Artificial Intelligence: How is it Used Within Digital Marketing?

Artificial Intelligence: How is it Used Within Digital Marketing?

21/09/16 | Chloe Mayo

“Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior. But then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex when he looks at a flower.” Alan Kay

Driverless cars; digital assistants; robots that react to movies about robots on Youtube …it can no longer be denied that artificial intelligence is slowly integrating itself into our modern lives.

Upon hearing the term ‘artificial intelligence’, my mind immediately jumps to the humanoid robots from I, Robot that Will Smith battled successfully. However, from a digital marketing perspective, artificial intelligence refers to the intelligence, displayed by machines, which mimics human functions. This can include intelligent functions such as solving problems in order to perceive the environment and adjust accordingly. But, why does artificial intelligence continue to have a place in society? Surely as humans who watch films such as I, Robot we should reject AI in favour of commonplace, human thinking? If only to stop our robot overlords from taking over?

In fact, artificial intelligence within digital marketing works mainly due to human empathy, which extends far past human interaction. I’ll let Jeff Winger from underappreciated television show Community explain.

Jeff: I can pick this pencil, tell you its name is Steve and go like this (breaks pencil) and part of you dies just a little bit on the inside, because people can connect with anything.


a picture of Jeff Winger from the tv show Community
Don’t do it, Jeff…Steve has so much to live for…

AI machines are constantly learning and shifting to respond to human emotions so that in return, humans won’t view AI processes as a machine that cannot be trusted. This familiar relationship can be harnessed by brands to fully understand the consumer’s needs and wants, in turn delivering services that would expect higher engagement and conversion rates.

Yes, AI is extremely complex, but the surface concept within digital marketing is simple – it works to offer an enhanced user experience for mutual benefit. Below, I have detailed four ways that the use of AI could help to enhance your digital marketing strategy in the coming years.

Search Filtering
AI is already used within SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) to help filter searches to deliver content which the AI believes is of most use to the searcher. The geniuses over at Google are not unfamiliar with artificial intelligence, having created their own form of AI back in 2011. RankBrain is a specially designed algorithm used to processes millions of Google search enquiries around the world. The algorithm can take the search term ‘how many calories in an M&M’, for example, and tailor the results according to a number of learned mathematical processes and semantic practices. Google states that RankBrain is the third most important factor in determining which results appear in response to a search query. The introduction of the AI algorithm has made our role as SEO marketers slightly more challenging, as it is integral that we learn to adapt to keep up with Google’s constant advancements. For detailed information about Google’s uniquely formed algorithms, have a look at our previous blog post, which offers a comprehensive guide to the search engine’s ever-changing algorithms.

Personalised content and recommendations
By using predictive analytics to create a customised algorithm, AI can observe the behaviour of the user and use this learned information to recommend content suggestions. As digital marketers, we know how important it is to end any content with a call to action, in order to extend the longevity of the user’s visit on your website. With the use of AI technology, these calls to actions can be automatically created. Personalised recommendations are already prevalent within many leading internet sites- think Facebook, Netflix, Buzzfeed. Average time spent on the site will increase, as will the enjoyment of the user.

Website design
AI does not just benefit content SEO marketers. Self-designing websites are now a reality with the use of AI tools such as Grid or Wix. Wix proudly displays that around 86 million visitors have used their intelligent AI web design services since their conception in 2006. The service claims that it can provide its users with all the tools necessary to create a website that is fully search engine optimised, but it currently does not offer the same versatility of the WordPress platform. Perhaps in a few years, the need for web developers could cease as we place the skills into the hands of AI?

Speech recognition
Speech recognition by AI is now used to translate a wide array of languages, to ensure that content is accessible across the globe. Although speech recognition may not seem like it could impact our role as digital marketers, change is coming sooner than you’d think. Virtual assistants such as Siri or Cortana who use speech recognition software will infact change the way we create our content, should vocal search suddenly surge. Keywords in particular will have to be reexamined, as increased vocal search will see a move towards more colloquial search terms.

Although the systems I have noted above are poised to garner positive results, when used in the wrong hands, the effects of AI could be devastating. Artificial intelligence is designed to achieve goals, and will stop at nothing to do so. That’s fantastic when the AI’s goals are aligned with ours, but should there be a disagreement…well, we’ve all seen the end of I,Robot.


a picture of the end of I,Robot
Oh, Robot

However, rather luckily, it is unlikely that AI and digital marketing will co-operate to produce a life-or-death situation as AI are far more concerned on getting those nuclear codes.

I personally believe that the most effective way to sum up this blog post is with a quote by an expert AI researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky: “By far the greatest danger of artificial intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it.”

Yudkowsky has a point. Technological advances within the AI community are made every single day, therefore its true capabilities are surely still unknown. Early results show that AI can wholly enhance most digital marketing strategies, connecting with millions of consumers unlike anything we’ve seen in the digital marketing community over years past.

But there are some disadvantages. As I mentioned earlier, empathy is an overwhelming trait which makes us human. Can AI ever truly show care and concern of their customers? Can AI be creative and offer original thoughts? Until the use of AI is mainstream within digital marketing strategies, we can’t fully understand how it could change the face of digital marketing indefinitely.

If you require professional digital marketing services from an expert digital agency with the ability to create bespoke strategies, artificial intelligence or not, do not hesitate to get in contact with Active Internet Marketing (UK) by calling 0203 633 0734 today.