If you’re a bit of a tech geek like me, you’ve probably caught wind of the newest technology trend that has the scientific community buzzing.

Machine learning: the future of the next millennia of human advancement, presumably, or at least our newest tool breaching the gap between what machines can do and what needs to be done by human beings exclusively.

But what exactly is machine learning and what can it do?


What is Machine Learning?

“Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides computers with the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can teach themselves to grow and change when exposed to new data.” –WhatIs.com

Creating powerful algorithms to help computers discover hidden insights on their own may sound like a big promise, or perhaps the stuff of science fiction. However, machine learning has already led to advances in a variety of different fields, and shows no sign of going out of vogue.

In fact, this radical increase in AI promises to continue to facilitate important advances in the industries of medicine, education, security, marketing and even advertising.


What are some of the things machine learning can do?

Machine learning has many practical applications. To name just a few:

  • Text/Document Classification: through machine learning, machines are able to choose the correct label for a given set of inputs
  • Morphological Analysis: machines can also explore multiple solutions to a complicated problem
  • Speech Synthesis: machines can produce natural sounding speech while keeping a certain flexibility for voice transformation without requiring a huge amount of data
  • Speaker verification: machines can identify speakers from aspects of their language
  • Wooden chess piecesGames: machines can adapt to the techniques of specific human players in games such as chess or backgammon
  • Unassisted control of a vehicle: programming can enable a vehicle (including a robot) to operate without the input of humans
  • Medical Diagnosis: new technology uses algorithms to detect and diagnose medical conditions
  • Prediction of equipment failures: machines can predict when certain equipment will need to be serviced
  • Image recognition/Face recognition/Pattern recognition: machine learning based software is capable of recognizing images, faces, and patterns based on a series of determined attributes


Machine Learning in Advertising

Machine learning extends beyond the world of pure science, though. It also has profound implications for the advertising industry. Let’s take a look at three of the coolest applications it has in this perhaps unexpected industry.


Market Segmentation

Machine learning can help predict whether or not a certain customer will respond to a promotion. We might not want to believe that humans are so predictable, but the truth is that these methods have proved to be very effective. The more we can quantify human behavior and use machines to develop helpful algorithms to predict it, the more successful our advertising efforts will become.


Predicting Churn and Lifetime Value

Another helpful application of machine learning is predicting how likely it is that a customer will remain with a certain product. Being able to predict Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) can help companies optimize the cost per acquisition of different customers for the long run. This allows you to spend more money acquiring the customers that are more valuable and sift out the less valuable ones.


vp1_buscrowd4_prevTargeted Display Advertisements/Personalized Messaging

As advertising is getting more personalized and customers are learning to expect an entirely seamless brand experience, machine learning can help to more accurately target display advertisements and personalized messaging. This means that advertisers will have an easier time presenting the right ads to the right customers, saving time and money and also improving their reputation and the customer experience.


What does it mean?

Basically, if you’re not already considering the advantages that machine learning could provide in your advertising, you’re falling behind.

The advertising industry is advancing rapidly due to advantages machine learning provides, which means that we, as human beings, are rapidly moving into a brave new world; a world in which a computer will analyze your customers, use predictive analytics to present them with the encouragement they need to buy your product, and then track their value throughout the transaction. As you can see, the applications of this type of learning in advertising are enormous and practically limitless.

We’re getting to the point where machine learning isn’t just something cool that we have conjured up in our imaginations. This imagined future is happening right now.