Artificial Intelligence and Marketing in 2018

Now that we’re a few months into 2018, it is about time to look back at the projected trends for the year. While some of these predictions may have fallen out of the popular conversation, one certainly has not. Artificial intelligence and marketing in 2018 continue to be something on practically every digital marketer’s mind. But why? Now that we’re three and a half months into the year, what have we learned about artificial intelligence and marketing? Well, in short, quite a bit. Even though we started the conversation about AI years ago, a lot has changed. As digital marketers keeping up with industry trends, there are a few things to keep in mind about AI.

Artificial Intelligence and Marketing

Artificial Intelligence and Marketing

While the list of ways that AI is affecting marketing could go on forever, we’ve highlighted a few of the key things to keep in mind. Is there anything important that we left off the list? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!

SEO and AI

Perhaps the two best-known acronyms in digital marketing these days, SEO and AI are now extremely important to one another. For years, search engines have been getting smarter. Google has been developing sophisticated algorithms to determine the user’s search intent for years. However, AI is the next great development in improving the user experience. Since AI is all about machine learning, it can be used to learn about users’ search intent and generate better results. So, the SEO practices that we know today, which are already shaped by AI, are only likely to change further throughout 2018 and beyond.

Need For High-Quality Data

Machine learning requires immense amounts of data to work as effectively as possible. Since computers are able to analyze this data exponentially faster than humans, there is practically no limit to how much data these machines can interpret. However, this means that the outcome of machine learning is highly dependent upon the quality of data available. Therefore, the more precisely that data is measured and made available, artificial intelligence will be more productive.

AI and Smarter Recommendations

Whether you are a digital marketer or not, anyone using the internet has shared the experience of seeing smarter recommendations. Think about it, you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and you see an ad for a car just days after you read that article about the newest make or model. Or that playlist you’re streaming comes to an end but Spotify continues to play music that perfectly fits your tastes. This is not to mention Amazon’s recommended products. Ultimately, people are being driven to make transactions online in entirely new ways. If the products people want to buy appear to them naturally, that will surely affect the way that people interact with search engines.

The Role of Dynamic Pricing

Over a year ago we wrote a similar blog about artificial intelligence and marketing. Obviously, a lot has changed since then. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is the role of dynamic pricing as it relates to the consumer experience. With more users than ever online and people becoming increasingly comfortable making transactions online, AI has more high-quality data (see above) than ever at its disposal. This means that prices can adjust even more rapidly to account for purchasing patterns worldwide. If consumers can’t count on today’s price being the same tomorrow, how will that influence their purchasing patterns?

As we mentioned above, there are really countless potential intersections of artificial intelligence and marketing in 2018 and beyond. However, the important thing to keep in mind is that AI continues to shape the digital marketing landscape. At this point, we really have no reason to expect anything different looking ahead. This impact online will extend far beyond digital marketers too. As user experience becomes paramount to AI, internet companies will be looking for more UX developers than ever before. In fact, we’ve got a few job openings right here at Track5Media, LLC. Regardless, there is a lot to look forward to with artificial intelligence and marketing.

The Future of SEO: Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is going to completely change search engine optimization in the near future. What SEOs need to understand about AI is that it is not a formula; it’s a system that is constantly learning and evolving. AI will totally change the future of SEO. It analyzes data like content, links, user behavior, citation, trust, and patterns to list the result a user most likely needs.

Today let’s take a look at the history and current state of SEO, then look at how artificial intelligence will shape the future of SEO.

History of SEO

In the past, it was incredibly easy to rank high on a search engine. Search engines based results on keywords, so all you had to do was put the phrase you wanted to rank for in the title and body of your content and VOILA! You were almost guaranteed a top spot.

The idea was that the more time the keyword was on your page, the higher you ranked. This led to some incredibly unethical SEO practices. You saw companies hiding text in the background of their sites or placing keywords off-screen. All sort of sketchy methods and tactics were developed, which led to Google making algorithm changes.

After battling black hat SEOs for years, in April 2012, Google finally introduced Penguin 1.0. Penguin was developed to battle web spam tactics like keyword stuffing, link schemes, cloaking and sneaky redirects, and duplicate content. Penguin decreased the rankings of sites that they felt were violating Google’s quality guidelines.

