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After years of promising advances, the past year has been a breakthrough for bringing artificial intelligence (AI) into the mainstream. Even in creative industries, which many once thought AI would never infiltrate, is starting to have a tangible impact. Nowhere is that more true than in digital marketing.

Always at the forefront of adopting new technologies, professionals in the digital marketing space have embraced a variety of AI tools. Those tools are used for everything from generating creative collateral for campaigns to ensuring that they’re as personalised as possible and, ultimately, to analyse campaign performance.

What’s really great about the current AI explosion is that it’s made tools that were once the preserve of technical specialists available to ordinary people. So, even if you don’t know the ins and outs of AI, you can use it to boost your digital marketing capabilities. Here’s how.

#1 – Know what’s out there

Before fully committing to the use of AI tools, it’s important for businesses to understand what AI tools are out there and how they can be used.

Tools such Midjourney, DALL-E, and Stable Diffusion can, for instance, be used to develop visual concepts for a specific campaign. While the resultant images are increasingly impressive, they’re best used as references that you take to an agency or in-house designer. Doing so can save you significant amounts of time when it comes to campaign conceptualisation.

Other tools, such as current flavour of the month ChatGPT, can be used for a variety of purposes. You might, for instance, get it to generate some suggested taglines based on a few simple inputs or to help draft a customer email. Some companies are even integrating it into their broader customer service offerings, using it for everything from responses to reviews and customer queries to sentiment analysis.

It’s also worth noting that many of the same big platforms that businesses should concentrate their digital marketing spend on are also actively investing in AI tools. Meta, for instance, is experimenting with AI-powered chatbots on Messenger and WhatsApp. While it’s initially rolling out the product to consumers, it will likely start offering it as a customer service option to businesses in the near future. Spotify, meanwhile, has been a pioneer in the AI space for some time and will likely also roll out some features from its latest advances in its advertising offerings. And for its part, Snapchat says that its My AI offering can “answer a burning trivia question, offer advice on the perfect gift for your BFF’s birthday, help plan a hiking trip for a long weekend, or suggest what to make for dinner.”

#2 – Run with the right partners

Of course, most business owners' areas lie in something other than AI and marketing. And as user-friendly as AI tools have become, navigating them can still feel overwhelming to many. Here having the right partners, particularly when it comes to things like digital media buying, can be incredibly helpful.

A good advertising partner will be able to help you navigate what’s possible when it comes to using AI on all of the most popular platforms. Moreover, they’ll be able to help you navigate the regulatory frameworks surrounding AI in your own market as well as international ones. And if they’re really good, they’ll also be conducting their own AI research to find innovative ways of using AI in digital advertising.

#3 – Don’t be afraid, but act sensibly

Ultimately, the message to businesses should be not to be afraid of AI. Utilised properly and in partnership with the right people, it can make their digital marketing efforts faster, more personalised, effective, and capable of driving both reach and returns. But they should also act sensibly (much as you would when using GPS in an area you’re not familiar with). The very last thing they should do, on the other hand, is adopt a wait-and-see approach, because that’s a surefire way to get left behind.