Every year, January is the month when the predictions start flowing in for the new year.

By the time January ends, your inbox is full of articles like “5 Ways ____ industry will change next year” or “Watch out for ____ because it will change the way you ___ in year ___.”

Undoubtedly, the information is overwhelming and nauseating (at times).

You end up feeling – seriously? Is this even a trend? Worse! Why do all the articles sound the same? Are they talking about the future of digital marketing?

All this flood of information seriously makes you question the role of Content Marketing in Digital Marketing. I mean, is the Content even written for users? Or is it just made up for search engines?

Yet, in between all the overflowing information, I manage to catch a trend in Digital Marketing, which I believe is going to change the way Digital marketing industry works.

And my prophecy is – Impact of AI on Digital Marketing.

How Artificial Intelligence affects Digital Marketing:

Artificial Intelligence, aka AI, is a trend that had caught fancy of our imagination years back. For me, the first rendezvous with AI (although virtual – the irony) was when I first watched Matrix.

It was fascinating to see the Big Computer knocking down the whole human race. Matrix was further followed by Will Smith’s “i-robot” – A movie where the AI-driven robots wreak havoc across a city, which was all but driven by AI.

Again – all the scary stuff they have been feeding me through Hollywood since I was a kid hasn’t made AI – look like the “nicest guy” in the word. In fact, the association I have with AI (courtesy: Hollywood) is more about “The end of the world is near than we are here to help you.”

And the prejudices would have remained there, had I not moved away from Hollywood and read some real stuff about AI and Digital marketing.

So, how will AI help or change digital marketing in the year 2020?

Before I get down to writing about how AI will help or can help Digital Marketing, let me just simplify AI for you. AI, for me, is automation or self-driven workflows executed by machines based on the data gathered over a time duration.

I will give you a basic example of AI in the digital world.

Let’s take the ecommerce industry as an example and how AI is bound to give a better experience to all of us in the ecommerce industry.

Here is a hypothetical scenario, which is not a distant possibility.

You visit an ecommerce store and buy a pair of formal shoes from the store.  The store now has all your details stored in the database. Now, when you revisit the ecommerce store, how can the store give you a personalized experience?

Can AI play a role here?

How about the next time you visit the same ecommerce store, the website will automatically show you a formal shirt which goes with the shoes and trousers you bought earlier.

How will AI do that?

AI knows your purchase history and has the data like color, type, size, etc.  All it has to do is – find the right matching shoes and a shirt for you. What I wrote above is the essential use of AI prevalent in the ecommerce industry.

The next level of AI is when it provides a better customer experience.

How about AI creates a 3D Design with your sizes based on your past purchases, wearing the shoes and the trousers bought by you earlier? Shown next to the 3D-figure will be an option of 3 to 4 shirts, which you can click and try on the figure. (the matching algorithm will be AI-driven).

The experience (I believe) will compel you to buy the shirt that goes with the Shoe and Trouser you purchased earlier. In a nutshell, what we are looking at is – removal of human intervention at every step of helping customers make the right purchase decisions.

That was AI and its use in our day to day life. Coming to the topic “How AI will change the course of Digital marketing?”

Here is how Artificial Intelligence is impacting digital marketing:

1. AI’s impact on Searches:

How Google interprets your search queries decides the pages you will see as a part of your search results. Life is easy for google when you do a long tail keyword research such as “How to treat back pain?”. Google’s algorithm finds you the best of pages giving you tips to help you with your back pain.

The above situation turns complex when you only write “Back pain” on google. You might be looking for back pain treatment clinics, back pain medicines, back pain reduction tips, etc., etc.

Well, as far as I know – Google cannot read your mind.

The search results from Google could be one of the following:

– clinics to help you with back pain

– tips to avoid back pain

– reasons for back pain

– back pain treatment

– chair to help you with back pain

The moment you do not get results based on what you searched, you move to page 2 or page 3 of Google, which is not suitable for google.

It has failed to read your mind. Right?

Have you noticed, despite all the ambiguity around your search – Google manages to get it right 7 out of 10 times? It has only been made possible by an AI-driven RankBrain algorithm in Google.

RankBrain works on the concept of intent than just search.  

source: neilpatel.com

The above image from Neil Patel’s blog describes the way Rank Brain is working and how it promises to change the way searches will work in the future. Google looks at your browsing history and what all you have been searching on google, before showing you the result.

In a nutshell, your earlier searches help Google build a path for your new search and show you results which matched your original search.

And I know you might go “How the hell did Google know what I had it in mind? Does it read minds?” Well! All this has been made possible through Rank Brain – which is a work in progress.

I will always call Rank Brain a work in progress because there is no end to the improvements you can make in predicting the trends.

AI is supposed to get better with time, and that is what just happens here. AI improves with time and will keep giving you better results and an experience that makes you go “WOW!”.  And it will always be a work in progress until we realize the true potential of AI.

