There’s an Algorithm for that!
July 10, 2017
Machine learning and artificial intelligence have become the buzz words of our times. Let’s learn a bit about them.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost nine years since Apple launched the App Store and touted the downloading of 10 million apps back in July of 2008. We quickly learned the catchphrase, “there’s an app for that,” based on the idea that anyone could create an app to help you do anything with your mobile device.
Fast forward to 2017 and the new hot craze that everyone’s talking about is AI or Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence has a number of applications in our society today including being the science behind many of the mobile applications we commonly use. AI also encompasses the topic of machine learning, which has quickly turned into the buzzword of 2017 as it transforms the way that humans interact with technology.
Machine Learning is the technology under the hood of many if not all marketing and advertising technology platforms today. It’s signature is the use of a, typically custom-built, algorithm that processes huge amounts of data continuously to deliver back new results in real-time, allowing us to learn from things that happen, preferences, and actions, in a faster way than ever before possible.
This technology seems embedded into almost every industry where the need to process large quantities of data to enable faster decision making is required. The algorithms don’t just process the information, rather these highly sophisticated and intelligent mathematical engines analyze, predict, and make decisions about data without the need for human intervention or re-programming – they self-learn from the data they process, hence the term “machine-learning”.
Think of the autopilot function on an airplane, law enforcement agencies predicting and battling crime, forecasting weather patterns and stock market fluctuations, and perhaps most importantly, aiding researchers in finding cures that can positively impact our lives. It’s clear that algorithm’s continue to prove themselves as a must-have for many industries going forward, and I am confident in saying that with most companies you deal with via a technology medium, chances are they are using some form of an algorithm to analyze things – and if they’re not, I would be willing to wager that “there will be an algorithm for that!”
Digital marketing companies have been developing and using algorithm’s for years in order to help advertisers better predict which ads to serve to which consumers at the right time, all based on dozens of inputs, including their online behavior. With an RTB platform they do this all while bidding against other advertisers that are vying for the same consumer share of attention – all in less than 100 milliseconds, or about the time it takes you to swat a fly on your desk.
How do you know if you’ve found the right algorithm for your digital advertising needs?
- First off, it needs to be able to process data quickly and efficiently in real-time, since marketers need to see up to the minute campaign results so they can pivot accordingly if need be.
- Second, the algo needs to have the ability and intelligence to continuously optimize campaigns on its own based on given parameters, so that it’s always tuning itself to achieve a marketers’ key performance metrics.
- Finally, it needs to be able to learn on its own, virtually becoming more intelligent and more capable in the execution of current campaigns, but also being able to retain key learnings for future campaigns.
Machine-learning technology is the bread and butter of digital advertising today, especially because it enables marketers to gain competitive advantage with their digital advertising initiatives to increase brand awareness, drive greater share of attention, and grow revenues. IMHO, – algorithm’s are here to stay in the digital advertising industry as they continue to be the unheralded secret sauce of today’s most demanding and successful digital marketers.