Today we can say that artificial intelligence has changed -and is still changing- the technology scene in many ways. When self-driving cars, software that can recognize photographs, digital assistants that simplify people's work, and similar examples are considered, it can be easily seen that artificial intelligence is turning the concepts, which once approached the limits of science fiction, into parts of our lives today.
Artificial intelligence that is increasingly integrating into our lives is not such a new concept for marketing purposes. In fact, lots of people who have been following recent developments in the field of digital marketing along with technology are aware of the marketing strategies in which artificial intelligence systems play an active role. After the artificial intelligence has been included in digital marketing, marketing experts started to get more effective results particularly in the personalization of advertisements and services, and consequently noticeable increases in the performance. Digital marketing strategies led by data-driven artificial intelligence systems have affected the industry significantly.
Marketing experts agree that artificial intelligence makes the personalization of the consumer experience cheaper. Personalization of the consumer experience is a difficult process that requires high amount of investment in traditional marketing. When artificial intelligence is involved, this process is not only simplified but it can also be improved to achieve more effective results. In the simplest example, when a customer interacts with a product by some means or other (such as purchasing, adding to a basket, or just searching-reviewing), every piece of data that comes to light and may be useful in the future is recorded. Thus, marketing experts can now understand consumers better. So, when it is compared with old methods, the artificial intelligence can generate a more detailed and accurate consumer profile and marketing experts have the opportunity to optimize their campaigns based on the data they acquire.
In this article, we will mention about the applications of artificial intelligence in digital marketing, giving particular examples from the real world. You can later on find the fields where these applications are used, their descriptions and the examples of companies using them.
1- PROGRAMMATIC ADVERTISING
One of the many areas that uses artificial intelligence is programmatic advertising. As a general definition, programmatic advertising refers to the automation of digital buying and selling processes through computers. In this system, advertisers and publishers connect to an advertisement inventory and exchange advertisements for a rate. Artificial intelligence technologies used here utilize algorithms to analyze consumer behaviors. Collected data is evaluated in real-time advertising campaign optimization.
Consumers with high chances of transformation are targeted in this process. To ease the process of purchasing advertisement inventory, demand-side platforms (DSPs) are used. Cookies are also used to help marketing experts to make more accurate decisions. Publishers also manage remnant inventories through supply-side platforms (SSPs). For more information about programmatic advertising, please visit here.
Programmatic advertising to IAB data is among the emerging trends in digital marketing. According to CMO statistics, 76% of marketing experts see programmatic purchasing as an important part of their strategy and more than 40% say they rely on these systems to reach their target audience.
The famous economy magazine, The Economist, is a good example for companies that can benefit from programmatic advertising. Realizing that it did not attract as many readers as before, the magazine launched a campaign, aiming at users who were mostly hesitant. By analyzing website and mobile application usage, the Economist saw the reading preferences of the users, and utilized the data obtained to better target them. It was also able to generate an effective audience profile using compatible cookies, subscribers, and other data sets.
General notes from the results of The Economist's campaign:
- A media budget of £1.2 million was set aside to target 650,000 new users.
- 50% of target reached in just 9 days.
- In total, more than 3.6 million people took action and became a retargetable audience.
- A return of investment (ROI) at the rate of 10:1 was obtained.
- In the second phase of the operation, the number of users interacted with, reached 8 million.
Reliable data obtained by using artificial intelligence technologies play a major role in the success of such a campaign. When used correctly, programmatic advertising can produce as impressive results in the long term as in the example above.
2- MARKET FORECAST AND CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
Brands want to make sure that they can meet their customers' needs. In addition, it is important for them to be able to predict whether their conversation with their customers will result in sales or not. With the help of artificial intelligence systems, brands can effectively predict the market demand. Thanks to these systems again, marketing experts can have an idea about whether continuing the conversation with potential customers will result in a transformation or not.
Better estimating how many pieces of a particular product you can sell also means knowing when to invest in marketing in order to achieve higher sales. In addition to that, you can also stock inventory. In brief, it is possible to increase your profits in the long term by making more accurate decisions on such issues, using artificial intelligence systems.
