If the recent swarm of public interest in AI has left you reeling, then you’ve come to the right place. All this talk of artificial intelligence entering the mainstream can be both exciting and unnerving when your thoughts start to turn into questions of, “How can I stay ahead of the curve?” and “Is my job going to be at risk, and if so, how soon?”.
While we’re not quite at the point of I, Robot (yet?), it is important to consider the implications of AI in the digital marketing world.
We're here to talk about it!
- Gain practical ideas for applying AI to digital marketing, plus best practices to follow.
- See examples of how companies who have similar goals to you are already taking advantage of AI.
- Learn what AI can and can’t help you accomplish.
- Discover the different types of AI you can use in marketing.
- Create your AI marketing strategy by following 5 steps.
Why you should use AI in digital marketing
Now is the time for companies to start adapting and making space for AI in their digital marketing strategies. This period in time is reminiscent of when computers were being introduced on a more accessible level, in workplace environments and homes. They weren’t able to completely replace face to face interactions like they are now. However, it was vital for businesses to start integrating the technology in order to not be left behind.
Similarly, AI is not capable of running a successful digital marketing team by itself yet. But with its rapid advancements, it’s vital for digital marketing teams to become AI fluent and learn how it can be used in practical ways.
AI is capable of reducing human error in manual tasks and getting them done at a quicker speed. It can also help with recurring tasks by removing barriers that slow down marketers. These benefits for AI marketing can help businesses reach and exceed their sales targets while staying ahead of their competitors.
It can also improve team communication and productivity which aids in an overall better working environment and productivity rate.
Types of AI in digital marketing
Generative AI for marketing
Generative artificial intelligence is all about creativity and sounding as human-like as possible thanks to the use of natural language processing. It allows you to feed a prompt to an AI application to create various kinds of media like images, text, and audio.
ChatGPT and DALL-E are two examples of AI platforms that have become household names recently. Given their surge in popularity, it’s no surprise that digital marketers have taken a serious interest in this category of AI.
Predictive AI for marketing
Predictive artificial intelligence uses algorithms to forecast what is most likely to happen in the future. By taking large amounts of data, predictive AI systems can analyze and draw out patterns and similarities that are then used to draw conclusions.
This is valuable for AI marketing because it can turn seemingly unreliable human behavior into data points that predict what customers and prospects are most likely going to do in the future. It can also help you predict market trends and stay ahead of the curve.
Using generative and predictive AI together in digital marketing
Combining the knowledge that predictive AI brings with the ability to produce content with generative AI will allow you to create super personalized marketing materials. You can make your current and future customers feel seen and understood, which will make them more interested in your product or service.
4 reasons why AI can’t replace humans
AI is a wonderful tool for digital marketing, but how we implement it matters.
The human touch
As we learn more about AI, it becomes apparent that having a human touch is still vital for companies to be sustainable. Because without an emotional connection, there isn’t much reason for a customer to choose you over another viable competitor.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at what generative artificial intelligence is not able to do:
- Take current events into account or be 100% accurate.
Then you use copy from Chat-GPT for example, you still need to fact check that the information it provided is true, and then be able to make edits to any text you’re using.
Take for example this issue which has been occurring for a while on Chat-GPT. When you ask it to tell you all the countries that start with the letter ‘V’, it omits Vietnam.
Then it admits to being incorrect when asked about Vietnam.
- Give expert and nuanced opinions, or create new ideas.
Generative AI will often provide a middle ground answer, or an overall analysis about the topic. This is perfect for research, but misses the human touch that can create an emotional connection with your audience.
- Create full fledged strategies for you and then execute them.
However, it can give you a great starting point.
There are AI software like Taskade that can create a plan for your team along with features like assigning tasks. And since AI is built on learning from the data it's fed, we’re probably not far off from software that can learn your company’s goals and create more specific plans.
- Accurately depict images.
How to create an AI Digital Marketing Strategy
When implementing an AI marketing strategy for your team, you might find it best to take a crawl-walk-run approach. That way you won’t become overwhelmed with the new additions. It will also give you the space needed to measure, analyze, and act on the results.
Here’s an example of this method in action:
Crawl: Start with something minor, like an app that can improve your team’s productivity or internal communication.
Walk: Once your team is comfortable with the first AI integration you’ve added, you can move on to something more advanced. This could be an application that both increases productivity and will be seen publicly like social media posts.
Run: Finally, you can move on to something more advanced like a chatbot that interacts with customers or prospects.
We’ll get into more specific uses in the next section.
5 steps you can take to successfully implement an AI digital marketing strategy
- BrainstormHave a brainstorming session to decide on your team’s biggest pain points that can also be solved with the use of AI. Ask everyone to come with a few ideas and possible solutions.
