How AI is Revolutionizing Digital Marketing
It’s hard to overstate what a transformative force Artificial Intelligence has become in digital marketing, even just over the course of 2023, the first full year of the now very-everywhere ChatGPT.
Generative AI’s creative output may get most of the broad attention, but AI cuts across just about every digital marketing discipline, and has for some time. Machine learning algorithms analyze customer data to predict behavior; marketers employ that for personalized campaigns and customer segmentation. Custom chatbots from platforms like Drift handle customer engagement. Brand monitoring tools track and analyze public sentiment and AI algorithms automate online ad buying and placement. It goes on and on.
The integration of Artificial Intelligence into brands’ digital marketing strategies clearly isn’t just a trend—it’s a sea change, and it’s barely begun. So how do smart marketers keep abreast with how AI is revolutionizing digital marketing without getting lost in an avalanche of less-than-special tools and AI “thought leaders” selling obvious marketing mistakes?
As with all things marketing, it’s about listening, testing, and embracing change, while holding strong to the fundamentals.
Embracing the AI Revolution in Marketing
If you’re a business owner or digital marketer embracing the AI change, you’re in good company—61.4% of marketers say they’ve used AI in marketing activities. (The other 38.6% are probably underplaying, or don’t realize that some of their tools are AI-based.)
The broad adoption seems to run counter to the louder narrative around AI’s rapid expansion, a lot of which is (understandably) based on fear. WillRobotsTakeMyJob.com leaned into gallows humor for its title, but it delivers serious data about the risk of job replacement via automation. (It also highlights the roles users search for most often, which include graphic designers, marketing managers, web developers, and writers.)
There’s legitimate concern around AI, because there’s a lot we don’t know about where it’s headed. But there are pluses for digital marketing too. In a lot of ways, AI is giving us better, faster ways to do our core job of serving customers and clients, like:
Enhanced personalization, with AI algorithms allowing us to parse customer data faster and more completely to deliver personalized messages and recommendations that get customers more engaged and interested.
The ability to anticipate needs with predictive analytics, which helps us solve problems and fill gaps in a way that’s easier and faster for customers.
More efficient data analysis capabilities that help us refine strategies in real-time.
It’s also helping us make very, very bad ads with text-to-image models like DALL·E and Midjourney when we need an easy laugh.
Blame us for the concept; blame generative AI for the output.
How AI is Transforming Search Engine Optimization
AI is changing the way marketers manage almost every aspect of their work, but few areas are adapting quite as quickly or completely as search engine optimization. We don’t yet know the true depth of how AI is transforming SEO, or what the future of AI in SEO will really look like. But AI integration is already reshaping traditional SEO practices, introducing new efficiencies and capabilities.
Some of the ways AI has already enhanced standard SEO practices:
Automated Keyword Research and Content Optimization
Deep keyword research is a tough and time-intensive task. It still very much requires the direction of an SEO expert, but AI tools are now capable of understanding search intent and suggesting content optimizations. SEO tools like SEMRush (a favorite of the Snapshot Digital Team) use AI to analyze search trends and identify high-potential keywords for marketing teams.
Enhanced User Experience and Site Optimization
Marketing teams are using smart AI tools to analyze user behavior and journeys on websites to give data-driven direction on site structure, content layout—even button placement and CTA copy.
Automating Routine SEO Tasks
By automating important but relatively repetitive tasks like metadata optimization, image tagging, and link building, digital marketers are saving time and improving accuracy.
Content Creation and Curation with AI
AI and machine learning have disrupted content marketing in the truest sense of the word “disrupt,” and many graphic designers, copywriters, and social media managers are busy figuring out how to make it clear that generative AI is a powerful tool, not an effective replacement. Through the growing pains, generative AI is forcing us to rewrite how marketing content is created, curated, and optimized.
AI technologies offer novel ways to produce and manage content, catering to specific audience needs and preferences more effectively. Our task is to harness the strengths of generative AI while using our skills to fill in its many weaknesses.
