Chatbot use in the U.K. doubled since 2020 and a large portion of marketers now use them to interact with customers. The findings come from marketing software provider HubSpot’s 2021 Not Another State of Marketing report, which surveyed 1,500 specialists worldwide and found that marketing and social media priorities are shifting to adapt to evolving technologies.

As part of a broader trend in the use of automation, the report reveals the accelerating effect of the pandemic in marketers’ use of automated solutions. In 2021, they became the biggest adopters of automation within companies, using such tools 73% more than sales and 134% more than finance.

On top of this, marketers’ use of technology is also on the rise, with nearly one in five social media marketing tactics including augmented reality (AR), up 10% from last year’s report.

HubSpot explains this rise in popularity through the increasing sophistication of automated technologies, enhancing marketers’ abilities to deliver personalized content to key consumers.

Scott Brinker, vice president of platform at HubSpot, said, “Research across different studies clearly shows a growth in automation and an expansion of the capabilities of automated tools. With artificial intelligence becoming a more prominent feature in the landscape, we potentially need to think about specifying different types of automation, whether it’s for emails, landing pages, social media, blogging or marketing analytics.

“Different types of automation, across various industries, can provide marketers with a variety of skills to improve their return numbers and, therefore, multiple AI tools should be used, rather than one.”

HubSpot also found that live video is becoming increasingly popular, with 40% of marketing tactics using this format in 2021 compared to just 17% last year.

This growth was driven by global blockchain, forcing content production to be designed for a virtual audience. Similarly, the time consumers spend watching videos increased by 85%, offering great opportunities for marketers.

Despite the growth of new technologies this year, traditional forms of marketing, such as email marketing, also increased in effectiveness. Although fewer emails are being sent, consumers are showing better response rates. In 2021, 78% of UK marketers reported seeing more email engagement over the past year.

Brinker commented, “The pandemic forced many marketers to switch to video or virtual face-to-face methods, but we must keep our minds open to all channels, despite the massive digital shift over the past 18 months. As automation became more powerful, it is having a noticeable impact on existing and more traditional marketing methods. As the online marketing world changes with the demise of third-party cookies, email marketing is proving to be a reliable channel that clearly works and provides a high return on investment.”

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