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AI in Digital Marketing: Essentials You Need to Know

AI and marketing are now closely connected through data algorithms

Similar to the image below, there are probably tons of ChatGPT memes available on different websites and social media that depict such amusing interactions. However, humor aside, artificial intelligence in digital marketing or in a broader sense, AI in marketing today is indeed no longer a futuristic idea but a reality. From Heinz to Netflix and Coca-cola, the applications of AI for marketing are prevalent across numerous sectors.

ChatGPT memes on digital marketing are widely available online

Continue reading to explore the essentials of AI in digital marketing, including definitions and scopes, how AI helps in digital marketing, and practical AI tools and implementations in digital marketing.

Table of Contents
1. Overview of AI in Digital Marketing
2. How AI empowers digital marketing
3. Applications of AI in digital marketing
4. An AI-enhanced era

Overview of AI in Digital Marketing

Concise definitions

AI revolutionized digital marketing through several AI-powered innovations

For an overview of how AI works in digital marketing, let’s first define digital marketing and artificial intelligence (AI). A direct definition of digital marketing is the type of marketing executed over digital channels, including the Internet, social media, and other platforms. A closer examination, however, reveals 3 main elements: online components, usage of algorithms, and electronic data processing as well as deliveries over digital platforms.

AI, on the other hand, can be most succinctly understood as an “intelligent machine” as a result of science and engineering, according to the father of AI who coined the term in 1956. More specifically, it is based on the idea of intelligently simulating human behavior to perform tasks that would typically require human intelligence.

AI branches and business capabilities

AI's branches and capabilities power digital marketing

Meanwhile, for a more solid understanding of the applications of AI within digital marketing, it’s beneficial to learn about the branches of AI and how AI can optimize businesses. Machine learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP), speech, and vision are the 4 main branches of AI that cover several other sub-branches such as deep learning, information extraction, text-to-speech, and image recognition. On top of these, there are other branches of AI, such as expert systems, planning, scheduling, and optimization, as well as robotics, which are considered independent branches without sub-branches.

Each of these branches is capable of processing unique techniques and focuses to contribute to different tasks and functions, such as enhancing business operations from various aspects. Among these 22 identified AI business capabilities, there are 8 particular functions closely related to digital marketing and 7 capabilities that are indirectly related to it.

The 8 features that have direct correlations with digital marketing strategies can be arranged in accordance with the typical digital marketing flow, following a logical progression from lead generation to lead conversion and maintaining engagement: Lead generation, predictive audiences, content creation, automated send-time optimization, recommendations, visual search, brand detection, and product identification. Concurrently, machine learning, deep learning, analytics, predictive scheduling, data discovery, sales intelligence, and predictive scoring are AI business capabilities that are indirectly related to digital marketing.

All these fundamental understandings of the branches of AI and its business capabilities are key to gaining a deeper comprehension of how exactly AI works and helps in digital marketing, which will be discussed in-depth in the next sections.

How AI empowers digital marketing

Major players like Google and ChatGPT fuel AI content growth

Combining the AI branches and their business capabilities, the following are the top seven core aspects related to digital marketing:

  1. Automated data analysis and decision-making: The machine learning and deep learning branches, as well as analytics, data discovery, and data management functions of AI, make automated decisions possible as AI handles and processes vast amounts of data fast and efficiently. Through automated data analysis, product identification competencies of AI aid in digital marketing directly by making informed decisions about inventory and personalized marketing.
  1. Enhanced A/B testing and campaign optimization: The essential traditional A/B testing method in digital marketing can be transformed through AI in terms of speed and comprehensiveness. The machine learning and predictive analytics AI branches, along with its testing and predictive scoring features, enable a quicker and more thorough A/B testing method, which involves comparing two different sets of marketing materials with slight differences (usually recommended with 1-3 differences) to determine which variant of them is more well-receptive. The AI brand detection functionality also helps to optimize campaigns through active monitoring of brand presence and reputation.
  1. Content creation and NLP: Compared to the traditional way of generating marketing content, which takes up much time and creativity capacity of marketers, AI-generated content and Natural Language Processing (NLP), including translation and information extraction, can not only increase productivity but also provide personalized content suggestions and automated copywriting functionalities.
Predictive analytic capabilities of AI support lead generation
  1. Predictive analytics for lead generation: Leveraging the predictive analytics strengths and lead generation potentials, AI can forecast the likelihood of lead conversion and automate subsequent relevant actions to improve the overall lead qualification and management process. AI capabilities may also automate related follow-up actions to further improve the lead generation method or to outperform competitors’ strategies.
  1. Timing optimization for marketing messages: AI’s ability to conduct automated send-time optimization and predictive scheduling is most helpful in determining and setting up the best times to send out marketing messages automatically according to customer behavior and preference analysis.
  1. Improved/ personalized customer experience: As a result of all the related AI features, the overall customer experience can be improved. AI can also further personalize the experience with its two sales-related strengths: predictive audiences and sales intelligence, which help to analyze and target custom sales strategies. Simultaneously, AI recommendations and visual search features are beneficial in providing engaging and intuitive ways for users to find products best suited to them.

