As early as the 1950s, scholars like Alan Turing were seriously exploring the possibility of artificial intelligence. As computers became faster and cheaper, the dream of AI started to become a reality. By 1997, the reigning world chess champion, Gary Kasparov, lost a game of chess to an IBM computer program known as Deep Blue. Computer storage and processing speed continue to improve, which means that artificial intelligence capabilities are also growing at a rapid pace.
Where Is AI Applied?
Artificial intelligence has applications across multiple industries. It has disrupted and improved agriculture, energy and mining across the globe, and it has an incredible impact on areas like IT and manufacturing. If the idea of artificial intelligence in content marketing still feels like something that is far off in the future, then consider some of the many ways that AI is already being applied in everyday scenarios.
Artificial Intelligence in Content Marketing: Analysing Data
Perhaps the way most people already interact with artificial intelligence in content marketing is through data analysis. The rise of big data means that every single website and even small companies deal with millions or billions of pieces of information. It would be impossible, not to mention inefficient, to try to compile, track and navigate all this data by hand. Fortunately, there are plenty of programs that help marketing professionals analyse data in order to make sense of the information.
For example, businesses might post on Twitter two separate times. Although each post might have the same link, the text of the individual posts could vary. The times of the posts may be different, and it is likely that the number of clicks and engagements with each post would vary as well. Although you could open up an enormous spreadsheet and track all these data points and then compare them to similar A/B tests in the past, doing so would be a tremendous waste of valuable time and resources.
Instead, artificial intelligence and specific data analysis tools can tell users exactly what factors can predict when a post will be successful. After several weeks of posting, for example, you might be able to determine that your audience is most likely to read your Tweets between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesdays or that adding a photo increases engagement significantly. All of this analysis can help you to increase your audience, give your content an extra boost and connect with more customers or potential leads. Of course, data analysis isn’t just reserved for social media. It can analyse how long people spend on a particular blog post or whether recipients are more likely to open emails on Sunday nights or Monday mornings.
Tracking Keywords With Artificial Intelligence
In the world of content marketing, one of the clear strategy winners in recent years is the idea of inbound marketing. An inbound approach helps interested individuals find you organically through content, keywords and targeted SEO. In order for inbound marketing to be as effective as possible, however, businesses need to know how people are finding their websites and what searches are the most effective.
For example, you might have a website detailing your home cleaning business. You may write blog posts featuring tips for cleaning a home as well as suggestions for how to find a good local home cleaner. Even if you’re taking care to include relevant keywords, create spectacular content and include meta descriptions, you won’t necessarily know why certain blog posts are more successful.
Software that can help you track keywords can make a huge difference to your content marketing strategy. If you know that most people searching for your services are local, you might make an effort to include more geo-location terms in each blog post. You can also start to track keywords trends, and you can create new content that reflects those changes. If this was something you had to try to guess at or something you had to attempt by hand, it would be virtually impossible. Through AI technology, however, it is easier than ever to understand and track keywords making artificial intelligence in content marketing highly beneficial.
Monitoring Search Volumes
Just as important as knowing what people are using to search for you online is knowing when they are searching. In addition, it helps to know when people are searching for something that you as well as your closest competitors might be able to provide. Say, for example, that you own a pizza restaurant in Nottingham. There may be several pizza providers in the vicinity, and many local users search for pizza places before walking or driving to get a pizza.
By knowing when people are most likely to be searching for terms that bring up your pizza restaurant, you can target your advertisements to coincide with peak times. For example, you might sponsor listing results on Google search engine results pages on Saturday nights when most people are searching for pizza locally. You could also time campaigns to seasons when your competitors get the least amount of traffic in a bid to take over their market share. There are several different strategies that your marketing and advertising teams could take, but each will be more effective if you first gather, track and analyse search volumes for varied times, days and seasons.
Using AI Bots to Communicate With Customers
One of the most revolutionary ways that AI has impacted marketing and consumer interaction is through the use of chatbots. As the name implies, a chatbot is a robot programmed to chat with users online. Chatbots are an incredible way to save time and resources, and they can streamline the entire process of customer support.