Current Landscape of SEO

Google’s various algorithms have helped to kill off spam-filled websites for the most part. The changes also made it essential for marketers to produce high-quality content. Where older search engine optimization techniques were centered around a keyword, current SEO practices focus on technical SEO, content development, and link building.

Technical SEO has grown from making sure you put a particular keyword on a page to focusing on creating the greatest experience for the user. Technical SEO now includes user behavior and web page performance metrics like time on site, page speed, and mobile responsiveness.

Keyword strategy no longer plays a major role in organic rankings. Google is looking for quality content that will provide value to the user. Engaging high-quality content will always outrank lower quality content with a solid keyword strategy.

The Future of SEO

Rather than rely on a formula to produce an organic search result listing for a user, the future of SEO will rely on artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence will rely on big data, user experience, and machine learning. Search engines will be able to learn from user behaviors and be able to list the content users are most likely looking for.

Let’s take a look at some the trends that will shape the future of SEO:

RIP to Keyword Phrases

Google introduced RankBrain to its search algorithm in 2015. RankBrain is a machine-learning AI system that will likely make keyword phrases irrelevant. Google has said that it is the third most important ranking factor in their algorithm.

Marketers should continue to write naturally for readers using related terms and concepts.

Search Intent

Understanding user intent will become a much more critical part of ranking as artificial intelligence becomes a larger part of search. When marketers are creating content for their sites, they need to think about more than keyword. Marketers need to think about what visitors are hoping to find on your site when they click from the search engine result page.

Marketers will need to look for clues in user intent from their query. There are four types of queries in regards to user search intent:

  • Navigational: a user trying to find specific content on a specific site
  • Informational: a user is trying to obtain information to read
  • Commercial: a user has an intent to purchase, or seeking information for a later purchase
  • Transactional: a user subscribing to a newsletter, paying a bill, or creating a new account

Schema Markups

At the end of 2016, I made some predictions about the top SEO trends for 2017. One of the trends I talked about was schema markups, which help search engines better understand the content on your web page. It seems Google is already making changes and we could be seeing new schema support for job listings, carousels, data feeds, and more.

The Goal of Artificial Intelligence

The future of SEO is bright with the emergence of artificial intelligence. There are some definite concerns that AI systems will learn too much, turn on humans, and kill us, but that’s a blog post for another day.

The goal of artificial intelligence as it relates to the future of SEO is to deliver a piece of content to a user that most likely fits their needs. Instead of sending users to a particular page just because it is on an authoritative site, AI will seek to send users to a page that will not only answer their initial query but will also answer potential follow-up queries.

In the long run, artificial intelligence is going to revolutionize the search engine optimization to deliver a positive user experience. Will we see a future where Google no longer controls its own search engine? We aren’t sure, but in the meantime, keep making high-quality content for your readers.

AI For Dummies: The Rise of Super Intelligence

Imagine someone time traveling to our present day from, let’s say, 1750. The Industrial Revolution hasn’t even come into full swing, cars don’t exist, and Albert Einstein won’t be born for almost another 115 years. How they time traveled isn’t important… It’s what they’d experience:

Everyone would be glued to their small glowing rectangles displaying the faces of people across the world in what’s basically real-time – just one aspect of the growing “internet of things.” Just imagine a simple browse through YouTube or Wikipedia and all they could access. There would be thousands of years’ worth of history they’d never seen, tens of millions of years’ worth of the natural sciences, and theoretical physics that might shatter their concepts of existence itself.

Futurists predict that humanity is on the precipice of a complete AI revolution.

Futurists predict that humanity is on the precipice of a complete AI revolution.

 

Given the state of our technological progress, we as a species, are apparently poised for an equally as existence-altering series of events – except the only time travel we have to undergo is the process of staying alive for the next 10-15 years.

A Species on The Event Horizon

We hear the term “Artificial Intelligence” thrown around constantly, which is as much as we use such technologies. Things like our smartphones, email spam filters, heck even Google itself all constitute forms of AI. However, these are considered Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI), defined as machine intelligence that equals or exceeds human intelligence / efficiency at one specific thing.

