Is AI stealing our digital marketing jobs?

Estimated Reading Time 7 minutes

It is hard for us to comprehend a world without our smartphones. Imagine back to a time when meeting with friends was arranged over a phone call, with a specific time to meet and agreed venue. If your mates didn’t turn up, you waited and waited till you could wait no more.

So why is it so hard for us to imagine a world surrounding us with artificial intelligence? We are already taking bolder steps towards this futuristic vision.

With more trials and tests on artificial intelligence, is it just a matter of time before robots and machines are doing our jobs?

Google Search

RankBrain is Google’s name for their machine learning artificial intelligence which is being used to enhance their search engine results. It is understood that RankBrain is mainly used to interpret search queries and results even when they may not include exact words in the search. This is just one element of Google’s search algorithm, and combined with many others, we are delivered the results we want to see (more times than not).

Semantic search knowledge, combined with the algorithms and intelligence Google holds, now make it possible to interpret exactly what I am looking for based on current and previous behavioural habits.
This basic example below shows a simple search for the “closest cinema to me”. The results offer me not only the answer to the question, but the times, days, ratings for the venue, directions, map, and a link to the website. Finally if that wasn’t the answer I wanted, the next listing is a website which shows local cinemas to me, followed by the Odeon cinema website. All highly relevant and intuitive.


It is like having an intelligent friend in my pocket to help me:

Appear more intelligent – Google what is…?,

To find things quicker – Google where is…? and

Help me diagnose my thoughts – Google why is…?

Now if these are not dominant steps toward a world of  AI I don’t know what is. Front this technology with a robot body and it becomes an intelligent being.

Driverless Cars

It may be a long way off and there may be many hurdles in the way such as laws, regulations and insurance but automatic cars do already exist. They can park themselves, drive themselves, break automatically and navigate based on coordinates. Once they are able to learn and map out routes as well as incorporate traffic reports and weather disturbances to get you quickly and safely from A to B without risk…bingo.

Household devices

Hovers, mowers, tv’s, heating, cooling, ovens, washing machines etc… all being devised and developed with intelligence at their heart to automatically do jobs we don’t want to do. Below shows how adults in Britain feel about AI:

Infographic: Artificial Intelligence: Blessing or Curse? | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

Google Assistant, Amazon Echo, Apple Siri and the other personal virtual assistants are bringing all daily rituals, habits and requests together via one central point. You want to control the lights, heating, music, TV, or order the shopping, these tools are evolving to allow you to do any of the above firstly from an initial request, but then by learning what your habits are and when you require things.

We are surrounded by AI, is it just a matter of time?
Films and TV are depicting the vision of the future, from the synth’s who have feelings in Humans (channel 4 series) to Black Mirrors controversial twist on AI through their episode Be Right Back.

The scary thing is what if AI does keep learning and does take control? An interesting Ted talk I came across by Sam Harris raised the concerns.

What does this mean for us digital marketeers?
If all of the above is happening right now and developing each day, what’s to stop the currently limited search marketing tools from learning, evolving and outgrowing us humans?

Just imagine taking a feed from the weather, news trends and other current affairs data, feeding that into a central point where your sales data and marketing is controlled, then orchestrating a super intelligent, auto optimised, multi platform, digital marketing strategy.

Now that’s what I call AI, how long it will take to get there? Who knows, but if these are the possibilities in the future – where does that leave the technical jobs us humans do?

I class myself as a geek – analysing trends and calculating strategies, but they always include a margin of “human” error and estimation. With robot based calculations, trend mapping and predictions – will digital marketers like me soon be out of a job? Discuss.


Rachel Mepham
With over 15 years’ experience in Digital Marketing, Rachel heads up the team at Digital Clarity. With a deep skill set in the Paid Search, Social Media and Analytics, Rachel is regarded by both clients and peers as one of the most experienced and prolific women in the UK digital space. Her approach and application to digital strategy planning has been used by some of the biggest brands as well as leading advertising and marketing agencies.