and more user-friendly way to run searches, so the demand for voice search is steadily rising. These AI-powered assistants are changing the way people find information online, and the scientists behind them are making them more powerful. Marketers must, therefore, ensure that their marketing strategies can account for this change in habit. Using more long-tail keywords in website content is a start.
AI Used in Chatbots Creation
Chatbots are, perhaps, the most recognizable form of AI-use in marketing. Chatbots are artificial virtual assistants used to engage customers on your websites, apps and even via email. Chatbots can answer the most common questions that customers have in an engaging and human-like manner.
The coffee giant, Starbucks, is the perfect example of a company deploying the use of chatbots in its digital marketing strategy. Customers can order coffee from the Starbucks Barista bot on Facebook messenger and get the exact order without any human interaction whatsoever. The chatbot is designed to understand even the most complex orders, including special requests. Just talk to it as if you are communicating with a human barista and you will get your order.
Digital marketers can learn from the Starbucks example and deploy chatbots strategically across their digital strategy. Instead of having a bland FAQ page, create an AI-powered solution that makes browsing the FAQ content more direct and engaging for your target audience.
Examples of Brands Incorporating AI and AR into Marketing
One of the main benefits of AI in marketing is that it helps customers to make more informed decisions overall. Gucci is a brand using AR for this purpose. The AR feature on its app is crafted around its sneakers offering. The AR function on the app allows you to try-on new sneakers virtually by pointing the smartphone camera down at your feet. If you don’t like the result, you can swipe away to bring up new sneakers. Users can also take photos of the sneakers in the process of trying them on to share online or for keeps. For now, users can only try on 19 different sneakers, but it is only a matter of time before Gucci expands on this feature.
Asos is one of the best examples of brands embracing technological innovation in marketing as exemplified by the integration of visual search on their mobile app. In 2019, they went a step further by deploying AR in their Virtual Catwalk feature. This feature is designed to improve the visual experience for customers interested in their various products.
To use this feature, go to the product page in the app, point your smartphone to a suitable surface and then click the AR icon. Models will appear immediately, ensuring a more immersive viewing experience that goes beyond just viewing product images.
Sephora’s AR feature is the Virtual Artist tool. It has been in use since 2016 and is a perfect example of the use of AR in the fashion niche. Using this tool, consumers can see how products like lipstick, eyeshadow, false lashes and more will look on their faces. The tool scans the lips and eyes first, before adding the selected products into the mix.
Dulux’s AR feature allows you to see how your wall will look when it is painted with a specific color. All you need to do is to point the smartphone camera to your wall and then choose the areas you intend to paint virtually.
Unfortunately, the visualizer is yet to learn how to separate blanks walls from adorned walls. This means pictures or any other fittings on the wall will be painted over. Still, it is an effective use of AR in marketing.
5. Manchester City and Dallas Cowboys
Manchester City is no stranger to experimenting with AR. The brand has used AR to create more engaging match day programs. To mark its 125th anniversary, however, the brand added AR to the stadium- visitor experience.
As a visitor on tour, you can use AR to meet and interact (virtually) with Pep Guardiola the Manchester City manager. You will also enjoy lots of 3D holographic content and a 360-degree cinema screen, ensuring an unforgettable experience.
Dallas Cowboys is another example of a sports team putting AR to good use with their pose with the pros feature. Fans can select team members and then take a hyper-real picture with them without actually seeing them physically. It has added a new twist to the match-day experience for many fans.
Ikea allows users to try out virtual furniture to see how it fits into the intended space. This ensures customers only ever purchase furniture items that are the perfect fit. The new IKEA AR feature is much better than its existing 3D function because it is 98% accurate in terms of scale and rendering.
Artificial intelligence will continue to revitalise digital marketing and businesses cannot afford to fall behind. By aligning your digital marketing strategies to reflect and incorporate the principles discussed here, you can ensure your business stands out from the crowd. You will also be better positioned to attract an increasingly technologically-savvy target audience.
About the Author!
Rithesh Raghavan ia a Co-Founder and Director at Acodez IT Solutions Pvt Ltd, a multiple international award-winning Digital Agency in India. Having a rich experience of 15+ years in Digital Marketing, Rithesh loves to write up his thoughts on the latest trends and developments in the world of IT and software development.