The term artificial intelligence is now applied to such a wide range of applications these days, it’s difficult to know what AI truly is.
We hear that Google is using AI in search, Facebook uses it for facial recognition and Netflix is using AI to ‘conquer the world‘.
These examples are all very interesting, but they do leave many wondering what exactly AI is and how can they apply it, now, to their everyday marketing tasks?
To start things off, Ms. Kay wanted to make it clear what people mean when they talk about AI.
“Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability for computers to perform tasks that, in the past, only humans could do.”
That is, AI is a technology which allows computers to conduct analysis, write copy and even serve customers. Additionally, unlike humans, computers can draw upon vast data resources which would be difficult, if not impossible, for people to explore while conducting these tasks.
So how exactly can AI be applied to marketing? Here are four main ways in which AI is being developed to handle tasks traditionally carried out by marketers.
1) Computer vision
While everyone is well-aware that computers have been able to take and store photos for decades, with AI, computers can start to make sense of the people and objects in the images.
So how does this help marketers? One example offered by Ms. Kay is that AI can be used to tag and classify images, making them more available to site searchers and web crawlers for SEO purposes.
Computer vision AI can also be used, as platform deep.social did, to categorize influencers according to their demographics, brand affinities, and interests.
2) Natural language generation (NLG)
Another exciting application of AI which is relevant to marketers is the steadily-improving ability of computers to convert data into conversational-style language.
One current example of this, available to all digital marketers, is Google Analytics (GA). Located in the ‘Analytics intelligence’ toolbar, GA reports, in English, noteworthy events. Insights include topics like ‘The bounce rate decreased on some landing pages’ and ‘More users returned to your site in December’.
The company Narrative Science also provides a service, Quill Engage, which takes GA data as an input and produces natural language as an output. Quill Engage, however, offers information which marketers can easily cut-and-paste into a weekly management update, saving hours of time and effort.
Another company using NLG to help marketers is Automated Insights whose Wordsmith product helps generate engaging, unique copy for product descriptions and categories at scale.
Finally, NLG can also be used to increase a marketer’s creative output.
3) Conversational chatbots
While AI-based assistance, or chatbots, may have fallen out of the spotlight lately, marketers are urged to take another look at their potential.
In Singapore, over 100,000 commuters are now plugged into the ‘Bus Uncle‘ platform which offers bus arrival times via Facebook Messenger. Bus Uncle accepts natural language questions (‘when will the 198 get here?’), asks English follow-up questions (‘where are you?’) and responds using amusingly colloquial ‘Singlish’ (‘7 mins go make soft boil egg’).
4) Personality insights
A relatively new AI application, also useful for marketers, is the analysis of publicly-available social media and blog posts, resulting in personality profiles of the writers.
Frrole.ai has commercialized this technology to provide brands with audience intelligence and make suggestions to customer service teams about how best to respond to people based on the language they use on social media.
IBM Watson Developer Cloud, too, offers AI-generated personality insights through analyzing Tweets – which marketers can try out themselves at the IBM Watson website.
Leveraging this technology can help marketers both identify characteristics of their customer base as well as improve customer service.
Finally, here are a few examples of how AI technologies could be combined to offer powerful services which would be difficult for humans to emulate.
Chatbot + Personality insights
- A chatbot which identifies clients who are using atypical ‘unhappy’ language and redirect conversations to customer service personnel.
Chatbot + computer vision
- A chatbot which can take photos as chat instead of making people type in details, such as a product SKU or a loyalty card ID.
Personality insights + natural language + chatbot
- A chatbot which can change the language it uses depending on the personality of the person it is chatting too.
With the technology innovations now available, the possibilities of harnessing AI for marketing, she concluded, are endless. It is up to marketers now to explore the AI universe and find which solutions are best suited for their brand.