The Future of Digital Marketing – Machine Learning

In the first instalment of The Future of Digital Marketing, we’ll have a look at machine learning and what it means for technology in general, but marketing specifically.

First, what is machine learning?

Machine learning is, in essence, the process in which a computer finds patterns in a given set of data, and then utilises them to fit a function. A great example is when you search something on Google and misspell a word. Say you search “insoght” (a misspelling of “insight”) and then go back to change it to the correct spelling, Google recognises that the second search is likely a correction of the initial search. As more and more people make this mistake and correct it, Google effectively ‘learns’ this and stores it for future users, who will be prompted with the correct spelling when they accidentally search “insoght”. You’ll see this regularly, looking like this.

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 4.38.15 am.png

Of course, this is a very simplified explanation of a rather complex process, and more detail can be sought depending on your level of tech-savviness.

While this is great and pretty clever, what other applications are there for machine learning?

Machine learning can be used to:

  • Build targeted advertising – by analysing a user’s history and cookies, targeted adverts can be presented, with the most suitable audience receiving the most suitable advertisements. This is already huge on Facebook 
  • Generate adaptive websites – websites that adjust their content, structure or other content to suit an individual user’s tastes based on past internet usage

Most importantly though, machine learning is generally viewed as one of the foundation steps towards artificial intelligence (AI), which we’ll look at in the next post.


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