Applications of AI in digital marketing

For easier understanding and navigation, the following major applications of AI in digital marketing, along with their corresponding AI tools, are organized and explained according to the marketing funnel stages

Content Creation and optimization

AI can help to improve content optimization including SEO

To begin with, AI content creation tools can significantly enhance the overall content creation and optimization process from 3 main aspects: generating comprehensive, diverse, and large volumes of content rapidly and automatically; improving content strategy; and optimizing content, including Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

AI content creation generally encompasses a wide range of content types, from ad copy and landing pages to social media content and blogs, effectively addressing all types of digital marketing content. Simultaneously, AI tools also support the creation of multimedia content, including images, audio, and video files, greatly enriching content diversity and freeing digital marketers from traditionally time-consuming and costly multimedia content generation tasks.

From a content strategy perspective, AI tools help digital marketers improve their strategies with data-driven recommendations and provide automated content marketing strategies through content auditing functions, which are normally capable of analyzing various websites to identify gaps and opportunities.

Ultimately, from a content optimization standpoint, AI content editing tools can perform detailed edits for grammar and spelling, and improve clarity and readability targeted at specific audiences. Specific AI SEO tools can also recommend SEO keywords and meta tags as well as overall content structure to optimize content for search engines.

The standout tools for this feature include Jasper.ai, ChatGPT, MarketMuse, Hemingway App and Surfer SEO.

Social media management

AI digital marketing tools incorporate social media management capabilities

Digital marketing is incomplete without social media nowadays, in view of its popularity and ubiquitous presence in everyone’s daily life. Practically every digital marketer has to master some sort of social media marketing skills in order to stay relevant in the highly competitive digital marketing world.

AI digital marketing tools specialized in social media applications offer common features such as social media post creation, automated posting schedules, and planning for social media strategies, including usage of particular captions and hashtags. Meanwhile, these tools can also perform real-time social media brand sentiment analysis, monitoring and analyzing online mentions of particular brands and trends.

Essentially, AI tools help companies enhance their social media presence as they can generate quick, tailored, and engaging content based on customer sentiments and behavior over social media while also maintaining timely responses. 

The standout tools for this feature include Brand24, Flick, FeedHive, Brandwatch Influence, and Influencity.

Email marketing

AI digital marketing tools revitalize email marketing

One of the oldest and most enduring forms of online marketing, email marketing remains as an effective way to stay in touch with target customers, particularly those who subscribe to receive the latest product and discount information. AI email marketing tools can further revitalize this traditional form of digital marketing in several significant ways.

Firstly, they are able to optimize send times and frequencies by analyzing the email engagement patterns between customers and the company, generating personalized content, and offering specific recommendations, including real-time information such as dynamic pricing and offers.

In a nutshell, automated email campaigns with optimized timing and frequency can be conducted, effectively enhancing overall email marketing implementation.

The standout tools for this feature include Seventh Sense and Reply.io.

Advertising and account management

Advertising strategies and account management are experiencing significant updates with AI-driven tools. Highly personalized and optimized ad content across multiple digital platforms can be generated according to data-driven audience segmentation, completed with the help of users’ web and application usage analysis.

Furthermore, AI-driven programmatic advertising can also automate the ad placement process across various platforms based on users’ browsing history and preferences, while producing more tailored and engaging content for them.

The capability of AI-powered account management tools to gain insights about the intent of key accounts helps to produce more relevant campaigns that can resonate with these targeted accounts. Consequently, these tools also help to ensure efficient resource allocation for the most promising accounts only, saving resources while also increasing the likelihood of successful conversions.

The standout tools for this feature include Smartly.io, Albert.ai, and 6Sense.

Chatbots and conversational AI

AI chat marketing tools drive AI improvements in digital marketing

While people often associate chatbots and most conversational AI with automated customer support or customer service, there are actually many conversational AI platforms that are specialized as chat marketing tools. The fact that most AI-powered chatbots provide real-time chat assistance in multiple languages makes them excellent tools for providing comprehensive marketing support and aiding in lead generation.

AI chatbot tools with conversational intelligence features can also transcribe and analyze phone conversations to improve lead categorization and sentiment analysis to increase lead conversion probabilities. Ultimately, most AI-based chat marketing tools can automate and enhance customer interactions across various messaging platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram.

The standout tools for this feature include: – Drift, ChatFuel, ManyChat, Tidio, LiveChatAI, CallRail’s Conversation Intelligence

An AI-enhanced era

This AI-enhanced era enables AI innovations in digital marketing

AI in digital marketing is essentially a specific application under the broader field of AI marketing, which covers all AI technologies relevant to marketing and capable of improving marketing efforts. There are at least four main branches of AI with capabilities directly related to digital marketing, such as content creation, automated send-time optimization, and visual search. On top of these, automated data analysis and decision-making enhanced A/B testing and campaign optimization, as well as timing optimization for marketing messages are some of the key ways AI empowers digital marketing.

A short conclusion is that whether we like it or not, the current development trend indicates that AI is destined to become an integral part of our human development progression. Even though AI-powered tools may eventually disrupt all known forms of digital marketing in this AI-enhanced era, it is currently moving in a more automated, efficient, and advanced direction, potentially signifying a more promising future for digital marketing.

To gain further knowledge and tips on how AI impacts the business world, visit Alibaba.com Reads frequently to stay updated with relevant industry insights and maintain a competitive edge in the international wholesale business.

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