Artificial Intelligence – commonly called AI – is essentially inescapable in this digital age. From the predictive text feature on text messaging apps to Google search result, AI permeates our life in little ways.

For digital marketing, AI is an increasingly important component to the field. Read on to learn two ways that artificial intelligence is impacting digital marketing.

  1. Recommendations

Ever wondered how Amazon seems to know exactly what you need before you know you need it? Those recommendations are a result of AI tracking your search and purchase history on the site. Media companies, such as Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, and Netflix also track what you’re watching and listening to give you more recommendations.

Google also tracks your recent history, and increasingly offers similar searches to what you just looked at. AI does this by looking at the millions of other people worldwide who are using their platforms. It classifies you as a likely demographic, and suggests certain links or media based on what your assigned demographic tends to search alongside what you are currently consuming.

If you want proof of this in action, it is shockingly easy to see how Instagram determines what products and services to recommend to you. Go to your account and enter your settings. Click “security”, then “access data”. Scroll to the bottom of this tab and click “View all” under “Ad Interests”. This takes you to a list of interests that Instagram has compiled based on your likes, follows, searches, and followers. Remember that Facebook owns Instagram, so this list usually carries over to your Facebook account too.

  1. Visual Searches

As AI grows, its ability to analyze images grows too. While AI can track words easier, that does not limit it to exclusively words. Image searching is a growing branch of AI, particularly for retail shops and clothing.

The Amazon app, for example, has a feature where you point your phone camera at an item, and it pulls up an Amazon search that corresponds to that item. Just like with any AI, the more people use it, the more accurate it gets.

Visual search AIs are particularly useful for clothing retailers like Macy’s, ASOS, and Target. All of these companies offer a feature where you can take a picture of an item and their respective apps will take you to similar items being sold in stores and online. Retailers love this technology, as it has increased impulse buys and provides more information about their consumer base.

How Do These Link Together?

Humans and AI are increasingly working together in the field.

Let’s return to the Amazon app example to see how AI combines visual searches and recommendations. Suppose that you are looking to replace a tennis ball your dog chewed up, so you go to your Amazon app and snap a picture to shop tennis balls on Amazon.

The AI is noting things in the background that you yourself might not. Has your child left a remote-control car on the floor? Amazon will start recommending you other remote-control vehicles and batteries without you ever searching for those things.