Artificial intelligence (AI) marketing companies bagged $2.5bn of investment last year as marketers turned to the new technology to help analyse huge troves of data. Last year's investment surge has continued into 2019, with $1bn invested in the second quarter alone, according to figures compiled by tech investment firm GP Bullhound. The report shows that marketing AI remains a nascent sector, with private placements outnumbering merger and acquisition transactions. However, the steady rise highlights how marketers and increasingly looking to technology to help sort and analyse growing amounts of user data. "Artificial intelligence heralds the beginning of a new marketing era, driven by the need to connect vast amounts of disparate data, uncover patterns and make predictions, which only AI can accomplish," said Oliver Schweitzer, executive director at GP Bullhound.