It might sound like science fiction, but when it comes to online marketing, Artificial Intelligence is science fact; and in the not-so-distant future, it could be an integral part of your online marketing mix.
Of course, in movies and TV, the rise of machines is often painted in a pretty negative light for us humans. Anyone who saw the other week’s Westworld finale will know exactly what I mean, and if you didn’t, you’ve probably seen at least one of five Terminator movies over the years and you get the idea.
Hollywood says AI is out to get you, but Silicon Valley says AI is your friend -- a friend that could make you money.
Here are 3 ways the techies could be right:
It’s the age-old struggle in SEO, your agency wants more keyword content on your website, but all of that text isn’t as easy on the eye, and you want to keep things pretty.
On-site content is the necessary evil because those search engine crawlers couldn’t see your pretty pictures and they only got the relevance of a page if we told it to them.
Fortunately, those machines are getting smarter and visual search is already boosting ecommerce.
My colleague Ruth recently published a story on shoppable images on Instagram -- you can read it here, it’s really good.
This technology allows a shopper to find something on Instagram and buy it without leaving the site (so long, savings). But it’s one thing seeing something you like on social media and buying it through an ad, it’s another thing entirely to see something you like in the real world, snap a picture and let your phone find it for you somewhere on the web.
Again, it sounds like fiction, but businesses like Amazon are already working with visual search solutions and soon e-retail shoppers will be able to search for the things they want with nothing more than a photo.
Cue angry looks, as you’re caught snapping a picture of a stranger’s coat or bag.
Ever struggled to find what you’re looking for in a Google search, so you retyped that same search in a host of different ways, hoping one magic combination of keywords was going to unlock the things you were looking for?
Yeah, me too -- more than once!
Wouldn’t it be better if we could just talk to a search engine and explain what we were looking for?
With enhanced AI and natural language processing, our search engines are getting better all the time, at processing strings of information and multiple-part queries with several forms of context.
Because Siri can already do a lot more than any of us ask him to, (other voice assistants are available), and in the very near future, he and his peers will be capable of helping us find things one to one. All we have to do is ask.
The challenge for the SEO community is to adjust our methods to cater to a less formalised, more conversational method of searching. Because the keywords you’re targeting may not be the questions that people are going to ask.
Personalised online shopping
We don’t all have personal shoppers and private jets but it ain’t all bad news because chatbot technology means that more and more ecommerce sites are going to give us our very own personal shopper online.
They can’t do anything about the private jet, though. You’ll have to figure that out on your own.
With chatbot technology, shoppers effectively tell an automation what they’re looking and that automation will provide inspiration -- bringing the ideal products to them while cutting the user journey in half.
These helpful little bots will help them find the right products and the information they collect will prove invaluable to the retailer, who’ll get data which proves what their customers want most.
Global fashion retailer H&M has already trialled chatbot technology on their online store platform -- and they won’t be the last.
Over time, chatbot technology will improve until the bots can field questions and problem solve for the customer on their journey, in a natural and simple conversation.
They make for great villains in movies and TV, but in real life, AI could prove to be a retailer’s best friend and few shoppers will complain about the simplest and best shopping experience in the history of the world.
So don’t believe the bad vibes and don’t ignore AI when it comes to your digital marketing mix!