Last week, I identified three marketing trends currently shaping the way businesses operate online. However, as the title suggests, there are six. So, I owe you a part two!
So without further ado, let’s dive back in and talk about three more!
4. The Rise of Artificial Intelligence
“The rise of AI” is a term that either frightens or excites you. If you’re conjuring up images of Arnold “I’ll Be Back” Schwarzenegger, relax. That’s not the kind of AI I’m talking about (not yet, anyway).
People sometimes associate the term with losing their jobs to machines, however the positive is that AI is removing the ‘drone’ work out of many jobs. It’s becoming a necessity to scale repetitive and often boring human tasks.
Ever since HAL in ‘Space Odyssey 2001’ we’ve been predicting the rise of robots. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy though. We know not to fear machines, rather we started integrating them. In the decades since ‘Space Odyssey,’ we’ve seen the emergence of the personal computer, the internet, mobile phones and social networks.
The intersection of all these things is changing business, changing entertainment, changing our lives.
Mobile and social technology have made us all publishers. We’re now all photographers, video directors, and writers that share by the million every minute.
This is why we need “machines”
The sheer amount of content is ridiculous. And impossible to manage ourselves.
As the volume of data increases, the scale of the noise means trying to make sense of it needs AI and machines with powerful processors. As humans, we need the machines to make sense and cope with the absolute barrage of content we all produce. This now means we will need artificial intelligence marketing.
I’ve broken down AI Marketing into three steps (you’re welcome):
- Collect. Computers collect and collate data that we as humans can no longer tabulate
- Reason. AI makes sense of the data and performs insights
- Act. AI uses this insight to create content and messaging that influences consumer decisions.
So, how’s it being used? Well, all the time. You just don’t notice it.
Facebook suggestions, news feed algorithms and trending topics- That’s AI
LinkedIn providing job matches between business and client- That’s AI
Pinterest boosting image recognition and search- That’s AI
Facebook telling you who’s in the photos you’ve taken- That’s (kinda creepy) AI
So, artificial intelligence has just begun. And, it gets stronger by the day.
You shouldn’t worry though, the machines are here to help, not take over.
Now that I think about it, Facebook just had to shut down their AI Robots after they invented their own language and started talking to each other.
5 .The Rhythm of the Algorithm
Google’s algorithms were the internet’s first example of the machines controlling what content you saw when you searched for it. Then, Facebook started filtering results in your newsfeed that harmed your organic reach with the implementation of their own algorithms.
Today, algorithms help filter what you see in your email inbox. Marketing emails now live in the very rarely clicked “Promotions” tab in your Gmail account.
As marketers, we need to keep on top of this and ensure we optimise content that rises above email and search engine filters.
The battle between marketers and algorithms rages on.
6. Influencer Marketing Steps Up
Social media created global topic villages.
Bloggers curated content on food, music, fashion and thousands of other passions. Some so incredibly niche, yet attracting thousands of loyal followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They constructed their own credibility and trust built on their own content.
As the online noise got increasingly louder and reaching your target market became more difficult, these ‘Influencers’ began attracting brand attachment. They became conduits, as brands used them to push their products or services from a trusted source. And, for a while, it worked with relative ease.
Now, there is a bigger challenge
And that lies with the rise of apps.
Most of us got used to a digital sphere where you created content on your site, and then drove traffic and converted that traffic into readers or customers. The reliance on apps is a massive fundamental shift that’s unignorable.
The transition of an Internet of websites to an internet of mobile and social platforms like Facebook is no longer a transition. It’s happened. It’s a systematic change that left many publishers and businesses unsure of how to make a profit.
When I discovered social media, one of the most exciting things about it was the total democratisation of publishing and even marketing. I no longer had to pay the media moguls or the gate keepers for the content I wanted.
But the internet of apps is happening.
A perfect example is Buzzfeed, who received 500 million visitors a month and then dropped to below 470 million in just a couple months over 2016. Their solution was to move their content via external clicks from social media pages.
This emergence of the internet of apps and platforms has some big challenges for marketers. New growth strategies have to created for views and readers. What Buzzfeed did was create a “Network Integration Strategy”- publishing content and then pushing it through other hubs like Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram. Their strategy is now one of ‘Creating’, publishing those creations to their website, uploading it to apps and then distributing on multiple social channels. Then they keep measuring and iterating from the big data.
So, does that mean my second cousin** Mark Zuckerberg is the new gate keeper? As if he doesn’t have enough to do!
So, with all that said, what should you do?
- Hire geeks like me that can read the data that allows you to keep adapting
- Use automation to manage and scale the complexity of it all\
- Keep an eye on tools using AI
- Experiment and then implement what works
- Make use of efficient paid digital advertising (insert shameless SponsoredLinx plug here)
- Tell stories. Stand out. Try new things.
So, keep learning, keep evolving, and keep reinventing. We’re in a world of constant change, and what works today may not tomorrow.
**Mark Zuckerberg is not my second cousin