Looking into the future of digital marketing
Marketing, particularly digital marketing, is an ever-evolving field. This is no surprise, due to the constant updates to social media platforms and how people consume information. One of the latest technologies that could shake up the digital marketing world is artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR).
What Is Artificial Intelligence?
According to the Father of AI, Professor John McCarthy, it is, “…the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs.” So basically, we are able to create software that enables machines to learn from humans and emulate the human thinking process.
Now, that might sound scary, especially if you watch movies like Ex Machina, but AI is already implemented in many people’s lives.
When Spotify creates your Daily Mixes, it does so through an AI algorithm that learns what type of music you listen to and what music you may like based on that.
What Is Augmented Reality?
AR is the process of overlaying a digital augmentation on the real world. This may seem far-fetched and futuristic, but it is already commonplace on smartphones.
Pokémon GO is a common example of AR technology. Your phone shows you your real surroundings but with an animated monster for you to catch in front of you. This technology is creating strides in online shopping as well, from being able to virtually try on glasses to “seeing” how a couch will look in your living room.
How Will This Technology Change Marketing?
Any AI and AR changes to marketing in the near future will be subtle, and you may already have them implemented. Some of the big changes are chatbots, voice searching, and implementation into apps.
Chatbots are an AI technology that many companies have already implemented and they can be a great first step into automation and exploring AI. Chatbots can be added to your social media chats, like Facebook Messenger, to help engage with your customers and provide helpful information when you are unable to.
It is important to use this technology carefully and with a pre-determined purpose. As many of us know from yelling at our smartphone for not understanding our voice search, humans have a lower tolerance for machines making mistakes than for humans making mistakes. It is much easier to give up chatting with a robot than with a human.
When implementing this technology into your marketing efforts, you will need to know if you are going to be focused on creating an informational bot or a utility bot.
Informational bots provide, you guessed it, information. Fandango does a great job with this through Facebook Messenger. You can watch trailers, find theaters near you, and see what movies are trending that week.
Utility bots help you solve a problem. Pizza Hut allows you to order through Facebook Messenger or Twitter for carryout or delivery. This streamlines the process and gives you one less app to download onto your phone.
With increased amounts of technology that use voice searches, from your cell phone to your virtual assistant, marketers need to be aware of how their website is optimized for this new way of searching for information. 50% of all searches will be done by voice by 2020.
But don’t panic yet, as of now, the majority of people are still using text to search on their desktops, phones, and apps. We still have some time before it is commonplace to look up websites using voice search.
The most common searches with Alexa are:
- Ordering products
- Playing music
- Turning on lights
- Ordering food
- Making phone calls
AR and AI will be combined by app developers to create smart and engaging apps. One consumer company that has already delved into this combination is Snapchat. Their filters are able to detect human features and superimpose makeup or bunny ears on the face.
Facebook has rolled out 360 videos and interactive videos to help immerse the user into their friends’ worlds and interact with a business.
These tools are a great way for a company to showcase their office, their products, or an event that they are trying to promote.
Engaging with users in new and exciting ways is the goal of every marketer. AI and AR (when done right) can be the next level that sets you apart from your competitors.
These technologies can be time-consuming and costly though, so if you’re not ready to take a dive into the virtual, you still have some time before AI and AR become mainstream and 100% embedded into our lives.