AI is becoming less of an ominous, growing power that will one day take over us all, and more of a source for good; improving customer experiences. It’s being adopted well in the digital marketing world as a way of increasing productivity, efficiency and as a way to predict the needs of customers. In this blog, we want to take a brief look at how AI is being integrated into digital marketing and why this is a good thing…
A good example of how AI has been used to improve the experience of, and thus retain, customers is by looking at Netflix. The streaming service is a household name, synonymous with binge-watching and viral TV shows and movies. You would think that a name this renowned would have no issue keeping customers, but Netflix uses AI to retain their subscribers.
Justin Basilico, research and engineering director at Netflix, has spoken on NVIDIA’s AI Podcast about why they chose to adopt AI technology:
“Because we’re a subscription company, our North Star is really whether people stay a Netflix subscriber over time, and we have a monthly subscription, so that means it typically takes a month or two to be able to measure that, but we see that as the ultimate signal that people see enough value to stay with Netflix. And if we can move that with the recommendation algorithm, we know that we are making people happier and making a better user experience and improving their satisfaction.”
“What we saw in … some of our own experiences internally at Netflix was that the typical deep learning approaches apply to the traditional recommendation system problem, it wasn’t until recently in the past few years that really there’s kind of a paradigm shift where people are really starting to see the attraction in using [recommendations for deep learning].”
- Justin Basilico
Due to the implementation of AI in Netflix’s recommendation system, it was able to provide better recommendations to subscribers and, as a result, Netflix estimates that it is avoiding cancelled subscriptions that would reduce its revenue by $1B annually.
So as you can see, AI has a huge impact on the results of a company and whilst this isn’t digital marketing, it is a great example. According to Gartner, 30% of companies globally will be using Artificial Intelligence in at least one of their sales processes by 2020 and PWC discovered that 43% of millennials would possibly pay a premium for a hybrid human-bot customer service channel. The desire is there, but how does AI actually improve digital marketing?
AI can give real-time customer support
75% of today’s consumers expect a consistent customer service experience wherever they engage, whether that be on social networks, phone, online, or in-person. With the rise of chatbots, this has become an easier expectation to meet, in fact, 47% of organisations have stated they will start to use chatbots for customer support and around 40% will deploy virtual assistants. People want businesses to be available whenever they need them and chatbots can make that happen. They are an automated tool that gives the impression of talking to an actual customer service person in real time, using terms to seem more “human-like” and they can even answer basic questions, as well as track and fulfil orders and help identify and fix simple issues.
An example of digital marketing AI in action is Spotify’s Facebook messenger bot which makes it as easy as possible for its customers to search for, listen to, and share music. You’ll also get playlist recommendations based on your mood, what’s your doing, or any genre of music you want once you get started.
Incorporating an AI chatbot or virtual assistant could be a great way to retain customers and help them solve problems, even at unsociable hours of the day…
AI can improve the customer experience
It’s important for any digital marketing strategy that the customer that does get reeled in, ends up with a great customer experience, and Artificial Intelligence can help with this significantly. Those who have a great customer experience are more likely to convert and be brand loyal, and AI helps with this with its ability to gather data from customers and apply the relevant data in a way that makes the customer feel that the content has been personalised and created for them. Things like location, historical data and past behaviour are all data that AI can use to target audiences during digital marketing campaigns to reach a wider audience of people likely to buy into what the advertiser is selling.
Artificial Intelligence comes in many forms for the customer experience, and another great example is the rise of voice search and virtual assistants. Devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa have made it easier than ever to search the web, all you have to do is vocally ask the device in your home. Now Voice Search Technology is making it easier to use digital marketing to reach the people who you want on your website, companies are now re-writing their website to appeal to people who are voice searching. This allows them to coincide with virtual assistants like Alexa, Google Home and SIRI and If it is done right, these brands may be able to move their brand to be the first result on a voice search. If you’re interested in finding out more about optimising your website’s content to suit these new search parameters - check out this blog we wrote on it!
Google took this one step further, however, by creating Google Duplex. This form of AI is able to mimic human speech, call people and even converse and book appointments on your behalf. Developed specifically to sound like a real human voice: pauses, ticks, hesitation and all, this AI tool can simulate real human conversion so well that it easily fooled those who got to hear it before it was announced at Google’s I/O Conference. Find out more about it here.
AI can predict customer behaviour
One of the greatest elements of Artificial Intelligence is not only that it can quantify customer data and use it to personalise experiences, but it can also predict the actions of new and existing users. With the aid of data management platforms collecting second and third-party data, AI is able to collect information about your customers and web visitors across their journeys internet-wide and not just in a single session on your site.
Artificial Intelligence can gather information from several inputs, find relationships, connect the dots and make predictions in a way that is simply not humanly possible. Giving businesses more granularity in developing your audiences and ads, such as customer segmentation, sentiment analysis and personalisation. And with lookalike audiences also being prevalent on social media and digital marketing advertising options, you are also able to use this data to reach out to those with profiles similar to those you are already attracting. This makes it as easy as possible to identify potential leads to advertise to and eliminate those who are unlikely to convert, thus saving valuable marketing budget for the clicks that count.
Marketers are using these competencies for the improvement of business intelligence, marketing study and predicting precision as they grow and develop digital marketing campaigns.
Both within and outwith digital marketing, we’re sure AI still has a ways to go. There’s always room to improve and as it’s getting adopted with an increasing frequency, the only way is up! Even if you don’t realise it, Artificial Intelligence is being ingrained in our lives and the systems we use more and more each day, it’s all about harnessing it to benefit your business.