Not only do Chatbots make up a larger portion of artificial intelligence in content marketing than before, but they have also moved beyond the theoretical and now have many practical, real-time applications. Uber and Facebook, for example, have chatbots available. Users can ask questions or choose from common preset questions, and a chatbot will give back an automated response.
Initially, chatbots were sometimes thought of as clunky, or their responses weren’t necessarily appropriate for the question. Today, however, you can program chatbots to better understand queries and provide more meaningful and targeted responses. You can order a car through Uber thanks to a chatbot or you could order flowers, pick out the flowers, ask questions about prices and have them delivered to a specific address, and it can all be done without the effort of a customer service agent. Clearly, the potential for chatbots is huge. More and more companies can offer customer service without having to pay staff to be on-call for chats or phone calls, saving a tremendous amount of money over the long term. Best of all, modern users prefer chatbots to phone calls in many cases, making it a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Artificial Intelligence and Customising News Feeds
Just a decade ago, opening up a news website meant that users would immediately see the most popular stories of the day. A team would put together the most interesting stories and adjust the front page as needed to accommodate bigger stories or remove less relevant topics. Today, the front page might look the same to the average user. However, their news feed might look very different to the news feed of the next person who clicks to open the website.
That’s because today, artificial intelligence programs can customise and curate news feeds to better anticipate the preferences of each individual user. Artificial intelligence in content marketing is making it easier to provide a personal experience to the customer. If User A went to a news website and only read local news stories, then local stories might be the first choices on their news feed the next day. For User B, however, UK politics may be the first pick based on past preferences, clicks and time spent on each page.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit already use this technology. Algorithms determine what you’ll see, which is a departure from the chronological news feeds of the past. From a content marketing perspective, there are many practical applications. You can show a user the blog posts that are most relevant to their needs, for example, and your relevant social media posts will be more likely to appear on their social feeds.
Targeted and Personalised Emails
Well over 300 billion emails are sent each and every day. If email marketing is a big part of your campaign, it can be challenging to break through the spam filter and be seen by your desired audience. Even very successful email marketing strategies see relatively low click-through and open rates. Artificial intelligence, however, plays a significant role in boosting email views.
To start, artificial intelligence in content marketing makes it so certain programs have the ability to personalise each email without manual effort. That means you can send out a mass email to all your leads, but each recipient will have his or her first name right in the headline and in the first line of the email. A personalised approach can go a long way in improving open rates.
On top of that, programs can analyse when people open emails and what topics are the most successful. For example, a woman might routinely delete emails about adult clothing but always open emails highlighting sales on children’s apparel. Knowing that, a business could send only those emails to the customer. You can also use this technology to send emails on a certain day or even at a certain time when you know the user will be most likely to open the email and click through to your content.
The Future of AI
Clearly, artificial intelligence already has a profound impact on content marketing. As technology improves further, it stands to reason that AI will play an even bigger role in the industry. While this can be an exciting prospect, it can also bring up some concerns. Among these concerns might be a worry about job prospects for those in the business of content creation and distribution. Explore some of the various ways that AI will likely play a role in the future and what concerns are unwarranted as the capabilities of artificial intelligence continue to expand.
Using AI for Content Ideation
If you talk to anyone responsible for content creation, then you’ll find that ideation is often the most challenging part of the content creation process. If your company puts out a dozen social media posts a week and writes five blog posts in the same period of time, your writers might be struggling to think of relevant topics week after week.
Really, there is an endless list of content topics to write about in every single industry. Whether you deal in IT services or retail, new developments and seasonal events create new topics daily. Nonetheless, any writer knows the challenge of thinking up another 20 potential blog topics and staring at a blank screen.
Artificial intelligence in content marketing may be able to assist with the ideation process. By using keywords, related copy already on the internet and even internal communication, AI programs can create an instant list of potential content ideas. Of course, a human will have to weed through these results in order to determine which are suitable. Most of the time, they are appropriate or could become appropriate with minor modifications. Writers everywhere will appreciate the time that AI can save with regard to the content ideation process.
