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4 min read

The Future of AI in Lead Generation

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The Opportunities, The Threats, and The Solution

When companies first started getting social media presence in the early 2010s, it was seen as a novelty. Just a few years later, a necessity. Now, in 2020, it is something that can make or break a business’ success.

This process is being repeated with the use of artificial intelligence, and in no area more so than in marketing. AI lead generation has already transformed how we canvass for leads, allocate resources, and improve the user experience, and it shows no chance of slowing down. 

For marketing teams, this provides a dizzying array of opportunities, but also threats. While the avenues for growth have never been more abundant, nor have the ways to commit ad fraud. Bad hat hackers are constantly developing new ways to take advantage of advancing AI to steal from honest businesses at the expense of marketer’s results. In this article, we will go over the opportunities and threats that AI brings with it, and what you can do to protect yourself in a fast-changing world.

The Opportunities

AI is already being used in a vast array of ways to help companies generate those all-important leads, and this is only set to grow going forward as AI lead generation systems become ever more sophisticated. In general, though, there are four key areas in which AI will be increasingly dominant in, in order to help marketing teams meet deadlines, and find success.

Identifying potential leads- Identifying potential leads can be a time-consuming process but is the first step towards a sale. It often involves a huge amount of data, digging through to weed out the masses to focus on only those that give you a genuine chance of a conversion. Even then there is no guarantee of success. People struggle to identify the few key factors out of thousands that mark out a potential client and are often left chasing their tails.

Luckily, AI is here to help. Large data sets are artificial intelligence’s specialty, and in moments AI systems can search for and analyze a vast amount of data to provide you with only the leads that are actually going to deliver. They are able to do this not only by covering far more ground than even a team of people would be able to do but by large-scale pattern recognition that people just can’t compete with. 

In the future, these systems will become more complex and powerful to provide even more consistently good leads and increase the chances of conversion.

Providing data-backed lead insights- AI lead generation does not stop at serving up leads to you. In an ever more connected world, everything from a person’s purchase history to their social media presence can be leveraged to not only provide you with a lead in the first place but inform you of its quality and likelihood to convert. 

As these systems improve you will be able to use them to identify exactly how to invest in each lead before moving on to the next, improving efficiency and streamlining your sales process. 

Giving potential leads personalized experiences- Everyone likes to feel special, and not just another potential client. You can do this by offering them a personalized user experience. In fact, with research showing that customers are 80% more likely to buy from a company that does this, an argument could be made that you have to offer them a personalized user experience. The problem is that when you are canvassing thousands of clients at a time, this is impossible.

Impossible that is, without AI. With AI on the other hand it is not only possible but will actually cut down on service costs. Whether this is through chatbots making users feel involved in the process or emails that reference a user's specific interests, AI can customize interactions to endear a potential client to you and drive conversions.

Following up leads to rescue missed opportunities- Even with a fully customized user experience as described above though, many leads will leave your site before making that all-important purchase. In fact, with the average cart abandonment rate at 69.57%, even among those who make it to this final hurdle, most will not convert. What these people who leave early become though, is a fantastic set of leads that you can follow up with using AI email generation and give yourself a second chance.

 Now, AI is not a magic wand that will instantly bump your conversion rate up to 100%. What it can do, however, is approach these potential clients that have already expressed interest with a personalized email containing their cart contents, name, and other site-specific details. This can be used in tandem with special offers relating to their use such as a 10% off their cart deal, to help you bring them back and boost results.

If you are a marketer reading all of this you will no doubt be licking your lips in anticipation, and with good reason. In the near future, AI will have revolutionized the sales process even more than it already has, with lower overheads and drastically improved lead generation. As always though, there is a downside. Even while legitimate companies are developing more and more advanced uses of AI to drive results, bad hat operators are doing the same to send them back down.

The Threats

Unfortunately, even as advances in AI unlock more doors for you to generate more leads with higher quality, it also opens the doors for bad-faith actors to do the opposite and tank your campaigns, leaving you chasing leads that never really existed.

 One way they are doing this is by using AI to develop more sophisticated phishing emails in order to install malware on thousands of users’ computers forming what is known as a botnet. From here, they can use these bots to systematically click on ads, fill out forms, and even complete CAPTCHAs, all in order to generate false leads, and have you chasing your tail. 

The damage to your lead generation does not end there. You are directly and indirectly losing out. This is because all of your AI targeting systems that use your leads to go after your ideal target group are now doing so with tainted data from fraudsters that are merely there to scam businesses like yours.

Their usage habits will not correlate to your primary buyer persona at all, but your AI tools will be using them to retarget and refocus your efforts. Ultimately this will lead to fewer leads, and those you do happen to luck into from an effectively randomized target will be of far lower quality. 

 Another threat to marketing that is set to increase with AI is affiliate marketing fraud, and in particular chargeback fraud using stolen credit card details. Using AI, fraudsters are able to massively speed up their accumulation of details using brute force attacks. More credit card details stolen means more opportunities for fraudulent purchases, and more money wasted on illegitimate affiliate marketing. 

 Again, many of your AI targeting systems will view these fraudulent purchases as legitimate, and thereby target the incorrect audience.

The Solution

In order to combat advanced AI systems that are targeting your business, you need an advanced fraud solution that is designed to catch the most sophisticated fraud.

An advanced ad fraud solution like Anura will analyze incoming traffic in real-time and help you protect your web assets from sophisticated fraud. It will identify suspicious sources and allow you to shield yourself from attempts to attack your site. Find out how well Anura will protect you by requesting a trial today.

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