Every year, December is the month when the predictions start for next year.
By the time December ends, you are flooded with Articles like “5 Ways ____ industry will change next year” or “Watch out for ____ because it will change the way you ___ in year ___”.
No doubt, you are overwhelmed with all the information put on your face – wondering, seriously? Is this even a trend?
Worse! Why do all the articles sound the same? Are they really talking about the future of digital marketing?
All this flood of information seriously makes you question the role of content in digital marketing. I mean, is the content even written for users? or is it just made up for search engines?
Yet, in between all the overflowing information, I manage to catch two trends at the end of the year 2017.
They were – Impact of AI on Digital Marketing and How textual content will make way for Video Content in the year 2018?
How Artificial Intelligence affects Digital Marketing:
Artificial Intelligence aka AI is a trend which had caught fancy of our imagination years back.
For me, the first rendezvous with AI (although virtual – the irony) was when I first watched Matrix.
Oh Boy! The AI-driven stuff was killing it there.
It was fascinating to see the Big Computer knocking down the whole human race. This was further followed by Will Smith’s “i-robot” – A movie where the AI-driven robots wreak havoc across a city which was all but driven by AI.
Again – all the scary stuff they have been feeding me through Hollywood since I was a kid hasn’t really made AI – look like the “nicest guy” in the word.
In fact, the association I have with AI (courtesy: Hollywood) is more about “The end of the world is near than We are here to help you”.
And the prejudices would have remained there, had I not moved away from Hollywood and read some real stuff about AI and Digital marketing.
So, how will AI help or change digital marketing in the year 2018?
Before I get down to writing about how AI will help or can help Digital Marketing, let me just simplify AI for you.
AI for me is automation or self-driven workflows executed by machines based on the data gathered over a time duration.
I will give you a basic example of AI in the digital world.
Let’s take ecommerce industry as an example and how AI is bound to give a better experience to all of us in ecommerce industry.
Here is a hypothetical scenario which might not a distant possibility.
You visit an ecommerce store and buy a pair of formal shoes from the store. The next time you buy a formal trouser from the same ecommerce store.
Now, what role can AI play here to make your next experience a better experience?
How about, the next time you visit the same ecommerce store, the website will automatically show you a formal shirt which goes with the shoes and trousers you bought earlier.
How will AI do that?
AI knows your purchase history and has the data like colour, type, size, etc. All it has to do is match the best shirt which goes with the pants and shoes already bought by you.
What I wrote above is the basic stuff which is happening currently.
The advanced level will be when AI creates a 3D Design with your sizes based on your past purchases, wearing the shoes and the trousers bought by you earlier.
Shown next to the 3D-figure will be an option of 3 to 4 shirts which you can click and try on the figure. (the matching algorithm will be AI driven).
The experience (I believe) will compel you to buy the shirt that goes with the Shoe and Trouser you bought earlier.
In a nutshell, what we are really looking at is – removal of human intervention at every step of helping customers make the right purchase decisions.
Moving forward. How AI will change the course of Digital marketing.
Here is my learning on How Artificial Intelligence is changing the way digital Marketing is done:
- AI’s impact on Searches:
How Google interprets your search queries decides the pages you will see as a part of your search results. Life is easy for google when you do a long tail keyword research such as “How to treat back pain?”.
Google’s algorithm finds you the best of pages giving you tips to help you with your back pain.
The above situation turns complex when you just write “Back pain” on google.
You might be looking for back pain treatment clinics, back pain medicines, back pain reduction tips, etc, etc.
Well, as far as I know – Google cannot read your mind.
The search results from google can be either related to clinics to help you with back pain or tips to avoid back pain or reasons of back pain or back pain treatment or chair to help you with back pain.
The moment you do not get results based on what you searched, you move to page 2 or page 3 of google which is not good for google.
It has failed to read your mind. Right?
Have you noticed, despite all the ambiguity around your search – Google manages to get it right 7 out of 10 times?
This has been made possible by an AI-driven RankBrain algorithm in Google.
RankBrain works on the concept of intent than just search.
The above image from Neil Patel’s blog describes the way Rank Brain is working and how it promises to change the way searches will work in the future.
Google looks at your browsing history and what all you have been searching on google, before showing you the result.
In a nutshell, your earlier searches help Google build a path for your new search and show you results which are nearest to what you are searching for.
And I know you might go “How the hell did Google know what I had it in mind? Does it read minds?”
Well! All this has been made possible through Rank Brain – which is a work in progress.
As a matter of fact, I will always call Rank Brain a work in progress because there is no end to the improvements you can make in predicting the trends.
AI is supposed to get better with time and that is what just happens here.
AI improves with time and will keep giving you better results and an experience which makes you go “WOW! and it will always be a work in progress until we realize the true potential of AI.
Time is not far when Jarvis, the omnipresent AI assistant of Ironman will be your assistant under a new name.
With better voice identification mechanisms developed by Amazon (read: alexa) and Google Voice search, the searches through voice have seen a drastic improvement over the years.
