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.