Qurious can be seen as a good example of software that uses artificial intelligence to provide consultancy to sales representatives. The software identifies scenarios that can be successful or unsuccessful in customer-marketing communications by using natural language processing and can use the data to deliver real-time strategies to sales representatives.
For instance, it can advise a salesperson who is talking to a potential customer to end the call (unsuccessful scenario) or talk a little more before the sale takes place (successful scenario). Due to this system, which responds to questions and potential customer hesitations/objections in real time, the customer engagement rate of sales representatives increases or at worst, the loss of time arising from the negotiations that can be called "hopeless cases” is prevented.
3- THE SIMPLIFICATION OF MAKING A PROPOSAL AND CONTENT CURATION
By means of artificial intelligence systems, it is easier for brands to discover and collect the content they will use for targeting and present it to the customers. Here it is important to remember that content curation is a different concept from content marketing: Content curation involves the process of collecting content from various sources and presenting it to the target audience in an organized way. Due to artificial intelligence systems, it is possible in this process to collect useful data from different data sets.
Under Armor, a sportswear brand, and IBM developed a cognitive coaching system for fitness and health. Thanks to this system supported by IBM Watson, Under Armor is able to provide personalized training recommendations and diet plans in accordance with the aims, lifestyles and physical characteristics of its users according to the data it collects via its mobile application.
For example, after setting her program goals and giving certain information about herself, a 32-year-old woman who is preparing for a 5-kilometer race can get running routes that are drawn according to the place of residence, time of day and weather or the application can keep track of what the woman eats and offer suggestions to improve her diet, contributing to her performance.
By using approaches similar to the above, other brands may discover marketing strategies that are relevant to their fields. Content curation, when done correctly, enables the brand to target the right audience. And then, an effective communication with this audience can be established. This is a fruitful approach, especially for advertising campaigns aiming to increase subscriber numbers. If brands collect data that may be useful for consumers and their purposes by using artificial intelligence, and attract their attention, for example, by sending them regular notifications, they increase their conversions when the consumer realizes that these things work and subscribes/buys the product.
4- USING CHATBOTS
Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular and they are among the important actors of digital marketing today. While customers seek support for or answers to a variety of questions, brands want to keep them as interested as possible; in other words, they want them to "stay on hold" without shifting to alternatives, and that's where chatbots come into play as an important part of the brand-customer relationship.
Think of a company with millions of customers. How efficient would it be that a standard customer service team tries to answer the questions all those customers may ask each and every single day? Chatbots address this problem. Such a company can communicate with customers much more effectively than a standard automated responding system can and keep customers' interest alive by investing in these artificial intelligence-based virtual assistants. Customers' problems can be solved completely at this point, or they can be transferred to a live customer representative if necessary. An engaging and solution-oriented communication -especially when considering the frustrating customer service/automated response system experiences almost everyone has experienced at least once in their life time- makes a significant contribution to customer loyalty.
The airline KLM invested in an artificial intelligence system called BlueBot. This chatbot is available via Facebook Messenger. Customers who communicate with the chatbot purchase tickets, verify transactions, receive flight updates and find answers to their main questions. KLM officials said the following words for the step they took towards customer relations:
"Customers always expect a quick respond from you, and if you do that, the number of these customers increase. That's why we have started to use artificial intelligence systems to respond to customers according to their needs, in the right time and with the right answers."
Customers expect real-time and accurate answers to their questions. Without BlueBot, KLM would not be able to effectively evaluate and respond to millions of messages sent by hundreds of thousands of users in such a short time. Considering that to respond to the questions and to find solutions to the problems is one of the first and most important steps of customer satisfaction, this example proves the important role of chatbots and artificial intelligence in sales and marketing.
As you can see, artificial intelligence may help brands through many different operations in the field of digital marketing. The effectiveness of the campaigns can be seen with the help of artificial intelligence; more accurate decisions can be made about when to invest and when not; more efficient approaches can be brought to customer relations.
Therefore, in the digital world, which is in a continuous transformation with developing technology, brands should learn how to make use of artificial intelligence systems in order to reinforce their presence, reach wider audiences and have more loyal customers. And every brand should ask themselves to what extent their strategy is compatible with artificial intelligence and other digital marketing trends.
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