The challenge with voice search is to identify the modulation in voice to give accurate results.
AI is playing a major role in making this a success so that you do not have to go and type on keyboards for every search of yours.
All you do is – speak and the machine acts.
Today, you do not only do search via voice search. We have gone to the next level, where we expect machines to follow our command and act.
For ex, you look at your speakers with inbuilt music system and ask them to play “18 till I Die”
And the machine finds Bryan Adam’s famous song in its list and it goes “18 Till Die!”.
The idea is that you do not even have to type or select anything on your device to do this.
In between, have you thought how images search will improve in the future? How will AI impact image search?
I call it the next level of searching where pixel mapping through AI only gets better and along with images the AI also identifies the emotions (if humans are involved) in the image.
- Delivering a better Personalized Experience to website visitors with the help of AI:
Personalization is the flavor of the season. Brands want to give you an experience – a personal experience which you will never forget. Thereby, turning into loyal customers.
Giving a free complimentary bottle of your favourite champagne. Making food as per your past tastes (spice, less-spicy, bland), etc are some of the personalized experiences given by hospitality industry for years.
They go that extra mile to give clients a personalized experience to build brand loyalty.
What if this experience was brought to the digital – internet experience for internet users?
Think of a website’s design changing based on your search intent or content of the website changes as per your search intent.
And as you start to interact more with the website, the website starts giving you a better-personalized experience like UI with colors of your choice, etc and everything here is driven by AI without human intervention.
I look at this as the next level of experience offered to websites users on the internet and AI will play a huge role in this.
- AI’s role in improving Content:
An article with limited information will soon be pushed to the last of rankings in Google in next few months.
Google has already started giving preference to long in-depth blogs .
The idea is to have content which addresses queries of users.
You might have noticed a section “Quick Questions” show up just when you type a keyword in google.
Most of the time, we click on the question to get an answer to the question.
By clicking on the question, we give Google our intent for searching that keyword which as I wrote earlier helps Google improve our future search results.
What about content creators?
To start with – They must bring value to the table and create content which addresses queries asked by users rather than turn into content creators who write only, keeping rankings in mind.
Where should they get the ideas to write on?
AI is throwing you ideas by showing you user’s search intent for each keyword you type on google.
How about you create content around them rather than around single word or two-word keywords.
For ex, when I type AI Digital marketing on google.
The related searches at the bottom of the page give me searches such as:
how artificial intelligence affects digital marketing
how is ai changing digital marketing
application of artificial intelligence in marketing
what is ai in digital
artificial intelligence impact on digital marketing
ai vs digital marketing
artificial intelligence marketing solutions
artificial intelligence virtual reality and the future of digital marketing
Courtesy AI, I have all the keywords I need to create content around two keywords AI and Digital Marketing.
Here is another theory, I read about how AI will help find the best content related to images.
Sooner or later, AI will judge the emotions behind images and once that happens, the content shown next to images will be near to the emotion identified by AI for the image.
With the improvement in AI, the content marketing will change for good.
To start with, the data available through AI will help produce more accurate content for users.
Secondly, all the unhelpful content written with fluff will automatically be pushed down the rankings.
- Better Support Experience:
Bots are soon going to replace the human customer reps sitting behind desks answering questions of customers.
How will they do that?
they can multitask as sales agents, experts or just support executives.
Bots will look for past patterns to create responses which will help take the communication with end customers to the next level.
Most of the companies today have already started using bots to automate their support system on the website.
It is helping them cut cost and make the process more efficient.
Usually, we associate Digital marketing with only Marketing but for me, Digital marketing is more than just selling something to customers.
I consider UI, Support, Content, experience as parts of Digital marketing.
For a person like me who has spent better years of his life in sales and marketing, no sales cycle is complete until and unless all parts of a company work perfectly in tandem.
With AI, we will give a personalized experience to our customers, we will have better analytics to understand their behaviour and we will be able to reduce the error caused by humans.
All the predictions you read about job losses because of AI are correct. Jobs will shrink in sectors where humans worked earlier.
They will be replaced by AI-driven bots and algorithms, thereby taking away dependencies on humans but jobs will only disappear for those who do not move ahead with times.
Those who learn new technologies and new trends will find themselves earning more rather than going jobless.
Before I end, here is an interesting chart for you to notice the use of Artificial Intelligence or AI in the Retail world:
AI is mostly used by companies in the retail sector to improve their search, followed by content recommendation and Producing Better ads. It is also used to help them with market forecasts.
And yes, AI is used in chatbots. Thought the number is at 13% in terms of usage of AI, the trend is slowly catching up with other usages of AI.
I personally see AI improving the way we do digital marketing.
For me, AI’s involvement means giving a better experience to clients, cutting down on my sales cycle. Upselling, down selling based on customer’s purchase history and moving to the next level of Digital marketing.
Alright, I got to go now. This has been one futuristic article promising a better future for the digital marketing industry.
By the way, does anyone know how AI can help me find my Car Keys?
Where are all of you, when I need you the most?
Till I write next – Bye!