- ResearchFind the tool that best suits your needs. You may need to test a couple before landing on the right one.
- Create goals Create concrete goals that can be quantified.
Example: Let’s say you want to increase the CTR (click through rate) of your PPC ads by 300%. You would need to be sure of your CTR before the testing period started, keep track of the data throughout, and then have the exact ending percentage in order to draw any conclusions.
Set up a controlled test to see if the AI you’ve implemented is actually bringing in the desired results. Make sure you’ll be able to collect quantifiable data.
Once your tracking period is over, analyze the results, make any needed adjustments, and repeat the process.
9 ways to use AI in digital marketing
Now to the good stuff: How can you actually incorporate AI into your digital marketing? We’ve included 9 areas with lots of tangible examples. We’ve also included some examples of companies who are leading the way with successful AI integration as inspiration.
Content creationGenerative AI for marketing has quickly become a hot topic. With the rise in popularity of Open.ai’s GPT-3, content creation is one of the first uses of AI for digital marketing that comes to mind.
There are also paid AI apps that use GPT-3 that have been especially designed for creating copy (like jasper.ai and copy.ai). They allow you to get even more specific with things like brand voice. Let’s take a look at specific uses for AI in content marketing.
Landing page copy
If you have a complex idea that you’re struggling to simplify, AI can edit it down for you. Then you can tweak the phrasing if need be and use it as landing page copy.
Copy.ai has a template for landing page copy that you can use, as shown in the example below.
The copy it outputs can be even more specific if you upload your brand’s voice and specify what you’re selling.
Long-form contentWhile it’s still probably not best to plug a prompt into ChatGPT or Copy.ai and publish the results directly to your blog without changes, they can help with long-form content creation.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use AI to create content.
- Brainstorming article ideas (it’s always a good idea to conduct further keyword so you can be sure the topics are still relevant). Here we asked ChatGPT to pretend it was a PPC specialist starting a blog.
- Providing relevant keywords (both short and long) along with their search volumes. Here we asked ChatGPT to provide long tailed keywords based on the article titles it created above. It’s also important to check the accuracy of these keywords before using them so you can be sure they are accurate.
- Bringing up points you may not have thought about. We asked ChatGPT to highlight an aspect of PPC marketing that isn't often talked about.
- Asking to explain topics in a simple way to better understand them.
- Brainstorming article ideas (it’s always a good idea to conduct further keyword so you can be sure the topics are still relevant). Here we asked ChatGPT to pretend it was a PPC specialist starting a blog.
Search engine optimization (SEO)In order to be confident in the quality of SEO research that AI platforms are outputting, it’s probably best to go for a paid app for this one. While ChatGPT can help with keyword research, it hasn’t been updated with data past 2021.
However, Jasper.ai includes Google Search results meaning it is completely up-to-date. Jasper also has AI marketing friendly templates like one that can SEO optimize your meta titles and descriptions.
Using tools like this can help your articles rank higher in competitive keyword spaces.
Another example is eCommerce premium coffee business Glory CLoud using AI platform Speedybrand.io to increase their organic website traffic and gain visibility. They used a combination of AI generated SEO optimized articles and strategic social media posts to grow to 1000 daily unique visitors.
Platforms like Copy.ai provide templates that can help you hone down on what you want to communicate to your customers and prospects.
For example, if you wanted to show you know how to solve a prospective customer’s pain point, then you could use the Pain-Agitate-Solution. Input the specifics of your product in the appropriate spaces to generate an email like this:
You can also use AI to make sure your email is in the right tone of voice you’re trying to get across.
Just remember to never share any information that could be confidential with programs like these such as names, locations, or account numbers.
Proofreading and editing
Since AI chatbots have a pretty perfect understanding of natural sounding language (thanks to natural language processing) you can save a lot of time by running text through and asking it to correct any errors. There are also specific apps you can use like GrammarlyGo that can put all employees on the same page through unified accounts.
The company HackerOne used Grammarly Business to unify their communication efforts. By integrating their writing style guide with Grammarly, they equipped all of their employees with real-time suggestions for punctuation use, phrasing, tone of voice, and more. As a result they were able to increase their team communication by 66%.
Image and video creation
Easily create promotional and instructional through the use of AI software. There are many platforms that allow you to upload a script (for example, an article you’ve written). It then can turn your script into an audio recording and provide templates for the visual elements. This will allow your team to save time by not needing to record and record audio, or save money by not needing to hire a voice actor for professional sounding videos.
Free software like Canva even has a “text to image” application where you can generate AI images and use them directly in the marketing creatives you’re producing.
