The Future is Automated: 3 Predictions on How Automation Will Evolve Digital Marketing
in Digital Marketing Strategy & Trends | by Erika Levy
We can thank Mark Zuckerburg for standardizing the natural progression from listening to audiences to capturing data around them. In 2005 when Facebook expanded beyond the Harvard elite, the primary purpose of profile information was to help users find and be found by old and new friends. And while Facebook still claims its core value is “making the world more open and connected” it has evolved from a platform used to reunite old acquaintances to a business tool that makes its money by learning about users and packaging their data for advertisers.
Facebook was undeniably the catalyst that normalized unmasking ourselves online by voluntarily serving up data about who we know and what we like. Now, marketing giants are targeting these personal data points and using emerging technologies to reach customers through innovative, more personalized brand experiences. Much of this is done through fascinating (and futuristic) automated technologies we are only the verge of understanding.
How will data and marketing continue to collide in the future? Here are three predictions for the ways automated technology will shape the future of marketing:
Robots Will Help Drive Conversions
In 2015, the Associated Press announced that it would use software to automatically generate news stories about college sports not previously covered by the organization. Automated content creator Narrative Science, a self-described “natural language generation technology,” already provides similar services to Fortune and Big Ten Network. Artificial intelligence has been creating content, mostly in the form of new stories, for quite some time. It’s likely that as this method becomes more sophisticated and affordable, it will be used to deliver on-target messaging for brands as well.
By analyzing hundred of data points about a single user (such as demographics, location, device, and previous interactions), artificial intelligence can display the best fitting offers and content to audiences. The 2017 Real-Time Personalization Survey recently revealed that 63% of marketers who are already using AI to create content experiences saw improved conversion rates by up to 50%.
In the future, marketers will be able to move beyond standard A/B testing and avoid the limitations on dynamic content, and instead rely on AI to drive engagement through customized calls to action.
Machine Intelligence Will Encourage Hyper-Personalization
Machine learning is best at quickly finding patterns in large data sets. With increased usage, machine learning will create immediate, high-definition views of audience behaviors. This data can be used to find smaller micro-segments of customers that have shared interests and can immediately make correlations that traditional methods would be slow to recognize.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that global spending on cognitive systems will reach $31.3 billion by 2019. Brands such as Campbell’s soup are already using IBM’s Watson, described as a “cloud-based cognitive engine,” to deliver relevant one-to-one brand experiences; for instance, delivering personalized recipes based on a user’s location, what the weather is in the area, and which ingredients they want to cook with.
In the future, we can expect content from brand messages to be even more personalized based on customer feedback. Much like giving a “thumbs up” on Pandora radio, customers will continue to fine tune ad relevancy so that brands can deliver messages and products that are the perfect fit.
Marketers Will Know What Customers Want Before They Want It
Predictive marketing helps marketers cast a wider net beyond the people or businesses they have already identified. “Lookalike” audiences and similar audience targeting are already available through Facebook and Google. Up next for predictive marketing? The emergence of automated predictive intelligence.
Predictive intelligence uses sophisticated algorithms to distill and interpret data and then deliver relevant communications and offers to the predetermined ideal consumers. This intelligence is already being used prominently in B2B marketing. A Forbes Insights survey of 306 execs from companies with $20 million or more in annual revenue, found that of the companies that have been carrying out predictive marketing initiatives for at least two years, 86% of them have “increased return on investment as a result of their predictive marketing.”
Now that it’s been tested, predictive intelligence is likely to gain traction in the B2C world, where there are many more variables and demographics to account for.
Automated technologies will be useful in helping marketers discover more information about their customers. Plus, the time formerly spent on manual analysis can now be used toward advancing knowledge and skills of the platforms. Win-win, right?
Marketers can get a leg up by partnering with digital marketing agencies that specialize in demand generation and marketing automation services—who can help them find the most efficient ways to apply emerging technology stacks and stay ahead of emerging trends. Ready to ride the wave? Tell us what you’re looking forward to most when it comes to the future of digital marketing.