Artificial intelligence (AI) is on everyone’s lips in areas such as transport, health and public administration, but how can it actually be used in digital marketing? The combination of technologies makes it possible for machines to carry out cognitive functions that are otherwise reserved for humans. With the help of artificial intelligence, which carries out analyzes based on large amounts of data and learns new knowledge, marketing can be optimized in a profitable way.

In this article we explain what AI actually is and how it can help save time and work in digital marketing – so it’s definitely worth using! We also go into the advantages of AI in marketing. Finally, in order to make this rather abstract topic a little more tangible, we will give a few examples of companies that are already using AI on the marketing side and dare to look into the future to see what potential AI still offers. You will find out why it is also worthwhile for you and your company to venture into AI.

What is AI actually?

Artificial intelligence, often referred to as “Artificial Intelligence” (AI), consists of a combination of techniques. These enable machines to perform cognitive functions . Thanks to AI, for example, they can learn new content and connections, argue and interact with their environment.

Today, artificial intelligence is already being used in many areas , such as medical diagnostics . AI is also used in self-driving cars and in facial recognition, which may even be available on your cell phone.

And there are also many ways to benefit from the capabilities of AI in digital marketing. For example, intelligent algorithms help to find the right target group, personalize advertisements and design content better. So-called “social listening”, i.e. understanding how people are talking about your brand online, can be implemented with significantly less work with the help of an AI .

AI algorithms are able to process large amounts of data particularly quickly . This allows them to classify images, recognize faces and languages, and find patterns. Based on these patterns, they create forecasts and recommendations that can be adapted to new amounts of data over time.

But wait a minute – will this artificial intelligence soon be smarter than us humans? Do not worry! Although they are able to process much larger amounts of data than we are, machines will probably never master the typical human intelligence, which includes our emotions. As in many areas, when it comes to AI and digitization, the solution lies somewhere in the middle: human and machine intelligence must be combined – we all benefit from that.

How does AI fit into digital marketing?

Digital marketing is characterized by a high pace of development and often huge user data. These large amounts of data are often very opaque for us humans, especially if we do not have an additional degree in statistics. This ambiguity sometimes makes it difficult to decide on a channel in online marketing. It is already clear that each individual customer journey looks different and usually runs through several channels at once.

With an increasing number of marketing channels, tools and approaches, getting online marketing right can be overwhelming. This is exactly where artificial intelligence comes into play. For example, it helps with the following aspects:

  • Understanding customers : By analyzing large amounts of data, the AI ​​can find the “moment of truth” in the customer journey and also determine whether customers actually read and understand a text.
  • Choosing the right technology : Brands like Amazon are already using AI to make assumptions about emotions. This analysis of the likely mood of customers helps to adjust marketing accordingly.
  • Use avatars : Chatbots, virtual cosmetic consultants and other automated services can be made more intelligent thanks to AI.
  • Book small-scale advertising : Digital outdoor advertising could soon become significantly smaller and more flexible in order to reach very specific target groups. AI calculates when which advertising could match who.

However, it is always the case that artificial intelligence first needs a basis . In the form of software, this basis is fed with existing information, for example with data sets on past advertising campaigns. The AI ​​uses this data to learn from it. In combination with your targets, she then begins to make suggestions and continuously evaluate their success.

What advantages does AI offer in marketing?

Surveys have shown that marketers see the greatest potential for artificial intelligence in the areas of personalization and automation . The intelligent applications are already helping to better understand the target group and adapt communication accordingly. The AI ​​takes over the automatic data analysis, which saves you and your team a lot of work.

The AI ​​not only saves time, it also simply performs some tasks better than humans . Hard but fair! This is especially true for complex data tasks and for tasks that cannot be performed manually in a humanly reasonable time frame. After all, we’ve all probably built a transposed number into Excel at some point, haven’t we? That’s not what happens to the AI. 

This is by no means a threat to workers, but rather a relief . Because thanks to the work of the AI, you have more time to work on strategic challenges. Together with your team you can evaluate the results of the AI, develop new algorithms and thus work on the really exciting tasks.

In many cases, artificial intelligence not only works rapidly, but even in real time. This makes it possible to increase the return on investment (ROI) of marketing actions . More conversions, increased customer engagement, and better brand loyalty are the result of real-time AI responses.

In addition, AI can also help in digital marketing with the collection and analysis of data . It records and analyzes even large quantities in real time. You can set the rules for the analysis yourself. Among other things, the AI ​​can predict the conversion probability or the interest in a message.

Thanks to artificial intelligence, it is also possible to get to know the target group and customers much better . Because the software does segmentation for you based on criteria such as gender, previous purchases or indecisive behavior. If desired, this segmentation can be very detailed. In addition, AI shows the development of the segments, since factors such as purchase intention can of course change. A real dream for your email marketing strategy! 

On the basis of all these skills and advantages of artificial intelligence, it will also be possible to carry out the following digital marketing tasks better in the future:

  • Personalized website : The insights of the AI ​​make it possible to adapt all elements of a website to the needs of the respective customer segment in real time and to trigger actions. Targeting can be carried out much more precisely, for example through notifications, recommendations or discounts offered.
  • Social Listening : AI can also check your brand image on social media. She quickly gets precise information and can, for example, also suggest suitable influencers for campaigns. It can also predict possible crises, which can then be averted more easily.
  • Communication via chatbot : Chatting with human advisors is an important service, but it is very labor- and cost-intensive. An AI bot can answer many questions just as well and, in case of doubt, forward them to a human, so that the digital service still remains human! Since the AI ​​can of course work around the clock, it naturally takes over after work and on the weekends.
  • Content Creation : The Washington Post uses an AI program that has created hundreds of articles for the newspaper. Especially in times when a company does not have sufficient internal resources, this support in creating content is very valuable. This allows the team to focus on the larger tasks.

Pioneers in marketing: who is already using AI? 

The following examples illustrate how AI can help with digital marketing in various industries – maybe one or the other example will help you as inspiration?

At Lufthansa , for example, artificial intelligence is already present in many areas. Among other things, it helps to automatically evaluate and process customer feedback. This benefits both the target group and the company itself. There is also support for answering simple emails and predictions of popular travel destinations based on which content and videos are shared the most.

Artificial intelligence is also part of the company at Starbucks , and has been since 2016. The company’s app helps to collect important data about customers and to personalize the offer accordingly. The app is able to make recommendations that suit individuals, give appropriate discounts and help find the nearest coffee shop.

A third use case for AI in digital marketing comes from ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s . Using Unilever’s artificial intelligence, the company identified the upcoming trend “Ice Cream for Breakfast”. Techniques such as social listening, marketing research and analysis of existing CRM data revealed that many popular song lyrics contain phrases such as “ice cream for breakfast”. As a result, Ben & Jerry’s developed a range of breakfast cereal flavored ice creams such as Fruit Loops and Corn Flakes.

Looking ahead: future potential for AI in digital marketing

As you can see, artificial intelligence is already very common in online marketing. In the next few years, the technology will improve significantly . For the marketing area, this means that it will become even more data-driven and individual .

In German-speaking countries in particular, the application of AI is still in its infancy in many companies. After all, the digital transformation will take a few more years . There are also privacy concerns and strict laws governing the use of data collection mechanisms.

What is certain, however, is that AI supports productive work in online marketing and can provide new insights into the target group, the best advertising channel and the appropriate marketing content. It is therefore all the more important to deal with this topic now.

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