How AI Is Changing the Performance Marketing Industry

Becky Doles

A screen full of computer code representing artificial intelligence.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Automation. Optimization. Two big buzz words in performance marketing at this moment, and both are making strides thanks to AI. In this post, we’ll explain how, take a look at some changes we’ve seen AI drive in the industry, and highlight how marketers are using AI to save time, optimize efforts, and become more strategic in 2018.

Making Sense of Data Overload

Performance marketers have dozens (if not hundreds or thousands) of data points to make sense of in any given campaign: everything from acquisition channels to CTRs, A/B tests, customer personas, devices, locations, and more. For a human mind, it’s boggling. But for AI, it’s just another calculation.

“In a modern marketing operation, the sheer complexity and variety of signals is way outside the grasp of a human mind,” explains Scripted CEO Ryan Buckley. “In the next five to 10 years, there will be a machine learning company whose platform sits on top of Google Analytics and derives valuable strategic insight from the underlying data, including directional guidance on which channels to tune, which to divest and which to accelerate.”

What’s more, AI raises the standard of measurement across the entire industry. Whereas marketers are naturally subject to human error (they are human, after all), AI can make complex calculations with inhuman accuracy, which allows the entire industry to measure with more transparency and precision overall.

Enabling New Strategies

In addition to making sense of millions of data points, AI helps marketers get strategic in ways they haven’t been able to before.

For example, marketers can use AI for lookalike modeling, where an algorithm finds audiences similar to current customers and targets them. They can also use it for collaborative filtering to recommend products and serve ads for them based on what consumers have purchased before.

Similarly, these algorithms can help performance marketers identify which leads have made purchases in the past, and prioritize similar leads who have a higher likelihood of buying. And the cherry on top: AI can iterate in real-time, serving audiences personalized content and designs, then adapting on the fly as new information comes in.

Freeing Up Time for More Creativity

Ultimately, what AI does is allow performance marketers to spend more time on tasks that require human brain power, perspective, and creativity. Anything else, but in particular the tasks that are easily automated or considered “busy work,” can be outsourced to machine learning.

As Hubspot Co-founder Dharmesh Shah said, “Anything that seems rote or mechanical, there is no reason for humans to do — it’s all going to go to AI.”

Making Consumer Decisions Faster, Better, and Easier

Although consumers may not yet fully trust artificial intelligence with their decisions, they will likely get more comfortable with it as it becomes more commonplace and more helpful. There is value in time saved, and consumers may increasingly appreciate AI for the hours it can save them suggesting the best hotels, groceries, flights, and other preferences — instead of having to do all the research themselves.

Intelligently Moving Forward

The key is for performance marketers to use AI to work for them, instead of jumping on the trend and overwhelming their technology, systems, or consumers in the process. Instead of succumbing to the latest fad for trend’s sake, marketers should focus on purposeful, customer-driven uses of AI that help both brands and consumers alike.

As Opentopic Co-founder Andre Konig said, “If you look at what marketing does at its core — collect and analyze data, understand people, campaigns, branding, PR, creative — much of this can be done by technology. It can be done better, faster, at scale, automated and smarter than by humans.”

To learn more about how artificial intelligence is changing the marketing and advertising tech industries, check out our articles on how AI is transforming omnichannel marketing and the customer journey.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

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