The good, the bad, and the unexplainably wackiness of artificial intelligence on the Internet–and how it can revolutionize digital marketing.
Artificial intelligence saw widespread mainstream coverage over the past year. The increasing popularity of ChatGTP as well as new AI generative art algorithms that flooded social media with a seemingly limitless supply of shareable content. Perhaps, the biggest AI-related story was last Summer’s Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike. The WGA went on a 148-day strike over labor disputes with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). A major point of contention was the earnings disparity between hired talent such as writers, actors, and production crew and the executives behind the major entertainment studios. AI took center stage in the skirmish between the workers and the management, with certain CEOs (such as Disney’s Bob Iger) suggesting that AI technology could be used to replace human talent for much lower costs, thus maximizing studios’ (and executives’) profits.
In addition to the entertainment industry and mainstream media, AI is influencing many different industries all at the same time, including eCommerce and digital marketing. However, of all the industries that are being reshaped by AI technology, eCommerce and digital marketing appear to be more welcoming of it than others. Internet retailers and marketers are excited about the potentials AI can bring to the industry.
5 Ways in Which AI is Already Transforming Digital Marketing
By analyzing the massive amounts of data collected from user interactions, AI can provide insights that human marketers might overlook, as well as save them time by modifying mundane tasks.
- Personalization and Customer Experience
- Predictive Analysis
- Content Creation
- Programmatic Advertising
- Enhanced Visual Recognition
Personalization and Customer Experience
Some of the most effective ways websites can regain some of the lost ‘human factor’ back into the online shopping experience are incorporating AI-powered search assistants and developing customer and user support systems around AI programs as they strive to become more accommodating to users of all types. The use of AI chatbots may be an alternative to hiring around-the-clock agents for resolving customer concerns. In the majority of cases, AI chatbots can replicate the functions of live customer service representatives to a limited degree.
See our previous article, The Potentials and Potential Dangers of Artificial Intelligence, for more details.
Keeping up with the competition is an integral part of marketing. Marketers can predict upcoming trends in the industry using AI’s predictive analysis capabilities by analyzing large amounts of data from a variety of sources. It allows brands to plan ahead and adapt their strategies. An AI can predict a customer’s future actions based on their past behaviors and interactions. For example, an AI can send an email reminder or discount just before the customer’s next purchase if they purchase a product every two months. By taking this proactive approach, marketing campaigns remain relevant and timely, thus maximizing their effectiveness.
Brands can now produce consistent, quality content with the help of artificial intelligence. Data input can be used by AI to generate reports or news for specific sectors, such as finance or sports. The Associated Press, for instance, automates some of its financial reporting. AI can also make content recommendations. In order to create articles, blogs, and videos appropriate to the audience, it analyzes what they discuss or search for online. The use of AI will never be able to replace human creativity entirely, but it can certainly assist in keeping content consistent and relevant.
Ad buying is automated using programmatic advertising, which places ads at the right times, in the right places, for the right audiences. A variety of factors, such as demographics, behavior, and more, can be considered when AI algorithms determine which ads should be displayed to which users. The ads will be targeted and relevant as a result. Marketers can also calculate ROI with AI’s predictive analysis, adjusting their spending accordingly to maximize results.
Enhanced Visual Recognition
It has become essential to create visual content with the rise of visual social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. Insights into user-generated content (UGC) can be gained using AI’s visual recognition capabilities. Visual content can help brands refine their strategies based on the results of their analysis. A brand can also benefit from UGC by understanding how their products are being used in real-life scenarios, guiding future marketing campaigns.
Trust Issues with AI
AI is engaged in a tug-of-war with the public in regards to its usefulness and its potential societal benefits. In one corner, AI recommends products, movies, and social media that we should buy, watch, and consume. On the other hand, surveys show that despite its aid, we still don’t quite trust it quite yet. We still use it, despite the numerous warnings about the dangers of AI technology. It remains unregulated, violates copyrights, destroys academic integrity, perpetuates bias, lies to users, and ultimately threatens the lives of people. Then again, we have to remember that it’s essentially a program and a program is only as good/reliable as the programmer, just as a machine is only as effective as its build quality and operator.
AI technology is actually an umbrella term for a variety of technologies, not a specific technology by itself. There’s a difference between the artificial intelligence that creates “deep fake” videos and the artificial intelligence that uses computer vision to navigate a self-driving car, from the AI that generates intelligible writing to the AI that makes eCommerce product recommendations. AI by itself cannot detect specific minerals in the ground, nor can it randomly predict natural disasters or prevent cybercriminals from hacking your personal information. There are specific varieties of AI technologies that can handle those tasks, just as there is AI technology that can aid in the efficiency of marketing.
According to a survey conducted by the Artificial Intelligence Policy Institute, 62% of Americans are wary and distrustful of AI while 21% are optimistic and excited about it. Another survey by DataStax states that 72% of consumers “trust a company more when they receive relevant recommendations.” Ironically, nearly two-thirds of respondents failed to realize that AI is driving online retailers’ and streaming services’ recommendations. As generative AI is concerned, approximately 73% of consumers trust generative AI to write content for their brands, according to a multinational survey by Capgemini Research Institute. ChatGTP has a disclaimer in regards to its generated output, warning users that it “may produce inaccurate information about people, places, or facts”. NewsGuard, an anti-misinformation watchdog group, fed ChatGPT 100 false narratives and asked it to support and expand upon them. In 80% of those cases, ChatGPT complied.
Still, digital marketers can simplify their tasks with the help of generative AI. It is an evergreen source of good, bad, and sometimes ridiculous ideas. But for retailers looking to get themselves noticed and to stand out from the competition, that irreverence might not be such a bad way to go.
Points of Interest
- According to Forrester Research Inc., 56% of U.S. marketers are already using generative AI for marketing.
- Content generated by ChatGPT helps Babylist’s creative team brainstorm ideas. In A/B testing, the retailer compared subject lines generated by artificial intelligence and those generated by humans. Unexpected results were found.
- UrbanStems tested whether AI-generated images could provide consumers with insights through social media. As part of the test, UrbanStems used its existing products, but the objective was to gain insights before developing new products.
- Koio, a men’s footwear brand, uses AI to alleviate junior marketers’ workloads.
The power, capabilities, and limitations of AI are only limited by the information it can access. It’s important to be aware of the limitations of AI so that you don’t become overly dependent on it for helping you reach personal and professional goals. Obviously, AI’s rise and its impact on society will depend greatly on ethics. Responsible and ethical behavior should be observed when interacting with AI. Ultimately, it’s meant to be an aid, not a crutch.