Most digital transformations do not realise nearly as much value as predicted....
The huge potential of AI in marketing is a coming-of-age story. In 2018, analysis by Mckinsey of over 400 case uses for AI highlighted marketing as the sector where AI could add the greatest value[i]. By 2021, Deloitte surveyed early AI adopters. They identified that three of the top five AI objectives were for digital marketing uses[ii]. Once-imagined AI marketing solutions for the future are now realities. Reassured by rapid advancements, an increasing number of brands are looking to AI to find digital business transformation solutions. Could you use AI to create digital marketing strategies that are pre-optimised for success?
Thanks to the recent fuss over ChatGPT, using AI for digital marketing benefits is a hot topic. But AI has plenty more to offer marketers who want to power up their digital marketing strategy.
Know Better, Do Better - Using AI to enhance the customer experience
Predictive analytics and deep analysis is already helping companies monitor the customer journey. Analytics can even predict when customers are on the edge of churn. Armed with AI-processed data, businesses are creating more personalised digital marketing campaigns and customer journeys. This leads to better experiences that build loyalty, trust and profits.
Whether it’s plugging an AI-enhanced CRM into social platforms to elevate customer service, or ultra-targeting ads using contextual information and machine learning, AI is helping brands to know better and do better. Knowing your customers and their wants is critical for solving marketing problems that impede growth.
As a brand, Sephora is an early adopter that’s long set its sights on using AI to solve and innovate. Online, their virtual assistant uses AI to help customers find colour-matched cosmetics. The Sephora app also enhances customer in-store experience with product recommendations and makeup tutorials. It's a personalised shopping assistant and a big marketing success. Bucking the retail trend, on the back of their successful digital marketing efforts, Sephora is now set to open a new brick-and-mortar London store in spring 2023.
Know Better, Automate - Delegating decisions to AI
AI is more frequently freeing up or supporting human colleagues. For example, through the use of AI chatbots in the hospitality industry. Perhaps more surprisingly, we’re also seeing AI make ‘creative’ decisions. It’s now possible to use AI tools to select the best possible image for the ad served to a customer and the best digital channels to push that ad through.
The data and knowledge it acquires along the way could be useful when it comes to planning your next brand shoot - understanding what imagery users respond to online can inform decisions made as part of brand awareness campaigns. Or how about using information about customer preferences to set the parameters for AI-generated images?
According to the Drum, in 2021, the huge global brand Nestle sought to harness this decision-making power at an earlier stage of their digital marketing strategy. To make digital marketing 70% of their media mix, the brand’s online ads needed to be as effective as possible. The solution? An AI platform that uses the rich data history of the brand’s previous creative work. It provides a Creative Quality score for work based on its suitability for success on different platforms. The result is a tool that all of the brands' potential creative is run through to provide a creative content framework that saves digital marketers from sweating the small stuff [iii].
A Marketing Mix Modelling study by Meta correlated offline sales with campaign data. It found that ads awarded a quality score of 66% and above by the scoring tool had a 66% higher return on ad spend (ROAS).
Using AI for digital marketing campaigns
How do you know that your digital marketing strategy will be successful? You might have a hunch that a particular digital marketing campaign is the right one, your goal-aligned strategy could be informed by contextual research. You might even have a big pool of data. Using AI on a grander scale to simulate possible outcomes could take away a lot of the guesswork. Thanks to simulation, you can now test and optimise to create resilient campaigns and iterate fast. The Berkeley Haas journal Letting the Computers Take Over discusses the benefits of AI-simulation. It describes the testing of a word-of-mouth referral campaign for a gaming app. In the scenario, AI uses data to simulate connections and the behaviour of users in the app. Such simulations can create real-time analysis to direct resources. The outcome is solid strategies for business growth without having to spend money on failed campaigns [iv].
AI also has also taken Search Engine Optimization and inbound marketing by storm. AI tools to analyse the optimum density of particular keywords to rank against competitors are practically commonplace, but these are becoming more and more sophisticated. By tracking customer behaviour they can also inform which keywords are more likely to resonate with specific audiences.
AI is also helping businesses to develop predictive marketing strategies by giving them insight into customer trends. By anticipating the likely behaviour of your current and prospective customers based on their past buying and search behaviour, you can tailor your marketing tactics to fit their interests, and optimise your ads and digital marketing campaigns for the highest possible conversion rates.
All of this enables digital marketing teams to speak to their target audience more easily and increase their website traffic, ultimately delivering better results in less time and with less effort.
Using AI for digital marketing success isn’t simply a case of testing out the latest tool to save time. Leading the way are brands who are finding the loftiest of their ambitions can be realised by putting AI to work to solve marketing problems.
10 reasons why AI should be part of your digital marketing strategy
If you're still not convinced that AI can be a game changer for digital marketing, or you're not sure where it might fit into your digital marketing strategy, here are 10 ways that you could incorporate AI technology into your campaigns, tactics and strategies to drive better results and grow your online presence.
A good content marketing strategy identifies the most useful content for the target audience, and then has a solid distribution plan via a range of digital marketing channels, including social media channels, online marketing, and email, alongside traditional marketing channels.
AI can help improve this process in a number of ways - not just in content creation, but right the way through a content marketing campaign. AI can help identify the topics your target audience are searching for, so you can create content that's useful and resonates with your customers.
AI can also be used to measure engagement in your content. Advanced AI tools can measure eye movement across the page, and even the sentiment of the reader. This level of detail can help content writers to make every blog post highly specific to their target outcomes, improving the effectiveness of the content distribution.
