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How Artificial Intelligence Can Improve Your Marketing Strategy Online marketing is the first in line for disruption, and it is a ripe field for automation and machine intelligence as well.

By Moustafa Mahmoud

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic at the moment, mainly due to the applications it can have in so many fields, and its ability to transform every industry. It has the potential to be the most revolutionary technology since computing itself.

Online marketing is the first in line for disruption, and it is a ripe field for automation and machine intelligence as well. When you think of any marketing campaign aimed at acquiring new customers to your online presence, there are five main components that would go into preparing for such a campaign.

Here's a look into those five components, and how artificial intelligence can provide significant opportunities for improvement in each:

1. Marketing channel

Also known as your "traffic source," this is the platform where you plan to execute your marketing campaign such as Google, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. The choice for the marketing channel will depend on the type of audience you are looking for, mainly their "intent." If someone is actively searching for your product on Google, their intent is completely different from someone simply browsing their Facebook feed with no active intent to look for your product.

Artificial intelligence can automate the selection of the marketing channels for your campaign based on your objectives and the historical data from your previous campaigns. It also can continuously optimize the selection of these channels for future campaigns based on the results it achieves. The output of each campaign serves as an input to the learning algorithm to help the AI improve on its next run.

2. Targeting

You can choose a great marketing channel for your business, but targeting is what enables you to reach the exact audience that is relevant to your business. In order to focus the delivery of your company on acquiring users relevant to your business, you need to first think of the targeting criteria you will use on the marketing channel to zoom in on that audience.

For example, if you are doing search advertising you will want to focus on people searching for keywords that could show they're interested in your product. If you are doing Facebook advertising, you might want to show your audience to a demographic you feel represents your typical customer. AI can help in this area by using your historical data to actually identify gaps in your targeting and run experiments with enhanced targeting parameters in order to reach a more refined audience.

Related: Beyond Robots: Reimagining Artificial Intelligence

3. Placements

Each marketing channel provides you a selection of placements where you can show your message to users- for example, these can be right-hand side, in-feed, full page pop up, and more, depending on the channel. However, each placement will have different results even if it's running the same ad. AI can automatically identify the best performing placements for any campaign based on historical data, and by running multiple tests for each new campaign on multiple placements.

4. Creatives

The creative is ultimately what your audience sees. What are you going to show the prospects to incentivize them to click through and land on your website? This is usually a very design intensive process, with people often having to go great lengths to design a perfect creative that performs well. AI can actually dynamically generate creatives and banners for your campaign using the image and text that exist on your website, in a very unique process that often results in a majority choice of the marketing channel.

But the ability to run tests on each of those creatives, and automatically select the winning ones is what makes this approach extremely attractive. We personally use this in our own product (instascaler.com), and we can create thousands of banners for any URL in under one minute- and it's all done automatically with no human intervention whatsoever.

5. Pricing

This is where you define how much you will pay for your campaign and the exact pricing model. AI can help tremendously in cost optimization. For example, if you are running a search campaign it can help by adjusting bids dynamically based on the quality of the traffic across multiple channels and the metrics you are monitoring which otherwise would need continuous human monitoring and tweaking.

Artificial intelligence can help in each of the areas mentioned above in different ways, such as its ability to find patterns in massive amounts of data, infinite real-time testing, make suggestions for improvement, execute decisions automatically, as well as control spending, optimize budgets and reduce waste.

Artificial intelligence today isn't simply another buzzword; it absolutely has a place in marketing technology, and will yield substantial benefits. We've arrived at the inflection point where legitimate AI-powered marketing solutions align with marketers' readiness. To prepare for the future of marketing, brands just need to advance their understanding of AI, and start testing solutions today. It must be noted here that AI will not replace marketers; they will just be able to skip the boring stuff, and let AI take care of it.

Machines demonstrated that they're just much better than humans when it comes to leveraging massive amounts of data to guide billions of repetitive decisions that drive trillions of dollars in consumers spending.

We are at the very beginning of a really exciting future when we look at the results we are generating using the automation technology we're working on, we can clearly see that we've barely scratched the surface of the possibilities ahead of us.

Related: Five Ways To Spruce Up Your Startup's Digital Marketing Efforts

Moustafa Mahmoud

Founder and CEO, Cognitev

Moustafa Mahmoud is the founder and CEO at Cognitev, a technology company that creates marketing and advertising products powered by artificial intelligence. He is responsible for scaling up the business, establishing an experienced team and developing the brand’s key products, AdRelated.com and Instascaler.com, in an effort to deliver a new approach to advertising using artificial intelligence and semantic technologies. Prior to setting up Cognitev, Mahmoud was the CEO of ShopShopMe.com, the Middle East’s first and only shopping search engine, which allowed consumers to search for products across a number of online and offline stores from one single platform. Mahmoud holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
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