For decades, artificial intelligence (AI) has been something we’ve heard about in relatively small doses regularly. To most of us, though, it wasn’t much more than a futuristic fantasy, out of reach of the everyday consumer. With recent advancements in technology, all of that is changing. Rapidly.
Now, more than ever, we interact with artificial intelligence on a day to day basis to improve our lives, possibly without even knowing. Helpful gadgets like Alexa, and Siri, allow us to conjure information, hands-free, and within seconds. Frequently criticized for being impersonal and decreasing the necessity of human labor, AI is already helping us in many daily tasks. As AI is on the rise, it is vital to consider the unprecedented changes that are taking place in the world, and what possibilities lie ahead in the future.
AI: Threat or Opportunity (Or Both)
If you’ve been watching any of the 2020 Democratic Party presidential debates, you should be familiar with Andrew Yang by now. In his speeches, Andrew stresses how new technologies such as robots, software, and AI have already destroyed more than 4 million jobs in the USA. His campaign also predicts that over the next decade, AI will claim many more millions of jobs.
I couldn’t agree more with Andrew. Quite frankly, I’m a bit shocked why he’s pretty much the only candidate that seems to understand this threat. According to Yang, an estimated third of all American workers are at risk of permanent unemployment. AI will continue to be a significant factor in replacing, or dramatically altering, job functions such as call center agents, truck drivers, couriers, receptionists, linguists, content developers, and proofreaders.
In this article, I’ll discuss how AI is starting to change the global digital marketing landscape and how businesses of all sizes can take advantage of AI. Hopefully, you’ll get some ideas of how readily available new technologies and AI offer a huge opportunity to boost your businesses’ bottom line.
No matter how you feel about it, AI is something that will impact most of us. Make sure to connect with me on LinkedIn or send me a message if you’d like to share your thoughts or if you should have any questions.
First Things First: The Different Stages of AI
The term “artificial intelligence” (AI) made its first appearance at a workshop held on the campus of Dartmouth College during the summer of 1956. Although still in its infancy, AI was already predicted to impact our personal and professional lives in more dramatic ways than we’ve ever imagined.
According to the Centre for Public Impact, we are currently in the era of narrow AI (NAI). By learning and analyzing patterns in data to achieve a set of specific outcomes, NAI is about facilitating repetitive tasks. The next stage is called artificial general intelligence (AGI). In this stage, machines will be capable of performing all intellectual tasks that a human brain can. The artificial superintelligence (ASI) enables computers to surpass human intellect and abilities in nearly all areas.
Let’s take a look at a Use Case on how any company could take advantage of AI as part of their global digital marketing efforts:
AI in Content Development and Translation: Global Content Marketing Use Case
In this Use Case, I’ll discuss how anyone can use AI to create content, translate it, and then promote it across the globe via social media.
Exponential changes in computer performances and advances in fields such as natural language processing (NLP), predictive algorithms and intelligence, and semantic search are changing the digital marketing world at a rapid pace moving forward.
Nearly 75% of all organic clicks will go to the top three organic (non-paid) search results and this is where your website needs to show up if you want to get the right people to your website. A significant factor in achieving top rankings in the search engines is the overall quality of the content of a website. There is no search engine optimization without developing and posting high-quality content on a website. It takes time and resources to create high-quality content, and many companies fail at this task. The following Use Case showcases how, in the not so distant future, AI will enable us to produce relevant content in less time, at a lower cost, and in multiple languages.
I recently had the opportunity to test an AI content creation platform that is currently being developed by a team of students and a group of AI experts at a University on the West Coast. In order for their AI content development engine to create a blog post for me, they asked me to provide them with a title for the blog post (Top Ways to Boost Your International SEO Strategy) and some target SEO keywords (international seo strategy, multilingual search engine optimization, multilingual content marketing, global digital marketing).
A few days after sending them the title and the keywords for the blog post, I received the content along with the following message:
We have worked these past two days to update our AI model. We’ve had several breakthroughs and are excited to share with you the product. As you requested, we’ve generated a blog on the topic of “Top Ways to Boost Your International SEO Strategy.” An AI wrote it, and our in-house editor spent 25 minutes editing and adding a personal touch. This is a prototype, and we expect the AI’s writing to improve dramatically over time.
The AI developed content that I received was better than I expected, but it’s not of the quality that I would put up on my website. However, I could probably spend an extra 30-minutes to edit and expand the content a bit further so that I would feel comfortable adding it to my blog.
AI Developed Blog Post Example:
Again, I wouldn’t post this content as is to my blog. However, I predict that sooner than later, their tool will be able to crank out much higher quality content. For many non-technical industries, AI-generated content is probably a real option as we speak.
For this Use Case, I used free machine translation technology to translate the AI-generated content into German. Over the last few years, I’ve seen dramatic improvements in machine translation tools. You’ve undoubtedly heard about Google Translate, but what about a tool called Deepl, a machine translation platform that trains AI to understand and translate texts? The tool currently supports English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Polish, and the quality of the translation is quite astonishing.