Social Media Marketing:
Social media managers know that the key to building a following and increasing engagement consistency. But daily posting across multiple social media platforms is time-consuming and creatively draining.
But now Artificial Intelligence can make social media marketing easier. Using AI social media writing tools, as well as tools that optimise timings and frequency of your social media posts, marketers are freed up to concentrate on the creative and planning future campaigns.
One of the ways a digital transformation can have a massive impact on an organisation's digital marketing is by implementing email marketing platforms. These platforms use a range of digital technologies to analyse each customer's past interactions - the emails they've opened, clicked on, and bought from.
From this information, email marketers can personalise every future email marketing campaign, suggest relevant products, and create customer journeys that build loyalty.
In 2022, 82% of global internet traffic came from video[v]. The importance of video in digital marketing efforts has been steadily rising over the past decade, and now with TikTok being the fastest-growing social media app, finding new ways to entertain and inform audiences through video is a key digital marketing tactic to stand out from your competitors. But it's not always easy to know what works with video.
Not only can AI write compelling scripts, it can also produce realistic avatars to appear in your videos. AI can give granular insights into how viewers are engaging with your videos, showing you what's popular, and what should be repeated.
Influencer marketing has exploded in popularity, and many brands have scrambled to find ways of using this trend to increase brand awareness. But it can be a minefield to find the influencer that fits with your brand and audience.
Rather than spending hours manually searching through video content to find the face that fits, AI can analyse videos to find the best person for the brand and assess their content, values and performance to ensure they align with the brand
In truth, all of these activities are going to have an impact on audience awareness. But what can be tricky is finding and breaking into new audiences. AI can help you create digital strategies based around growing your online audience by analysing customer behaviour and feedback. It can tell which digital ads are most likely to perform well, and where to place them for maximum effect.
AI can also track customer sentiment and engagement with a brand over time to show how customers feel about the brand, and highlight the demographics that are most likely to engage positively with your brand,
Most digital marketers know that marketing automation is their best friend. It saves time, improves accuracy, and enables multi-channel campaigns to run smoothly. It ultimately frees them up to work on improving their digital strategy rather than getting caught up in execution.
AI can also be extremely helpful in automating social media responses, both for customer service and for sales, via chatbots. They can have a hugely positive effect on customer satisfaction by responding to online customer needs in real-time.
Search engine optimization is crucial for gaining organic traffic. When potential customers search for keywords related to your brand via a search engine, you want your website to appear. But search engine marketing can be a slow process.
AI can create engaging content to draw clicks to your website, it can work out headlines that will be most likely to grab attention. AI can be used to analyse and predict customer behaviour and preferences, which enables digital marketers to target the keywords that are most likely to convert.
Personalisation is the new bastion of marketing practice. Consumer expectation has been influenced by brands like Netflix and Amazon, and so personalised experiences have been normalised. AI can use previous purchase information, buying habits, and engagement to create personalised journeys and product suggestions, as well as bespoke content and even onpage alterations.
Again, much of what we've already talked about constituted lead generation activity. But on a more granular level, AI can be used to identify potential leads, can write google ads that target those leads, and determine the most effective digital marketing strategies for conversion. AI can optimse the top of the sales funnel with lead capture, giving your sales team detailed information about the people landing on your website. It can then go a step further, planning clever retargeting to increase traffic to sales web pages from the right audience.
Measuring AI Performance in Digital Marketing
If you really want to make AI work for you, it's important to measure success. Decide on key performance indicators (KPIs) for each digital channel in advance. Take note of your starting point. This might be, for example, the number of inbound enquiries per month, or it might be audience size, share of search, or monthly web traffic numbers. Ensure your digital marketer is tracking the KPIs for each of your digital channels. Not sure what to track? Here are some basic starter ideas:
Content: Page views, downloads of marketing materials, on-page clicks
Social media: Engagement rate (Reactions divided by reach)
Email: Open rate and click to open rate (CTOR)
Video: View-through rate (VTR)
Influencer: Followers gained, clicks, reach
Brand Awareness: Share of search, brand search volume
Organic Search: Average position, click-throughs
Personalisation: Sales, sentiment scores
Lead Gen: Number of leads, number of sales
AI and Digital Marketing
If AI isn't yet part of your business strategy then using it with digital marketing is the perfect place to start. It has the potential to increase the capacity of your digital marketing team through more efficient processes, more precise targeting, and more effective audience segmentation. It can help you to predict which digital marketing techniques will be most successful for your audience, and which online channels will maximise your sales.
AI is the tool to help your marketing team to work smarter rather than harder, creating an effective digital marketing strategy that can be delivered with only a light touch, freeing up your digital marketer to use their industry expertise to focus on the bigger picture and tying in the digital marketing with offline marketing and where necessary, traditional advertising.
[I] McKinsey, Notes from the AI Frontier: Insights from hundreds of use cases, April 2018
Highly motivated senior marketing and production executive with broad experience. Partnering with various sized companies including several of the animation industry’s most critically acclaimed film studios, to understand and set strategic goals and then find effective and innovative ways to achieve those goals.
With work experience ranging from social media content production to consumer product development; from feature film deliveries to tv spots, trailers and featurettes; from understanding new technologies, how they work and developing new systems with in house with technology teams to developing tie-in partnerships and mobile and online game development; live and virtual event planning to joint company/partner presentations; and from CRM creation, setting strategic goals and strategies, to data and insights analysis. Ensuring all deliveries are creatively on point with company brands or style guides. Simultaneously working to develop the in house talent to grow and offer more options and solutions for the company and be a leader in creative solutions.