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LONDON, UK - Are you ready for the AI take over? Depending on what you read, the robots are either on their way to take our jobs, or theyíre already here. Delivery drivers, telemarketers, the taxman - no one is safe.
Apart from content and creativity professionals, right? Wrong. Automated marketing is very much alive and finding its way into the professional world quicker than someone slides into your DMs. AI-generated content has become more than a buzzword over the last 18 months.
So are all marketers and creatives about to join the unemployment line? You might believe such a theory if you buy into the hype of AIís all-being power. The reality, however, is something different altogether.
The influence of AI in marketing generally involves data automation and understanding analytics. The tech uses algorithms to predict trends that make it easier for humans to make creative decisions.
As the tech improves, there is a belief that one day it will be able to automate the whole process. That means an ability to use data to make informed decisions, create ideas, execute those ideas and measure results - all without humans.
Say goodbye to social media managers. Sayonara, content writers. Pack your bags, marketing directors. Even Elon Musk believes that AI will be able 'to do anything a human can' by 2040 at the latest. We could all essentially be rendered useless.
But have we all jumped the gun slightly? AI techniques in marketing lend their hand to a smoother overall process. Yet weíre not quite at the junction of all-doing AI. The reality is that humans still have the dominant role to play in the creative content process.
AI already impacts a large section of the marketing world. Itís taking over more and more of the rudimentary tasks and helping marketers make better media buying decisions through machine learning.
Brand messages arenít one-size-fits-all, yet displaying the same information across different mediums was once time-consuming. AI is now able to help tailor human-created messages to different platforms and increase reach.
"The reality is that humans still have the dominant role to play in the creative content process."
These traits are helpful to humans as it provides more resources for ideation. AIís current inability to process emotions is a major setback when it comes to the tech flexing itís creative muscles. Instead, itís making do with empowering the human mind.
Here are some ways the tech is evolving and helping to create better content, with the creative process still very much in human hands.
AI helps humans to make better content. Take image tagging and recognition, for example. Once upon a time, searching for that perfect picture to capture the look and feel of a marketing campaign was a chore.
Now, thanks to neural networks, itís now possible for machine learning to identify a person or object faster than a human can. The result equate to quicker searches with greater precision when looking for visuals online.
Image recognition holds even more weight when you factor in self-driving cars and their need to recognise objects on the road. Visual communication plays such a pivotal role in many aspects of life, so AIís ability to enhance and improve identifying visuals is most welcome.
Data is where AI perhaps currently performs at its most potent. More affordable and advanced data analytics tools give marketing teams ammunition to make better campaigns. At least it does in theory.
There is an argument to be had around some marketerís interpretations of the information at hand.
The data should offer an unbiased outlook. However, if the people feeding the datasets to AI are doing so with a one-sided mindset, the results wonít always be pure.
As far as marketing practices go, using AI-driven data to determine creative is still a relatively new method. There are bound to be good and bad points in the early stages. One thing is clear: the sheer depth of information available means we are now in a data-driven marketing era.
Ever wondered why your newsfeed on social media platforms is catered to your interests? You guessed it; the robots are at work again. AI algorithms learn a usersí interests and suggest content it thinks you will find interesting.
AI takes hundreds of variables and sifts through them to predict which posts a user will find interesting or disregard. Ultimately, the information provided helps marketers to understand consumer habits better.
Even something as simple as interacting with a news post provides an opportunity to tailor content. Some of that content also includes sponsored ads, which have been cooked up by creatives to sell a message that resonates.
There is zero point in producing marketing campaigns if they canít be tracked. Return on investment (ROI) is one of the most important aspects of any marketing assault.
In the past ROI hasnít been clear-cut. But now machine learning is helping to explain results to marketers in a way that allows them to understand with more clarity. With so much potential information available, AI helps to centralise the data.
Marketers are left with clear results over how a campaign performed. They can measure metrics, understand customer journeys and better forecast for the future. The result is better campaigns and optimising outreach.
Marketing and creative share a relationship with different skill sets. Marketers deal in the realm of facts and insight to create better opportunities, while creatives bring the flair and innovation.
AIís role in the process isnít at the stage where humans arenít needed - and it may never be. In todayís world, it acts as an enabler to give marketing teams worldwide a better chance at understanding their audience.
With better understanding comes improved content and more personalised services. And that is all consumers are looking for - more involvement with brands.
The idea behind the campaign of your favourite brand might come from a human. But thereís every chance the reasoning and data came from AI.
Olga Egorsheva is the CEO and Co-Founder of Lobster, an AI-powered platform which enables brands, agencies and media outlets to license visual content directly from social media users and cloud archives. Founded in 2013, Lobster started with the idea to disrupt the content search and licensing sector to give businesses, agencies and creatives access to millions of user-generated, legally licensed imagery and videos.