Here’s How Execs Are Experimenting with AI in Digital Marketing

February 28, 2022

It wasn’t too long ago that marketers and brand professionals listed artificial intelligence (AI) as one of the most overhyped emerging technologies. That hasn’t deterred marketers from using it, with about two-thirds of marketers saying they currently use the technology. A report [download page] from Persado and Coresight Research takes a look at how organizations are using AI in their digital marketing and engaging customers. 

In a survey of more than 160 US-based executives representing companies that currently or are planning to use advanced technologies in digital marketing, it turns out that AI is being experimented with in various ways for digital marketing. The most-cited use (top-3 choices) include facial and voice recognition (44.2%). 

Respondents are also looking to AI to improve customer experience. Following close on the heels of voice and facial recognition as a use case is experimentation with AI to personalize channel experiences (43% selecting within top-3), while more than one-third (35.2%) say improved customer segmentation is one of the most significant ways they are experimenting with AI in digital marketing. Furthermore, more than half (54%) of respondents are currently using AI or machine learning to offer a personalized experience to customers, with another two-fifths (39%) saying they plan to use it for this purpose in the future. 

Close to 8 in 10 marketing and brand executives surveyed also consider using advanced technologies like AI and machine learning in digital marketing to be extremely (51%) or very (27%) important to improve the customer experience. Of those respondents who are currently using AI to offer a personalized customer experience, three-quarters (76%) are using it for personalizing email — an area where personalization has shown to have the most impact. A majority are also using AI to improve customer satisfaction with AI chatbots (64%) and product recommendations (61%).

Using AI to Generate Creative Content

Alongside personalization, AI also is being used to create content, with 4 in 10 (41.2% of) respondents citing natural language processing to generate content as one of the top ways they are experimenting with AI in digital marketing. Nevertheless, using AI to generate content appears to be still in the fledgling stage, with only 36% of respondents saying they currently use AI for creative content generation. Back in 2020, a similar share of marketers surveyed by Advertiser Perceptions reported that they were currently using AI to create ads. More recent research from Altimeter shows that fewer than 1 in 5 large companies were using AI to create and deliver content at a large scale, based on AI-driven customer segments and analytics.

That said, the future of using AI to generate content looks brighter. More than half of the respondents say they plan to use AI for creative content generation within the next 12 months (36%) or within the next three years (21%). 

The Importance of First-Party Data

With ever-growing restrictions on data and third-party cookie deprecation, marketers have become more aggressive in acquiring first-party data. Respondents also believe that using first-party data efficiently is a necessity when using AI in digital marketing. Close to 8 in 10 say that the effective use of first-party data is extremely (46%) or very (33%) important for using advanced technologies for digital marketing. 

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 165 US-based executives at companies currently using or planning to use advanced technologies in digital marketing. 

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