Enhance team meetings
On the internal side, your team can use AI to make meetings more productive. The positive effects will trickle down into all areas of work. There are a growing number of AI apps, like Otter.ai you can use in conjunction with meeting apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
Because AI meeting assistants record audio of your meetings and turn them into text, you will be able to:
- Have notes and meeting minutes automatically recorded. Delegating this task to AI will allow everyone in the meeting to be present in the moment rather than focusing on if all the important information has been written down.
- Have a searchable database of meeting transcripts and summaries. Have you ever tried to remember a piece of information from a previous meeting, only to not be sure exactly what was said and when? Recall information people have said in the meeting faster and more accurately.
- Give people who missed the meeting a chance to be caught up and on the same page as everyone else.
Certain apps like Firefly.ai take note of who is in the meeting, and calculate percentages of who was speaking and how much. If your teams’ goal is to get everyone involved more, this can be a great asset.
Meeting assistants can also keep track of dates and times mentioned, or topics discussed so that you can refer to them later.
Social meeting management
Managing social media profiles can be a time consuming task, from creating relevant content to keeping up with messages and replies.
Have AI assist you with:
- Creating captions for posts by using an AI app that can emulate your brand voice. For example, Jasper.ai has an Instagram caption creator.
- Creating unique graphics with the use of DALL-E or Canva.
- Analyzing how well your posts are performing and what can be done to improve engagement, like posting at certain times of the day.
It’s likely that your customers and prospects will have a lot of the same questions and problems arise. Traditionally, companies have directed users to a FAQ page and then offered support if the answer wasn’t found there, but chatbots allow a way more fluid and personalized experience for the user on the other side of the screen.
This will save your team providing the same answers over and over again, and leaving your customers and prospects with the feeling that they were being helped in real time.
Support botsGE appliances use Amazon Liv to gather information from customers quickly before they are transferred to a live agent. This saves the customers and agents time, ultimately leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction.
Landing page bots
A well-executed chatbot can help prospective buyers find the information they’re looking for all while peaking their interest into your services and prospects.
This is the same concept as a brick and mortar retail store worker coming up to you as you enter the store and asking if there’s anything they can help you find. Too overbearing or complicated and they might scare you away, or too aloof and they might miss out on making a sale.
Marketers around the globe are forever in search of the next big strategy that is going to put them ahead of the competition for pay-per-click advertising. Bringing artificial intelligence to the table can greatly improve your PPC campaigns by using the technology wisely.
Here are some ideas for leveraging AI in digital marketing:
Search Generative ExperienceGoogle’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) blends the traditional search engine features with artificial intelligence. As the product name suggests, this gives users a more immersive search experience. Not only will you get results from the web, but you’ll also be able to take a conversational approach to researching the topic you’re interested in.
A few months prior to Google’s release of SEO, Microsoft’s Bing integrated ChatGPT into their search to provide a similar experience.
Use Google’s Smart Bidding
If you're running Google’s Smart Bidding with your ads, then you’re already using AI with your PPC campaigns.This AI powered bidding management frees you from manually adjusting for your keywords and ad groups.
Instead it uses the bidding strategy you selected to decide if your ad is going to have a high likelihood of getting a click or conversion. You can choose your bidding strategy based on your business goals.
Find your perfect audience
Since AI can pull out patterns from large amounts of data, it’s useful for recognizing human behaviors. This makes it possible to find the exact niche group and target audiences that are most likely to click on your ads and turn into conversions.
Google’s Performance Max campaigns use AI technology to find which audiences will perform best with your ads through audience signals. These signals can be from data you provide about your users (this used to be Customer Match and remarketing lists, or custom segments).
Once you provide this information to Google, it will use its machine learning to find new audiences that you would not have been able to discover on your own.
There have also been dedicated AI platforms pop up which focus solely on finding target audiences. The right app for you depends on where you are in your sales journey.
For example, if you’re just starting out and don’t have any historical purchase data, then you can use a platform like Userpersona.dev that automates user personas based on the information you give about your business.
This, coupled with personalized ad copy, makes for an effective combo.
Maximizing potential for image and video ads
Google recently announced that it’s launching new AI-powered campaigns. One of the two, called Demand Gen, will give you the opportunity to show your top performing video and image assets to over 3 billion users across YouTube, Discover, and Gmail.
The other, Video View, uses a single campaign to allow advertisers to show their video ads in-stream, in-feed, and while users are browsing YouTube Shorts. So far it has shown to increase views by a 40% average when compared to in-video skippable ads.
Neither of the two new campaigns have launched yet, although it is possible to join beta testing for Demand Gen. Both of the campaigns should be rolled out later in 2023.
Google also announced Product Studio, a generative AI feature that will produce product imagery from the Merchant Center Next platform. By using Product Studio, you’ll be able to bypass the struggle of optimizing your Google Shopping product images by creating AI generated lifestyle images.
For example, you’ll be able to provide product images and then describe the background scenery you’d like to be generated. Product Studio will give you a few options to choose from.
