What Is Machine Learning?: Advertiser Q&A
Machine learning is affecting the way businesses operate – including how they advertise. Google, for instance, uses machine learning to help businesses optimize the performance of their search ads. But not everyone understands exactly what machine learning is. We thought we’d take a moment to break the topic down and answer some common questions.
What is machine learning?
Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) in which computers literally have the ability to learn, and subsequently make increasingly more intelligent decisions. The learning happens when a computer program accesses and analyzes data — data in amounts generally too vast for humans to read through quickly or accurately. The computer looks for patterns in the data and learns automatically, without human assistance. Spotify, for instance, uses machine learning to understand the musical tastes of its subscribers in order to recommend songs that are more likely to match their interests.
Is machine learning the same as AI?
Machine learning is one aspect of AI. AI in fact encompasses many things, including:
- Natural language processing, or NLP, a technology that equips machines to interpret what people say in words or text. Advanced NLP not only deciphers speech, it teases out context and detects nuances like sarcasm.
- Chatbots, the programs operating inside messaging apps or on websites, which allow consumers to accomplish simple tasks like e-commerce transactions.
- Neural networks, which are AI programs that use the human brain as a model. Neural networks incorporate aspects of AI like NLP in order to perform duties such as recognizing handwriting.
- Dynamic pricing, in which programs use consumer data to set prices that are most likely to ensure a sale given various factors.
- Content Curation, an aspect of AI that can be used to figure out what specific goods to recommend to consumers based on data about that consumer.
In short, AI is a supercategory describing and encompassing the many ways computers emulate the way people think and act. In the vast universe of AI, machine learning is one subcategory.
How are businesses using machine learning in online advertising?
Machine learning can help businesses test the effectiveness of different forms of advertising. Not only can it prioritize ads that are doing better, machine learning can even pinpoint what ads are performing best at certain times.
Google’s efforts to stay competitive in a field shared by powerhouses such as Amazon and Facebook exemplify an effective use of machine learning. As we recently discussed, Google’s responsive search ads and responsive display ads make it possible for advertisers to enter multiple headlines, descriptions, and logos. Machine learning figures in by automatically testing various combinations of these factors and highlighting the ads that perform best.
What are some tips for succeeding with machine learning?
Like any tool, machine learning can be used wisely—or abused. To glean the best results, keep in mind that:
- Machine learning is not a replacement for humans. Use it as a complement to human judgment.
- Machine learning is a dynamic field. This is not a topic you can learn once and then consider it mastered. Machine learning tools evolve quickly, with new ones coming along seemingly on a weekly basis. Stay on top of the changes.
Contact True Interactive
Curious as to how machine learning can help you with your digital advertising? Contact us.