“Write the following text for me”, the human commands the machine, types in the relevant key words and, in the blink of an eye, the tool generates a text hardly distinguishable from one created by a real person. This is possible- thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI).
But what exactly is AI? What influence does it already have on the field of content marketing? And, most importantly: What does the future hold?
AI is all the rage in 2023
Artificial Intelligence, AI for short, is nothing new, however its popularity is currently sky-rocketing. One factor that triggered the hype around it was the launch of ChatGPT. As a chatbot-prototype based on Artificial Intelligence, ChatGPT began massively affecting the field of content marketing towards the end of 2022 and subsequently posed many questions for content marketers. What does the term “AI” mean? How long has it been around for? How does it influence our jobs? What are its abilities and what are its limitations?
Before we go into detail, let’s start with the basics.
Who or what is Artificial Intelligence, exactly?
Long story short: Machines, mostly computers, can solve problems and tasks the same way a human would solve them using their own intelligence. Thus, AI does not only include all aspects of information technology, but is also influenced by psychology, neurosciences, linguistics, communication sciences, mathematics and philosophy. That way, its performance is made to be as close to human as possible.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems (ICS) defines the term “AI” as follows:
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a part of computer science. It imitates human cognitive skills by recognizing and sorting information extracted from input data. The intelligence required can be based on programmed processes or created through Machine Learning.”
Teaching the Computer: Machine Learning vs. Deep Learning
For a computer to make smart and almost human decisions, it must operate like a human being. This is where the two strategies of “Machine Learning” (ML) and “Deep Learning” come into play. They are the two key concepts that facilitate Artificial Intelligence.
- ML is based on algorithms that analyze data and learn to make valid decisions through their analysis. Nowadays, there are hardly any industries that do not use Machine Learning, as it aids in automating tasks and simplifying processes.
- In contrast, Deep Learning takes it one step further: Here, the algorithms used are able to make improvements entirely on their own- without human help.
According to a forecast by Statista, by the year 2025, revenue generated with enterprise applications in the field of Artificial Intelligence could reach up to 31.2 Billion Dollars. AI has come to stay in many fields - including content marketing.
Content Marketing welcomes AI
For a long time, AI has been repressed, laughed at and not taken seriously. The time has come for (content) marketers to welcome Artificial Intelligence and open up to its possibilities. Perhaps you’re asking yourself: Why would I be in favor of something that might cost me my job? As mentioned at the beginning, the launch of Chat GPT has shaken up the industry. However, even before that, many had been using AI-based tools to facilitate tasks in the process of content creation. One such tool worth mentioning is HubSpot: The all-in-one platform for inbound marketing, sales, CRM and customer service utilizes AI-technologies and Deep Learning to support (content) marketers in their everyday work. A great example is the HubSpot Blog Ideas Generator, which- as the name suggests- generates creative ideas for blog posts and titles in no time. Just type in a key word and let yourself be inspired. Grammarly is another example of this kind of tool. This programme uses Artificial Intelligence to suggest better phrases for your texts while simultaneously checking your spelling and grammar.
The Use of AI for Content Marketing in 2023
It’s been best practice for a while now to personalize and gear content toward the needs of your target audience. However, before creators can publish their content, the’re faced with a long to-do list: researching keywords, reviewing data, analyzing trends, Search Engine Optimization, drafting content and reacting to requests from the community. All of that can be done more easily and more efficiently with the use of AI-tools:
- Around-the-Clock Community Management
No more night shifts in customer service- chatbots can be integrated into websites and social media messenger services. They can reply to customer requests around the clock or, at least, provide basic assistance for starters.
Track and analyze interests
The computer remembers who liked something, who left a comment and what interests someone stated, for example, when registering for a social network (Facebook). On the basis of such data, marketers can optimize their texts and visuals for their specific target group, as well as place advertisements according to their interests.
Personalized Customer Journey
The things we deposit in our shopping carts when shopping online, we will almost certainly see again on other sites and platforms. Products we choose can be advertised to us as potential consumers based on the resulting data that is then used for Retargeting Campaigns on social media platforms. That is why the stuff we have in our Amazon shopping cart, for example, is often recommended to us in advertisements on social networks.
