Charles Poladian

Sep 22nd 2017

How Machine Learning Makes Advertising More Human


Advertising is all about finding the connection between people and the products, brands or adventures they love or may not realize they’ve been missing in their life. Beyond the idealized version of marketing found on television, advertisers are being challenged in new and exciting ways to find that story. Machine learning is being embraced for its diversity and power. In some cases, the tech is capable of being more human than human by understanding our needs before we even thought about lunch.

Smarter Advertising

The same machine learning that’s causing an artificial intelligence revolution across various industries is also creating a huge impact in the world of advertising by powering decisions at an enormous scale. The sheer amount of data that’s now available, and improves over time, lets advertisers make better informed decisions leading to campaigns that are better tailored to an individual.

Whether it’s called machine learning or artificial intelligence, AI is a powerful tool being implemented in a lot of fascinating ways. Object detection and facial recognition in photos is one such example.

Over time, the tool gets honed through new parameters that refine the process to the point where the algorithm can not only detect faces but also identify friends and family members. Recognizing a brother or a mother adds another layer of personalization to future advertising. If an algorithm identifies a seasonal family outing, appropriate campaigns can be developed highlighting perfect choices for that summer cruise or the fall camping trip.

In advertising, algorithms are being used to identify customers and their behavior to create better targeted campaigns. The technology is also a way to glimpse into the future without a crystal ball through predictive choices backed by millions of data points. Learn what each app may be collecting and how searches affect what you see. Follow that up with an experiment where you try to identify ads or other personalized marketing as you browse the web.

Better Marketing

Customer segmentation uses algorithms to continuously improve content, emails and website offerings based on user habits. Every action performed by an individual is considered a data point that AI can use to adapt and refine its approach. Because a computer can go through billions of these data points, there can now be a greater population of individuals with the same behavior, income, geographic region and preferences.

Advertisers are now basing marketing campaigns on hundreds, or thousands, of examples of behavior that’s similar to your own. For advertisers, there’s a greater confidence that what they are sending is actually going to the right audience. The future of AI in advertising is going to be all about you. Advertising has always struggled with personalizing campaigns, but now the consumer is doing the work for them through data.

A smarter smartphone assistant in the future can monitor your calendar and identify how you’ve worked two years straight without a vacation. The assistant could create an alert and, based on the apps on your phone, suggest potential itineraries. Additionally, a preliminary shopping list could be created for the trip.

Those principles could be applied to your favorite clothing brand sending you an offer based on the last time you purchased a shirt or a pair of jeans. A faded shirt in a photo on social media could prompt an alert. Even what you watch after a long day at work could be tailored through AI based on social media posts and calendar invites.

Behavior, such as time spent on particular websites or what sites you most frequent, can be tracked; brands can learn how to connect with an audience using predictive analytics. Algorithms are capable of creating a best guess for what a user will do next because the model has so much information on what the individual has done in the past. It’s a way to develop future campaigns with better accuracy, which is a huge sigh of relief for any marketer at the beginning of their next big launch or sale.

Machine learning is rapidly transforming many industries, from marketing to insurance, because of its versatility and unprecedented scale. But behind every great program or technology are engineers, developers and programmers: the real brains behind any artificial intelligence.