Artificial intelligence (AI) impacts how we work, live, and play, interact with friends and family, make online purchases, and travel from one location to the next. It is a powerful tool for digital marketing teams that can help them with their pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and SEO by simplifying how they extract, interpret, and analyze granular customer data.
Anytime you search online, use social media, interact with a chatbot, or use an app on your phone, AI is the primary driver that guides you along the process. It has become such an integral part of our lives that companies have invested heavily in this emerging technology; the market value of AI was US 136.55 billion in 2022 and is expected to achieve annual growth of 37.3% between 2023 and 2030.
While there are benefits to AI, there are also drawbacks. Being cognizant of these pros and cons will help digital marketing teams fully leverage this emerging technology. So, how will AI change digital marketing and advertising? More importantly, has this change already started?
Pay-Per-Click Advertising and SEO
The answer to that last question is a resounding yes. There are AI-powered software and tools today that can be used to improve keyword selection and targeting. AI can generate infinite data sets on keywords and keyword phrases that can help digital marketing teams with SEO, content creation, and PPC advertising.
AI is the driver behind behavior analysis. AI uses a predictive analytics model that gathers unlimited data and groups that data into manageable chunks to identify commonalities, trends, and patterns. This data can increase targeted website traffic by ensuring the right PPC ad or content is delivered to the right person at the right time.
Improving the Customer Journey
The customer journey never ends; prospects and leads are turned into first-time customers, and those first-time customers are turned into repeat business.
AI helps digital marketers engage their audience, drive customer actions, introduce customers back into the funnel, and constantly provide customers with offers, rewards, and incentives to make another purchase. This improves the customer journey by helping to identify and enhance multiple customer touch points.
Part of the process relies upon analyzing customer data at a granular level and using that information to make data-driven decisions. It’s one part scientific data gathering and another part human interpretation. Even with AI and today’s real-time digital marketing data, success or failure often comes down to human creativity and a “gut feel” for what works.
While AI isn’t advanced enough to replace the human element in digital marketing, it does improve the customer journey while also helping to create leads, reduce human error in decision-making, and increase marketing ROI.
Perhaps no better example illustrates AI’s impact than chatbots, which use prompts, leading questions, and language processing to interpret customer answers, intentions, and needs. These interactive conversations contain key identifiers that AI can capture.
AI and machine learning within chatbots helps to funnel incoming customer requests into various categories. Each time the chatbot provides the customer with another prompt or question, the answers the customer provides are interpreted by AI, which then follows up with another question until a solution is found. This allows AI to generate, qualify and direct inbound leads.
Mitigates Human Error
AI not only helps improve initial customer contact, but it also helps digital marketing teams make better, more informed decisions. It’s easy for people to misinterpret customer interactions, marketing data, conversations, and emails. Fortunately, AI has machine learning capabilities, allowing it to disseminate, interpret and categorize enormous amounts of data into an easy-to-interpret layout.
This is the world of Big Data analytics, where AI and machine learning leverages multiple statistical analysis techniques and processes to interpret large amounts of data to accurately identify and predict trends, similarities, and hidden patterns.
Improves Marketing Return on Investment (ROI)
Improving SEO, PPC campaigns and content, upgrading the customer journey, more accurately predicting future customer needs, identifying trends and patterns, and minimizing human errors all have the ultimate benefit of improving marketing ROI. AI helps companies better understand customer behaviors, needs, and actions so they can provide tailor-made and personalized solutions.
These improvements generate higher returns for each dollar spent on advertising and content creation. Increasing click-through rates, conversions, and customer actions all help to increase engagement.
AI helps streamline and automate certain digital marketing processes. This, in turn, allows digital marketers more time to improve PPC advertisements, website, and landing page performance. It also helps marketers produce better, more engaging content while upgrading customer outreach initiatives through social media and other digital marketing channels.
- AI improves SEO and PPC by amalgamating endless data to improve keyword selection and targeting.
- Content, landing pages, and websites can be improved by leveraging the Big Data of AI.
- AI improves the customer journey by empowering digital marketers to identify and improve customer touchpoints.
- AI and machine learning in chatbots can generate, qualify, and group high-quality leads 24/7.
- Digital marketing teams can use AI to improve how they make data-driven decisions.
- AI can amalgamate and analyze unlimited data in real time while helping to identify emerging trends, customer preferences, commonalities, and hidden patterns that cannot be gathered, grouped, interpreted, or identified by any one person or group of people.
- AI helps digital marketing teams make better decisions which helps to improve content creation, landing page performance, social media engagement, and multiple other digital marketing channels.
- AI improves marketing ROI by providing more accurate, timely, and relevant data that can be leveraged to improve customer engagement, the customer journey, and multiple advertising and outreach efforts.
The Limitations of AI in Digital Marketing
As with everything, there are benefits and drawbacks to AI. Some are investigating how AI can create, manage, and control content, PPC advertising, website designs, and social media interactions. We see examples of this now with fake AI Twitter accounts, fake profiles on Facebook, and multiple AI-generated comments, exchanges, and visits on YouTube and multiple other social media platforms.
Any digital marketing team that deep dives into its data will likely find strange anomalies, visits, and comments from AI-generated bots. These comments often don’t make much sense and are largely off-topic. It would be easy to dismiss this as nothing more than a couple of companies taking AI too far. Unfortunately, there is much more at stake.
- The Billions Spent on PPC Advertising
Advertisers invest billions of dollars in online advertising. Whether it’s advertising on social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram, video-sharing websites like YouTube, or search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, advertisers don’t like the idea that they’re spending money on platforms whose membership numbers, accounts and search results are inflated or impacted by AI masquerading as real people.
Taking this further, AI plays a considerable role in online advertising and click fraud. As early as 2020, it was estimated that click bots and advertising fraud cost businesses an estimated $35 Billion. Several advertiser organizations and associations are demanding more clarity on membership numbers and the prevalence of AI-generated fake accounts across all the major social media platforms.
Finally, it’s debatable if AI improves customer service and provides a better customer experience. While there’s no argument about the benefits AI provides to digital marketing teams, the question of whether customers appreciate AI chatbots and machine-learning platforms is a hotly debated topic.
It doesn’t take long before customers become incredibly frustrated with a chatbot that doesn’t understand the answers given or replies with the same question ad nauseam. Chatbots and machine-learning software that manages two-way online conversations lack the most critical aspect of customer service; empathy, understanding, compassion, and unique problem-solving are attributes AI will never duplicate.
PBJ Marketing: Navigating a Constantly-Changing Online World
If all this seems overwhelming, don’t despair. We are here to help. PBJ Marketing is a valued, trusted, and reliable digital marketing firm for multiple customers operating in various industries. Our team is focused on improving your online position by leveraging multiple proactive digital strategies.
Every day our team of project managers finds innovative ways to increase our customers’ online footprint, drive targeted website traffic and increase customer engagement.
If you want to see how we can upgrade your digital marketing strategy, contact us now.