Focus on writing
While tools such as Google Analytics, Trends and Keyword Planner can support content marketers in their research, they themselves can focus entirely on writing. Today, this is easier than ever before- Again, ChatGPT is worth mentioning, because this chatbot can write nearly anything you want it to. Whether it is song lyrics, product descriptions or an entire blog entry. Currently, the chatbot is still a prototype. However, it has generated a great deal of interest.
From Theory to Practice: Best Practice Examples
“What all of us have to do is to make sure we are using AI in a way that is for the benefit of humanity, not to the detriment of humanity.” - Apple CEO Tim Cook
We subscribe to that! The following best practice examples show that AI has so far been used successfully in marketing, and that both companies and consumers can benefit from Artificial Intelligence:
1.Mattress-Startup Tomorrow Sleep multiplies organic traffic by 100
The mattress-selling startup Tomorrow Sleep, based in New York, has shown that one does not have to be a Billion-Dollar-Enterprise in order to reap the benefits of AI. After its launch back in 2017, the company did not have the necessary budget to create as much content as they wanted to. With the help of Market-Muse, an AI-based platform for content- and keyword research, they quickly found out the main topics for their market and users, and determined the top 20 best search results for each topic. Tomorrow Sleep implemented these suggestions and voilà: They saved themselves a lot of frustration, time and money.
2.Which Lipstick will it be? The Sephora-Chatbot knows best
Beauty brand Sephora has been an early adopter of Artificial Intelligence. Back in 2017, the company already started integrating a chatbot into their corporate communication. Sephora’s chatbot assists potential customers in making their decisions easier for them, starting with a survey about their product preferences. The chatbot’s beauty advice is very popular with its users. Additionally, the company receives important information and feedback on its products from its users. These factors make chatbots a rightfully important part of Sephora’s Customer Journey. Personal interaction between customers and staff in stores, however, cannot (yet) be disregarded entirely.
3.Personalized Recommendations on Netflix
Not much has to be said or explained about Netflix itself. However, few people know that a large part of the streaming platform’s success can be traced back to its innovative use of AI. To improve user experience, Netflix utilizes a learning technology based on Artificial Intelligence in order to personalize recommendations according to the individual streaming patterns of its users. Yes, that is why Netflix looks different for everybody. Mystery solved!
AI has a lot of potential…
One of its biggest potentials is the personalization of content in line with the desired audience and sector. Content is personalized based on data provided by the user such as e-mail addresses, demographic information, locations, reviews and Cookies. An example of this is the inspiration-platform Pinterest. Its users are shown posts based on their previous activities. Another popular way of using Artificial Intelligence is the “Shop the Look” option provided by many online stores. According to the collected data, the potential customer receives recommended Outfits tailored specifically to their taste.
… but also has its limitations
At first glance, the opportunities of AI seem endless, but even modern technologies reach their limits and face challenges:
Looking for Emotion? You’re in the wrong place
Imitating the human mind and behavior- known as strong AI or Superintelligence- is not possible yet. The goal of strong AI is to reach the full intellectual capacities of a human, and even exceed them. Superintelligence goes even further, as it acts on actively, flexibly and intelligently on its own- even more intelligently than a human. So far though, AI-produced content still lacks the emotional human touch.
Chatbots are fine, personal interaction is better
When it comes to customer service, a study conducted by LivePerson and Forrester Consulting has come to the conclusion that although chatbots do increase customer satisfaction, many still look for personal interaction, as it’s the only way to actually meet individual needs, which usually requires emotional understanding. AI is met with fear particularly by potential users of such tools because people in affected sectors wonder whether they might be replaced by machines in the future. Therefore, they often reject AI entirely, at least for now.
AI and the job market/workforce
A study by the Austrian ITA- Institute for the Assessment of Consequences of Technology states that the use of AI will further increase existing inequality on the market. The majority of participants in the study said that polarization on the job market will increase, while the amount of human labor and its significance will likely decline. That, in turn, poses ethical questions of fairness, quality and transparency of decision making in relation to AI-systems. These challenges must be tackled before AI “replaces” humans.
Conclusion: AI is a huge Opportunity, but so far it’s a Black Box
In the field of content marketing, it’s certain that we’ll increasingly encounter Artificial Intelligence in the future. Still, many AI-systems today still work as a black box. Their results are barely traceable, if at all, and therefore not transparent. This can damage credibility within a society. However, the future is approaching, and so is AI, which is why we should not let fear get in the way, but rather proceed with cautious trust.