Monitoring performance in real-timeNew AI technologies that are constantly consuming and analyzing data make it possible to optimize your campaigns based on incremental data. Incremental data builds upon the previously collected data, instead of building the data sets from scratch every time.
This allows you to always be up-to-date with any market or consumer changes and update your campaigns accordingly. One example of this is conversion tracking for Google Ads. It allows you to track customer actions like app installations, phone calls, and other website actions.
It is very important to note that you need to make sure you’re asking for consent to collect data when a user is accessing your website.
Providing predictive analytics
You can also use AI to predict what consumer behaviors will look like, how future users will interact with your ads, and market trends in your niche. Based on this information you can tailor your campaigns or create new ones to catch any traffic from these emerging trends.
Google Analytics 4 provides the ability to use predictive metrics if you meet the criteria through audience builder and Explorations. You’ll be able to track three metrics:
- Purchase probability: Let’s you know if a user who was active on your app or website in the last 28 days will make a conversion.
- Churn probability: If a user who was active in the last 7 days will stop being active in the next 7 days.
- Predicted revenue: How much you can expect a user to spend in the next 28 days who was active in the previous 28 days.
For more insights on leveraging AI in PPC check out our other article: How to Use AI in Advertising to Enrich Your PPC Efforts in 2023
Acquiring new customers is a laborious process involving a lot of time, planning, and effort for teams.
Some of the manual tasks that can now be automated include:
- Finding potential customers
- Deciding how likely they are to buy
- Gathering contact information
- Sending out initial communication and follow ups
You can optimize funnels with AI by interpreting large amounts of customer and prospect data. It’s then possible to trigger specific workflows for email campaigns based on this information.
Hubspot has created new AI marketing tools for email creation within its interface. Their Email Marketing Software lets you create workflows and triggers to reach your audience at the right time with the right information.
They also have a tool to scan your emails and extract names and phone numbers that are saved and created into customer profiles. This allows for seamless further communication. You can also use their content assistant and ChatSpot to write the contents of the emails for you.
Retaining your current customers is more cost effective than obtaining new customers. That’s why it’s common to pour resources into churn prevention.
But knowing the exact reason for churn can be a complicated task that involves analyzing data, human behaviors, and recognizing patterns over time. AI can simplify this greatly. Use it to tune you in to common points in a customer’s journey that lead to them abandoning your product or service.
- Detect the exact points in which customers are leaving
- Determine the best time for companies to reach out to customers to prevent them from leaving
- Analyzing customer satisfaction survey results
- Predicting when customers will leave
- Gather data on customer behavior
A/B testingTake A/B testing a step further by adding the element of AI to your experiments. Once completing the test, an AI app will be able to analyze the results and provide valuable insights. They can also help you choose what to test in the first place.
For example, ABtesting.ai uses AI to recognize the titles, copy, and CTA from the URLs you provide. It then suggests alternatives for you to try out. During the experiment, it uses AI to track conversions and show the variation that is performing the best. It will then decide on the best combination as shown below:
Some other examples of things you can A/B test are:
- Ad campaigns
- Email subject lines
- Article headlines and meta descriptions
AI tools can also generate heatmaps, reducing the need for A/B testing website element placement. They show where users are most hovering their mouses, clicking, and reading. This will then inform you about where on a landing page users are more likely to give their attention.
Platforms like Zyro allow you to build your website around AI generated heatmaps.
You then can place important copy, images or buttons to strategically sell your product. Then perform tests until you find the option that gives you the highest amount of clicks.
AI digital marketing best practices
When implementing AI with digital marketing, it’s important to have some best practices and rules to abide by. Here are 5 that you can consider bringing into your workspace.
The future of artificial intelligence in digital marketing
Embracing AI for digital marketing at this time means being open about the possibilities and using them to your advantage.
In order to see your business flourish, it’s important to stay competitive in the digital landscape. And as with any emerging technology, you will definitely experience road bumps along the way. But by tracking your results and setting clear goals, you will be able to keep learning and improving.
What’s in store for the future of digital marketing artificial intelligence?
Marketers may find they are placing more importance on optimizing for voice search, virtual reality, and augmented reality as these features become more regular in households. This shift is similar to the one towards optimizing more for mobile shopping than desktop shopping.
While the possibilities of AI are exciting, customers generally still like to know there’s a human on the other side of the service or product. And as people become more AI literate, it will be apparent to consumers when there isn’t the element of human care involved.
If you can use AI to create balance between providing real value for customers and improving your overall efficiency then it can enhance your marketing efforts rather than providing more friction.
Looking for more ways to optimize your digital advertising campaigns for AI Search? Check out this article next: How To Optimize Ads For AI Search: Guide [& CHECKLIST]