Just a few decades ago, futuristic science fiction movies were peppered with interactive advertising that recognized individuals as they roamed the streets and played personalized media specifically for them.
A character hops into a cab, and the in-car screen greets them by name and suggests a restaurant based on the person’s individual habits. A person steps into a busy street and is immediately hailed by dozens of AI bulletin boards.
In 2019, those scenarios don’t seem like futuristic fiction. Disruptive technology and advances in digital media, including advanced analytics, automation, and artificial intelligence (AI), are making rapid personalization of digital deliveries a reality.
Companies that aren’t using these technologies to plan media campaigns, make use of real-time customer insights, and market with speed and agility are going to be left behind by competitors who are making use of disruptors to expand on opportunities.
Advanced analytics drive more powerful disruptors
An enormous resource floats through the web, and companies that can leverage it are poised to be disruptors in digital media in the years to come. That resource is data, and brands have already leveraged it as a stepping stone to the top.
Consider Facebook, which may seem like a mainstream publisher today. The social network started as a disruptor and still acts as one, thanks in part to its ability to collect and process more than 600TB of data daily.
Advanced analytics let brands capture the big picture by studying data, which in turn lets them drill down to the small picture correctly. They can start developing the hyper-targeted, hyper-relevant personalized content that lets them become a disruptor in the digital space.
It’s an opportunity that has never existed before in the history of publishing and media; by analyzing online behaviors and other data, brands can accurately recommend products or links, serve up ads in extremely timely moments, and tighten marketing budgets while increasing conversions.
It’s something that’s already happening on both large and small scales, with businesses of all types and sizes leveraging data to disrupt.
Netflix and other streaming services use data to make recommendations and develop original content that keeps subscribers streaming.
Facebook and Google put powerful advertising tools in the hands of any business thanks to enormous banks of data that make it possible to target ads to very specific user groups.
Online publishers rely on real-time dashboards to determine trending topics so they can stay ahead of the competition when it comes to content.
Ultimately, the goal is to get as close to acting on real-time customer insights as you can so you can engage in agile marketing. If you know what your customer is looking for right now, you can offer it as a recommendation to enhance in-moment customer experiences.
Automation lets digital media scale
But analytics alone don’t let you drive those personalized customer experiences – at least not at scale. One reason for that is the sheer amount of data involved. Google alone handles around 40,000 searches a minute, and what and how people are searching is just one piece of the digital media pie. And even if you could analyze all that data without automation, analysis is only the beginning of the digital media process.
There’s simply too much work to be done manually, and automation has become a critical component for companies that want to remain competitive in the digital space. According to CMO.com, more than 90% of the most successful digital marketers note that automation is a key to their success, and 77% of CMOs say they implement automation as a way to drive up revenues.
Experts believe that around 45% of digital media and marketing tasks performed by people could be automated to drive process productivity, accuracy, and efficiency. That automation can occur across the entire digital media process – from analysis and ideation to content creation and delivery.
It’s important to note that automation isn’t fully replacing people. It’s an omnichannel world, and that concept washes over into production. Brands that take an us-or-them approach to automation (pitting people against computers) usually lose in the market. The successful disruptors are those companies that are able to seamlessly integrate both human and automated components to do things faster, better, and with greater levels of personalization. The results in 2019 and beyond are a shrinking reliance on outdated agency models and the continued growth of startups in industries such as AdTech.
AI brings everything together
The disruption trifecta is complete when you add artificial intelligence to the mix. This is the bridge between all that data and the automation that lets you scale – machine learning and AI can be programmed to perform extremely complex tasks based on the data brands have access to.
Chatbots are a prime example of this intersection between data, automation, and AI. As of 2019, chatbots can carry on conversations with customers and even perform services for them, often without the person realizing it’s AI. QuickBooks business software comes with a chatbot that acts as an assistant for individuals with questions about the software, for example, and in the digital marketing world, brands can create chatbots for influencers that answer consumer questions in the voice of the influencer.
AI applications are a growing force across all industries, including digital media. Around 23% of companies say they plan to innovate with AI on their digital media platforms and strategies – that’s more than plan to use AI for cybersecurity.
Opportunities trending into the future
These disruption trends aren’t going to fall by the wayside anytime soon. Machine learning is only getting more adept at recognizing speech, images, and natural human language, which means digital media brands will likely rely on it even more in the future. In fact, some computers are already capable of 97% accuracy with image recognition (that’s two percent better than humans), and by 2020, machines will be able to achieve 99% accuracy for video and voice recognition.
The takeaway for those in the digital media space is this: You can be disrupted, or you can become the disruptor. The second seems to be the path to success in the modern era and to get there, you must begin investing in and leveraging advanced analytics, automation, and AI to drive personalized, in-moment customer experiences.
Learn more about the key shifts in Digital Media And New Communications Paradigms In The Digital Age.