As you can see from the screenshot below, I used Deepl to translate the AI-generated blog post into German. If you’re a native German speaker like me, you’ll probably have to agree with me that the quality of the translation is shockingly good:
If you’re not a native German speaker, hopefully, one of the other languages will work for you. So make sure to check out Deepl and give it a test drive.
A quick word of caution: As just showcased, machine translation technology is evolving rapidly, and the quality of the machine-translated contents have dramatically improved in recent years. Machine translation technology can be a great fit to translate content such as blog posts and press releases. However, I still recommend that you hire a professional translation and localization company if you need to translate and localize your entire site. Language service providers (LSPs) have access to technologies such as translation proxy servers, translation management systems, Computer-aided translation (CAT) tools, and quality assurance tools. We have close ties to several trusted LSPs, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re looking to hire a professional localization company.
Before posting content to your website, make sure that you’ve correctly optimized the source language content for specific target SEO keywords. If you go the machine translation route, I still recommend that a professional linguist reviews and edits the machine-translated content. Make sure that the target SEO keywords also get properly transcreated and not just translated. And last but not least, consider using hreflang or sitemaps for language- or region-specific pages so that Google knows about the localized versions of your newly posted content.
Let’s get back to our global content marketing Use Case. After developing and posting content to our customers’ websites, we always promote the newly developed content via social media. Our followers on social media will see the content in their streams and hopefully engage with it. Posting the link to a new blog post on social media also helps the search engines to discover and index the content in their databases.
Social media continues to evolve and grow in popularity. As such, more and more globally oriented businesses seize the opportunity to reach new target audiences around the world through their preferred social media platform in their native languages.
On a recent transatlantic flight, I watched an inflight documentary on how the NBA became China’s most popular sports league, with a boost from tech giants such as Weibo and Tencent. The NBA successfully takes advantage of Chinese social media platforms (Weibo and Tencent) to communicate with potential and existing fans, in their native language.
Even as a smaller business with global ambitions, you’ll be able to use AI to support your company’s microtargeting efforts. You can use machine translation technology, such as Deepl, to quickly and accurately localize and translate hyper-specific messages. You can then post on international social media platforms to dramatically expand your reach.
All of the above-described tasks will be a job that can be handled by one person very soon. Executing all of these tasks will take that person a fraction of the time of what it currently takes. I guestimate the cost and time savings to be in the range of 50-80%.
This Use Case highlights what specific industries, such as the language services industry, have to expect soon. Many companies that purchase translation services clearly understand that AI allows them to reduce costs. Customers will assume that their LSP understands and embraces AI. Customers will also expect that their LSP proactively offers solutions that help them increase sales and reduce costs.
AI in Marketing: The Possibilities Are Limitless
AI in marketing uses big data to compute statistics and track consumer trends. Thus, allowing companies to create more effective ads and cultivate more personalized interactions between brands and people. The use of AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in marketing can also extend to providing one-on-one customer service via chatbots on a company’s webpage. The implementation of AI is already lessening the workload on marketers, allowing them to focus on more strategic tasks.
I recently had the opportunity to interview RPA expert Charles Weidman. Weidman shares how “software robots” can help marketers work more efficiently and I invite you to view the recording of the interview at your convenience:
With big data, AI can compute, and target trends fast and effectively without costly labor, that may even be impossible for humans to tackle. While many argue that increased use of AI reduces personality, and attention to detail, AI, in fact, increases accuracy to target audiences. It also improves insights into strategic marketing campaigns. In terms of the consumer, AI allows personalized interactions with each brand they come across. This means that each individual in a target audience can be selectively catered to without costly campaigns. While it may seem counterintuitive to use bots and algorithms to personalize the customer experience, AI is infinitely more efficient at tracking past and present customer activity. Instead of trying to keep up, marketers can now be two steps ahead to pinpoint what consumers want before they even know it.
Now that AI has branched out of tech industries, more and more applications are becoming possible in the marketing world. The future uses of AI in marketing are truly limitless, and will most definitely change the way we all interact with marketing as a whole.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
As we speak, automated voice services are replacing call centers, and AI-driven live chats are starting to become the norm. The possibility that we will no longer need to have humans in customer service at all is becoming more real than ever.
As discussed earlier, Andrew Yang is right. A growing number of people will be negatively affected by AI, and many will lose their jobs. Forward-looking governments will realize this threat and implement solutions. Those who suffer from losing their job to AI will need to have a chance to get retrained.
However, AI will not only eliminate jobs, but it will also create an entirely new set of professions, and these jobs will have to get filled.
My team and I are embracing new technologies as they allow us to more effectively support our customers with their global digital marketing and SEO needs. Because AI is ever-changing and expanding, it is crucial to stay on top of the latest developments. If you need us, we’re here to help you get the ball rolling in the right direction.