More Predictive Programs
In the future, you should expect to see artificial intelligence in content marketing making an even bigger impact through predictive programs. AI already does this every time that you go to a search engine like Google and begin entering a query. When you start typing, you might see Google’s guesses for what you are about to search. Your recent search history, as well as global trends, impact this formula. The same principle applies to streaming services like Netflix. When you log into your account, you’ll see movies and shows recommended to you by the program based on your previously watched shows.
With advanced AI, the predictive powers of these formulas will become more accurate. An email marketing campaign might be able to predict a specific item of clothing you are most likely to purchase and recommend it to you right away. This can be helpful for businesses because they are less likely to spam consumers with items or services that aren’t beneficial. By only offering services that the user will likely appreciate, you’ll have higher rates of conversion overall.
Using AI for IA
IA, or intelligent assistance, is a type of artificial intelligence. Many companies are already using this technology in the form of chatbots. However, others are taking it one step further and actively encouraging customers to rely on IA to solve problems or help shoppers pick specific items.
One outdoor clothing brand, for example, asks shoppers a few questions about their jacket needs and then predicts what items they will be most interested in. At leading hotels around the world, it is not unusual to see a robot provide assistance to guests when they are checking in or if they need items delivered to their rooms. Customers are growing increasingly accustomed to having robots and other forms of artificial intelligence help them in a variety of settings.
This might impact the job market by cutting down on the number of low-skill customer service jobs. It might also impact outsourcing for international corporations. Chatbots, for example, might be able to reduce the number of live customer service agents that are needed on the phone. Many consumers can ask a question, get the answer they are looking for and move on without ever interacting with another human.
Ads That Use AI to Adjust Automatically Based on Engagement
Online advertising is now the norm for just about every company, regardless of size. Every time that you place an ad on a social media platform, through a digital ad agency or through Google, there are countless decisions that you have to make. First, you have to determine what content you want the ad to show. Then, you need to pick out a target audience, figure out what to spend and determine what the CTA will be. Once you make all these decisions, you’ll have to manually change them if your advertising strategy doesn’t go to plan.
In the future, more and more companies will rely on AI to automatically monitor and adjust their advertising campaigns, so having an artificial intelligence content marketing strategy in your business plan will be imperative. If a particular ad does far better than expected, then the program can opt to highlight that ad over others. Or, it can predict which of two ads a user is more likely to respond to and then show that one. The right AI program will be able to react in real-time, base decisions on engagement and ensure that every penny you spend on advertising is maximised to its full potential.
Artificial Intelligence in Content Marketing Makes for Faster Recognition on Search Engines
When you hit publish on that new content, it is available for people to enjoy instantly. However, it won’t instantly be searchable on major search engines like Google. Your website, and each subsequent webpage you create, has to be indexed by search engines that rely on bots known as crawlers. This process is not currently instantaneous, and it can take anywhere from a few hours to weeks.
If you’re creating content that is time-sensitive or content based on a recent event, then you want it to appear in search engine results pages as quickly as possible. Fortunately, advanced AI will make that a reality. Although there is more data being created every single second, bots and crawlers are also getting faster and more sophisticated. That means that in the future, your content will appear in SERPS in less time, allowing you to create and distribute content rapidly based on quickly moving situations like current events or election results.
Automate Manual Processes to Save Resources
One of the biggest predictions for AI also happens to be one of the least glamorous. The most significant role of artificial intelligence in content marketing will be automating processes that are currently manual. This doesn’t mean robots sitting in the office, but it does mean that routine tasks can be handled by automated software. Marketing professionals can input key information and set parameters and then let AI programs place ads and monitor their success.
Instead of paying writers to come up with ideation lists, programs can do that instantly, freeing up time for writers to create more content. Instead of tracking searches and keywords to find out which are the best choice for blog posts and social media timing, programs will be able to tell you when to post and even post for you at the required times.
Human intelligence can never be replaced by artificial intelligence. That being said, there is still a lot of room for AI growth that will impact the world of content marketing. AI can streamline processes and allow humans to focus on projects that matter. Although text generation programs are exciting from a technological standpoint, there is still a long way to go before a robot can write your landing page or craft a Tweet that can go viral. Until that time comes, businesses will rely on authors to create content that connects to their audience and helps establish meaningful relationships.