Opening the Nottingham Digital Summit this morning was Senior Account Director at Bing Ads, Vikas Arora, who delivered an enlightening talk on what he sees as the key changes taking place in digital and what we can do as marketers to stay ahead. He spoke about what Artificial Intelligence (AI) means, its influence on search, and the opportunities it presents, providing us with ideas and inspiration for how we can take advantage of AI and machine learning for our own businesses.
Fundamentals of Search
Vikas began with a refresher on the fundamentals of search. Search engines are essentially enablers of information. In regards to paid advertising on search engines, the key things to consider when putting an ad campaign together are that you need to understand why your target customer is searching. Why have they taken the call to action to start searching on their phone or other device? This is the important first step to putting a campaign together.
Next, you need to understand the what. What is your customer searching for? It could be pricing, products – it will be specific keywords, phrases and questions, and he’s seen organisations becoming more and more creative with keyword targeting.
Finally, and most importantly, you need to think about “who”. Who is your target audience? Interestingly, Bing demographics have changed quite a lot in the past few years, from a majority older, female audience to post-Windows 10, a younger audience (25-45) and equal mix of both genders. The key point here is that demographics and audiences do change and it’s important for all businesses to keep on the ball when it comes to understanding who their audience is.
Search engines are becoming better and better at understanding searchers, and learn more about the searcher each time they use Bing, Google or other search engines.
What’s New in Search
Vikas moved on to cover what’s new and exciting in search at the minute, in particular the AI powered search capabilities on Bing:
The above features provide huge opportunities for marketers and advertisers, from allowing customers to buy products through intelligent image search, to delivering answers to your customers via voice search based on the content on your website.
Bing’s ambition is to bring AI into everyday life, and with 25 years experience of AI development they’ve developed several tools that are enabling marketers to do just that. Estimates suggest that by 2025, 95% of customer interactions will be powered by AI bots, and other Bing AI solutions provide really exciting opportunities, such as Microsoft translator and voice.
But how can you use AI from a marketing point of view? Bing focuses on turning data into insights and helping advertisers to access meaningful information about customers. One example is with LinkedIn, which has approximately 500 million customers, enabling Microsoft to gain invaluable data on users all over the world and creating digital profiles of those users, including how they search, what information is relevant to them and so on. This data is super powerful, especially for B2B. More and more, Bing is giving access to this insight via the Audience Network, enabling advertisers to better target and optimise their ads, driving a higher ROI.
AI is also important for customer engagement, and allows business to provide a better service to their customers. You can make use of Microsoft’s Bot Framework to automate interaction with your customers, but in a natural and useful way. The rise of conversational and chat bot commerce is becoming more and more popular, and Vikas encourages businesses to get involved.
Other benefits of utilising AI and machine learning technology is to boost operational efficiencies. Two key ways that Bing delivers this is through dynamic search ads, which boost performance and automate ad creation based on the content of your website, and auto-bidding, allowing bids to be placed automatically based on your set objectives to get you a better return on ad spend.
Vikas’s talk was really interesting and I encourage you to view the full slides below:
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