Time is not far when Jarvis, the omnipresent AI assistant of Ironman, will be your assistant under a new name. With better voice identification mechanisms developed by Amazon (read: Alexa) and Google Voice search, the searches through voice have seen a drastic improvement over the years.

The challenge with voice search is to identify the modulation in voice to give accurate results. AI is playing a significant role in making Voice search as precise as possible. Time is not far when you will stop typing on your machines.

All you will do is – speak, and the machine will act.

Today, you do not only do search via voice search. We have gone to the next level, where we expect machines to follow our command and act. For example, you look at your speakers with an inbuilt music system and ask them to play “18 till I Die.”

And the machine finds Bryan Adam’s famous song in its list, and it goes “18 Till Die!”.

In between, have you thought how images search would improve in the future?

How will AI impact image search?

I call it the next level of searching where pixel mapping through AI only gets better, and along with images, the AI also identifies the emotions (if humans are involved) in the picture.

2. Delivering a better Personalized Experience to website visitors with the help of AI:

Personalization is the flavor of the season. Brands want to give you an experience – a personal experience which you will never forget. Thereby turning into loyal customers.

Giving a free complimentary bottle of your favorite champagne. Making food as per your past tastes (spice, less-spicy, bland), etc. are some of the personalized experiences given by the hospitality industry for years.

They go that extra mile to give clients a personalized experience to build brand loyalty. What if this experience was brought to the digital – internet experience for internet users?

Think of a website’s design changing based on your search intent or Content of the website changes as per your search intent.

And as you start to interact more with the website, the website starts giving you a better-personalized experience.

I look at this as the next level of experience offered to websites users on the internet, and AI will play a massive role in this.

3. AI’s role in improving Content:

An article with limited information will soon be pushed to the last of rankings in Google in the next few months. Google has already started giving preference to long in-depth blogs.

The idea is to have Content that addresses queries of users. You might have noticed a section “Quick Questions” show up just when you type a keyword in google.

Most of the time, we click on the question to get an answer to the problem. By clicking on the item, we give Google our intent for searching that keyword, which, as I wrote earlier, helps Google improve our future search results.

What about content creators?

AI can help Content Creators find ideas they can write on. All they have to do is look for the user’s search intent for each keyword they type on google.

How about you create Content around them rather than around single word or two-word keywords.

For example, when I type AI Digital marketing on google.

The related searches at the bottom of the page give me search ideas such as:

  • How is ai changing digital marketing?
  • Application of artificial intelligence in marketing
  • What is ai in digital?
  • Artificial intelligence impact on digital marketing
  • ai vs. digital marketing
  • Artificial intelligence marketing solutions
  • Artificial intelligence virtual reality and the future of digital marketing

Courtesy AI, I have all the keywords I need to create Content around two keywords AI and Digital Marketing.

Here is another theory: I read about how AI will help find the best Content related to images.

Sooner or later, AI will judge the emotions behind images, and once that happens, the Content shown next to images will be near to the emotion identified by AI for the image. With the improvement in AI, content marketing will change for good.

To start with, the data available through AI will help produce more accurate Content for users. Secondly, all the unhelpful Content written with fluff will automatically be pushed down the rankings.

4. Better Support Experience:

Bots are soon going to replace the human customer reps sitting behind desks answering questions of customers.

How will they do that?

  source : banknxt.com

They can multitask as sales agents, experts, or just support executives. Bots will look for past patterns to create responses that will help take the communication with end customers to the next level.

Most of the companies today have already started using bots to automate their support system on the website. It is helping them cut costs and make the process more efficient.

Usually, we associate Digital marketing with only Marketing, but for me, Digital marketing is more than just selling something to customers.

I consider UI, Support, Content, experience as parts of Digital marketing. All the predictions you read about job losses because of AI are correct. Jobs will shrink in sectors where humans worked earlier. They will be replaced by AI-driven bots and algorithms, thereby taking away dependencies on humans, but jobs will only disappear for those who do not move ahead with times.

Those who learn new technologies and new trends will find themselves earning more rather than going jobless.

Before I end, here is an interesting chart for you to notice the use of Artificial Intelligence or AI in the Retail world 

source: marketingcharts.com

AI is mostly used by companies in the retail sector to improve their search, followed by content recommendation and Producing Better ads. It is also used to help them with market forecasts.

And yes, AI is used in chatbots. Thought the number is at 13% in terms of usage of AI, the trend is slowly catching up with other usages of AI.

I see AI improving the way we do digital marketing.

For me, AI’s involvement means giving a better experience to clients, cutting down on my sales cycle. Upselling, down selling based on customer’s purchase history, and moving to the next level of digital marketing.

Alright, I got to go now.

This has been one futuristic article promising a better future for the digital marketing industry.

By the way, does anyone know how AI can help me find my Car Keys?



Where are all of you when I need you the most?

Jasmeet is a founder of Lessons at Startup – A blog where he shares entrepreneurial stories. He specialises in Digital Marketing and Content Writing. He is addicted to Google News, Netflix, Good Coffee and Quora .