With the conclusion of 2018 and the start of a fresh year, marketers and clients alike need to evaluate what worked well last year, but also take a look at how to grow their marketing efforts for this year. One of the biggest opportunities is to have a better understanding of target audiences and their tendencies online.
Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), we can learn more about audiences in a much more efficient way. According to Accenture, the impact of AI technologies on business is projected to increase productivity by up to 35% in the United States.
While most marketing channels will end up utilizing AI at some point, one of the first large scale adoptions of this technology is with online search, both organic and paid.
Search is one of the first marketing channels to be impacted heavily by the utilization of AI and will continue to be over time. Based on continuously changing algorithmic factors and the use of machine learning, AI will help provide users with the information they are looking for in a more effective manner.
Think of it as suggestions. For example, if you’re on Spotify or Netflix, they’re using machine learning and algorithms based on what you’re listening to or watching to make suggestions.
How Artificial Intelligence Impacts Search Marketing
Since the beginning, search marketing was primarily keyword driven, but with AI, there has been a shift to more data-driven results. The job of search engines is to provide users with the best results based on their needs, and with the help of AI, they can take it to the next step.
AI is also used to help rank sites and ads not only based on relevance, but user intent. This means search engines are getting smarter in understanding what users need.
In addition to being able to generate better results for users, AI is impacting search strategies because it allows for more effective search trend data. When it comes to search, AI creates “smarter” results for users based on several factors.
Since artificial intelligence can track user web behaviors and make predictions based on this information, search engines can better understand customer intent. This leads to the end user being served the most relative ads or content based on predicative analytics.
This brings us back to the Spotify and Netflix example. We listen to The Doors, it may recommend Led Zeppelin. Watch something like Breaking Bad, it may recommend Narcos.
How Will AI Change Content?
Since AI uses machine learning to understand topics and concepts, marketers need to keep learning more of what their audience’s intent is based on results.
Search engines are smart enough to figure out what your content is about based not only on your main keyword, but latent semantic index keywords and synonyms are also factored in to narrow the results.
When it comes to optimizing content, the data that marketers can dive into is almost infinite.
In addition to understanding user intent, AI opens the door for content automation. This assisted content creation has been tested more over the past couple years and it continues to evolve. Despite this, the highest quality content is still human written, for now.
Paid Search and AI
Paid search also has adapted to AI technology to target users more effectively. With the use of AI, users will be served ads not only based on keyword query, or intent, but also by how they have been behaving online.
An example of this is if two people are looking for a similar topic such as ”buy **insert random brand** washing machine”.
Person A – Person A is searching on a Windows 7 – based desktop with Internet Explorer and Google as their search engine of choice. They search for their new washing machine and go directly to the site after being shown an ad and convert.
Person B – Person B uses an iPhone X with Chrome as their browser. They search for “how to fix crappy broken washing machine” and end up on YouTube. Although they did not search for a keyword that you may be bidding on, Google’s machine learning and AI technology understands the user’s need and serves them an ad for your washer.
Both people were searching for washing machines but had different methods of doing so. Although they were on different devices, with different browsers, each person ultimately converted.
Google’s machine learning and AI allows for more effective campaign ROI and increased conversion rates based on having more data signals that that of a human. The data here effectively targets users you would not think to go after, despite their original search or action online.
Paid Search Audience Data
Google enables advertisers to discover more about their audience with various audience layering. This allows for more precise targeting with ads.
The benefit of this is the ability to use various keyword match types to better serve your ads based on user intent.
While Facebook may currently be the leader in audience segmentation, Google is constantly working to improve its audience targeting to provide users with the most relevant ads possible.
Another aspect of paid search that is impacted by artificial intelligence is how ads are being displayed. Google Ads recently rolled out responsive search and display ads. These ads allow advertisers to create multiple ad headlines, copy, and images depending on the ad type, that are dynamically shown to users.
The benefit of this is that the AI chooses which combination of text or images will perform best based on user data. This data creates the “perfect” ad for the audience based on whether they think a user will be more likely to click through and convert.
So What Now? Better ROI In 2019
Artificial intelligence is certainly something to think about, and marketing and advertising is not alone. Everything from music, television, movies and more are all trying to better understand AI and how they can benefit from it. This will ultimately improve user experience.
Artificial intelligence has been widely used in many industries, and while not exactly new to marketing, it helps us process data at a much more efficient rate. This enables more data driven and informed business decisions.
So as we move into the new year, it is important to start thinking about how we as marketers can better leverage technology and utilize the data it provides. This combination of “man and machine” can ultimately lead to better decisions. In the end, artificial intelligence can help both marketers and clients make more informed, data-driven decisions about their audiences to improve ROI.