AI in Marketing: Finding a Foothold in the Funnel

Every day, marketers lean on artificial intelligence (AI) more and more. Indeed, it is running in the background of every campaign we launch, identifying audiences and finding the ideal moments and messages with which to engage them.

Typically, adoption of AI in marketing begins with a desire to improve a single aspect of an overarching marketing effort. As teams see success, AI’s foothold in their daily functions flourishes, finding its way further down the funnel.

Still, a majority of marketers aren’t yet using AI to improve the effectiveness of their efforts. According to a Gartner study of marketers in the US, UK, and Canada:

  • 41% use AI for predictive analytics
  • 34% use AI for campaign decision making
  • 30% use AI to drive message personalization

Looking more granularly at specific applications for AI in improving digital advertising performance, a global study of marketers reveals that while interest in AI is high, adoption is slower.

For instance,  today 47% of marketers use AI to improve their audience targeting, and another 34% plan to implement it at some point. Only 19% of marketers are disinterested in the power of AI for audience targeting, a number that has been consistently shrinking over the years as archaic segmentation has given way to niche contextual profiles.

Once the audience is found, a notable number of marketers (39%) are leaning on AI to optimize media spend, and nearly a third (31%) plan to do so in the future. Oddly enough, this leaves 30% of marketers as disinterested in using AI to help them spend more effectively in their digital campaigns. Again, as marketers watch their competitors seemingly saturate share of voice without breaking the bank, this figure can be expected to drop.

Across the board, the more nuanced the purpose of the AI, the fewer marketers that are already implementing it. For instance, while 42% of marketers are already leveraging AI for dynamic creative optimization to captivate audiences, only 38% of marketers are using AI lower in the funnel to generate personalized offers.

While this does mean that 30% of marketers are not interested in AI-driven personalized deals, it’s a bit more understandable given both interdepartmental and outside limitations marketers may face when implementing promotions.

Nonetheless, as 70% of marketers are finding ways to deliver highly customized offers to their audiences, so consumers will come to expect this level of relevance from all brands that seek their loyalty. The question is how soon marketers can adapt.