What Is AI and How Does It Work?

Have questions about AI, or artificial intelligence? Read this article to learn more about AI and how it works within the marketing industry!


Ever wonder about artificial intelligence and how it works? Let’s talk about AI, what it is and how it applies to your marketing.

What is AI?

AI means “artificial intelligence” and we use it to describe any time a computer does something that would require the intelligence of a human — or anything that mimics human intelligence, whichever way you want to think of it.

AI in marketing is already prevalent, and you probably interact with AI on a daily basis. Here are some ways you interact with artificial intelligence:

  1. Search engines like Google use AI (algorithms like Rankbrain) to determine the most appropriate result for a search.
  2. Automated marketing emails use AI to figure out what emails to send based on how you’ve interacted with a business or website.
  3. Various types of online ads use AI to determine who should see a specific ad, based on past behavior, interests and search queries. 
  4. Chatbots are becoming more common in online messengers so that larger brands can assist customers immediately and efficiently.
  5. Voice searches on smart speakers or even smartphones use AI to determine the best result for those long-tail keywords and conversational queries. 

How does AI work?

Artificial intelligence uses machine learning to mimic human intelligence. The computer has to learn how to respond to certain actions, so it uses algorithms and historical data to create something called a propensity model.

Propensity models will then start making predictions (like scoring leads or something).

AI can do much more than this, but those are common uses and functionality for marketing. And while it might seem like the machines are ready to rise up and take over, humans are still needed to do much of the work.

Mainly, we use AI to save us time — adding people to email automation and allowing AI to do much of the work while we work on other tasks.

How do marketers use AI?

AI comes into play for the marketing we do for clients here fairly often.

For instance, local search results are determined in part by AI deciding what’s the best business for a searcher’s needs. So, when someone searches for "pizza," artificial intelligence has to figure out whether the person wants to know more about pizza or if they want to find a pizza place, and if it thinks they want a pizza place, it has to figure out which pizza place is the best answer for the search.

And, the ads we create for clients are shown to local consumers depending partially on who AI determines to be the right audience for an ad.

Still, we have to do much of the heavy lifting ourselves, setting up campaigns, claiming and optimizing listings, etc. In the future, this could change, but for now, marketing is a very hands-on industry and you need someone watching out for new trends — and even for changes in AI.

Think about the times Google changes its algorithm and businesses automatically get penalized for something that didn’t get them into trouble in the past. While artificial intelligence is still prevalent in the strategy, you need to have someone to watch over your marketing to make sure that AI isn’t detrimental to your marketing.

It's also important to make sure that there's a human element to your marketing.

As nice as it would be for you to set up your marketing and let it run wild on its own, effortlessly bringing you new customers every day, that’s just not possible yet.

Want to know more about AI? Keep an eye out for more blog articles from us on this topic!

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