Effective content creation with AI can look like:
Kickstarting article outlines and idea generation with natural language processing (NLP) models like ChatGPT and Jasper AI.
Automating or distilling data-driven content, including reports and charts.
Analyzing user data on engagement and preferences to focus on content themes, styles, and tones that are more likely to resonate with an audience.
Using AI to pinpoint creative ways to repurpose and reuse existing content across multiple platforms.
Using generative AI to resize images or clean up unwanted visual artifacts. (Photoshop’s Generative Fill can be a powerful time-saver when used well.)
Content curation with AI can look like:
Creating highly personalized content experiences for users (think Netflix and Spotify, and how they use AI algorithms to recommend movies and songs based on what you’ve shown an affinity for).
Distilling user data to streamline when, where, how, and how often you create and deploy content for particular distribution channels.
AI and Social Media Marketing
An important caveat in any discussion about AI and social media marketing: Organic social media is about authenticity, and nothing feels less authentic than the results of “30 pieces of content in 30 minutes” prompts touted all over LinkedIn.
But there are smart, effective ways to integrate AI into social media marketing practices that allow creators to assign repetitive tasks to AI so they can focus on creativity.
Smart social media with AI can look like:
Using AI tools to automate deployment days and times and maximize engagement potential.
Analyzing user engagement and rising topics for trendspotting and topic recommendation.
Optimizing paid social placement and content to maximize ROI.
Automating basic community management tasks (like answering FAQs and product recommendations) to free up resources for more complex customer service needs.
Marketing Automation with AI
Marketing automation is all about implementing smart strategies with more efficiency and effectiveness. AI-driven tools are spectacular partners in that effort, and they’re increasingly making traditional marketing automation more intelligent and responsive.
AI-powered marketing automation can look like:
- Using AI-powered tools like HubSpot to automate email campaign workflows based on user behavior, ensuring messages are both timely and relevant.
Enhancing lead scoring by analyzing user data to predict which leads are likely to convert, which lets teams direct resources to areas with high potential.
Creating personalized marketing journeys that extend across various channels, making interaction with your brand a cohesive, tailored experience wherever the customer goes.
Analyzing past customer interactions to automate delivery of personalized offers and product recommendations that meet customers right where they are.
Real-time campaign analysis and adjustment that maximizes based on performance metrics and audience preferences.
Advanced analytics and reporting that can offer fast, extensive insights into customer behavior and campaign performance, inspiring better ROI now and stronger strategies in the future.
The Future of AI in Digital Marketing
There’s potential for digital marketing to keep growing in a more intelligent, responsive, and customer-centric way using AI, and that’s a win—though it’s a win that comes with understanding that we’re developing and implementing best practices and standards in real time, at full gallop.
As we look toward the future of AI in digital marketing, we’re likely to see major advancements in personalization—the ability to create highly individualized customer experiences with even greater accuracy. We’ll likely be able to develop marketing strategies that are less reactive and more predictive, anticipating customer needs before the customer so much as thinks to ask.
We’ll almost certainly see major advancements in voice and visual search, which means marketers will be creating, focusing, and adapting content to cater to that. Augmented and virtual reality experiences will likely get more dynamic, immersive, and commonplace, and that can only continue to rewrite online shopping and interactive brand experiences.
Importantly, AI advances will bring ethical and privacy concerns to the foreground more and more. Which means marketers will need to be that much more diligent about balancing the use of AI for personalization with the ethical use of personal data, and be fully transparent about the breadth and depth of their AI use.
The future of AI in digital marketing isn’t just about learning and adopting new technological advancements, but adapting to changing consumer expectations and market dynamics too. As AI evolves, marketers will be forced to evolve with it—and it’s on us to evolve in a creative, customer-focused way.
Digital Marketing with Snapshot
At Snapshot, we focus on learning, growing, and using advanced tools in smart ways while keeping ourselves grounded in the core purpose of marketing: helping customers solve their problems.
If you’re looking for a digital marketing partner that blends creativity with efficiency, we’re your team. Learn more about Snapshot’s digital marketing services here, and connect with the Snapshot team to get started.