Also referred to as Weak AI, Artificial Narrow Intelligence is highly available and used in everything from language translation to solving calculus equations, or reliably beating humans in chess matches. Our smartphones are practically little ANI factories connecting to us to the larger economy of the smart devices, vehicles, software – you name it!

To many people, it’s hard to conceptualize why so many researchers are so concerned with the rise of AI – more or less written off as the wishful thinking of science fiction obsessives. What one has to realize is that given Moore’s Law, we are on pace to build an affordable computer that rivals the human brain by 2025.

Yes, you read that correctly.

 

AI

Computing power has been steadily increasing since the early 1900’s.

 

Already, Google has spent vast resources on creating their Artificial Neural Networks and furthering projects like DeepMind, boasting a breakthrough for the AI community when it beat the top human player at the ancient Eastern game of Go.

Still, this feat represents the primordial ooze from which Artificial General Intelligence, and eventually the harrowing Artificial Superintelligence (ASI) are bound to emerge.

 

Reverse Engineering Evolution

To start, creating AGI means emulating an entire brain, which has already been achieved… at least in 1mm-long flatworms. Project OpenWorm is the first of its kind to successfully map the worm’s 302 neurons and simulate them with software. The worm’s brain was then uploaded to a Lego robot capable of responding to external stimuli in ways similar to flatworms.

Again, given that the world’s maximum computing power increases approximately every two years, it won’t be long before today’s microprocessors (running at 2 GHz / 10 million times faster than our neurons) will double… each time at a faster, exponential rate.

The illustration below gives a perspective on just how quickly this is going to happen in comparison to the historical progression of computer and cognitive science:

Just as DeepMind programmed its bot to beat human players by pitting it against itself to develop new strategies, AGI will likely be programmed to self-improve upon its own intelligence, paving the way for Artificial Superintelligence – at which point the human race may teeter on the edge of extinction according to researchers and tech-giants like Elon Musk.

 

Surpassing The Human Imagination

If knowledge is power, then ASI will become our God.

It’s important to note that by no means is this an exaggeration. Some scientists believe that although it may take us a few decades to reach a genuine form of AGI, the leap to ASI will happen in less than the blink of an eye (relatively speaking).

Given programs written to self-improve upon its own intelligence, a computer with the same understanding of the world as a four-year-old human will require only a few hours to generate solutions to every possible theory of physics, quantum mechanics, biology, and any other problem known or unknown to humanity.

A computer of such intelligence will make things like reversing human aging, diseases, and the hard problems of consciousness look like child’s play. Such an entity will not only have the ability to protect all of humanity and elevate it to a literally unimaginable renaissance, but also wipe out every living being with a hyper-efficiency.

 

In short, the possibility of human immortality and extinction will arrive in the same announcement.

AI

AI may just as easily extend the reach of human consciousness as it can be extinguished.

Although Google has set in motion its own artificial intelligence ethics board, many feel as though the actual development of AGI will make such human attempts at controlling this intelligence obsolete almost immediately. Our organic, human intellect will seem like the mind of an ant to an ASI, and that is putting it lightly.

The amount of ethical planning for the creation of such a technology is absolutely immense – how can we program a computer to preserve humanity? What does self-preservation actually mean? Will there be a single ASI or many?

An attempt to conceptualize the way Artificial Superintelligence will think is comparable to releasing chimpanzees in the Library of Congress. No human advancement in the history of our species even comes close to the paradigmatic shift that even general AI will bring, let alone its successor.

Considering that we can barely coordinate our efforts to alleviate things like world poverty, war, and environmental catastrophes, how on Earth will we live alongside a computer several hundred thousand times more powerful than the human brain?

AI for Everyone

While some believe the rise of ASI is inevitable, others remain skeptical that we’ll even reach AGI within 45 years. However, it’s certain that ethics cannot be an afterthought; regardless of how long this development actually takes.

For now we’ll have to be content with Siri and the narrow AI we know and love – just remember that this future is as possible as our will to create allows.