Artificial Intelligence Marketing Blog
April
26
2017

by Noa Segall
Head of Search & Display

How to Train Your Albert™: Remaining in Control of Your AI Assistant

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Worried your AI may go off the rails? Combine supervised and unsupervised learning to make better decisions without straying beyond the boundaries set for it by human marketers.

A sci-fi-saturated pop culture landscape has taught us to be wary of artificial intelligence. We all know the story: humans create robots, robots gain sentience, and mankind is left to deal with the apocalyptic fallout of technology gone rogue. It can make for a pretty riveting action movie, but this fictional cliché has also led people to keep their distance from a promising technology with incredible potential to transform their work for the better.

Would-be users in the marketing world are concerned that left unsupervised, AI platforms would “go rogue” and make decisions that aren’t in the best interest of clients and stakeholders. But with the help of human mentors, AI platforms have the potential to unlock countless new business opportunities, leverage extensive data libraries, and launch hyper-targeted digital campaigns.

Artificial Intelligence Simplifies Decision Making

Today’s digital marketplace poses new challenges to those making marketing investment decisions on behalf of their companies. An intuitive human eye is no longer enough to sift through the mountains of data that inform campaign strategies — modern marketing now requires the help of AI tools to do this work at a pace and scale not possible for humans.

Marketers take a very siloed approach to digital, tailoring individual campaigns for each channel, using software designed for each channel, and basing decisions primarily on data coming from, yes, each channel.

Say a marketer is creating a campaign for Facebook: she sets a budget and identifies a target audience, which Facebook analyzes before offering an estimated lookalike audience of two million users. The reality is that this number only represents the amount of people who will see the advertisement in their newsfeed, and offers no indication that they will actually interact with it. The characteristics that unify members of any given Facebook-generated audience do not necessarily indicate increased engagement.

AI driven marketing platforms takes data from campaigns run across an array of media platforms and use it to inform decisions made across a company’s entire advertising plan. So instead of paying for your ad to reach two million people, less than half of whom will actually interact with it, AI driven marketing platforms correlate data from similar campaigns to identify concrete patterns among members of a particular audience, narrowing the campaign’s approach and reaching people more likely to interact with it. With the help of AI, marketers are empowered to make big-picture decisions based on hyper-targeted insights.

Supervised vs. Unsupervised Learning

Successful AI platforms aren’t meant to run without the input of human marketers, but rather, to strike a productive balance between supervised and unsupervised learning. The best AI driven marketing solutions utilize both.

During the initial setup, marketers create a rule set from which AI driven marketing platforms operate. This is known as supervised learning. By establishing KPIs such as budget, daily spending limit, or frequency caps, the AI system understands when and where to cut off spending and assures marketing teams that his spending stays within certain parameters. For instance, let’s say your team doesn’t want their CTR to fall below a certain level. The AI platform will track those data points (along with many others) and automatically cancel spending on that campaign or channels that aren’t reaching that threshold.

Alternatively, unsupervised learning occurs when an AI system acts outside of human intuition. The AI system will collect and understand thousands of data points in real-time, far faster than any human ever could. It then leverages these variables to make decisions that may go against what a human might do in a certain situation.

For example, a human may spot a campaign that doesn’t meet CTR expectations, leading her to shut the campaign down altogether. The AI system may look at the same campaign and notice a finer data point suggesting a more aggressive approach could yield more clicks and raise the bid. If its decision results in a positive ROI, that will inform decisions moving forward. Similarly, if its aggressive move fails, it will remember that and adjust behavior accordingly.

In the end, AI driven marketing platforms utilize the expert knowledge your marketing team already possesses and supplement it with its own advanced algorithms to make decisions that make your campaigns as effective as possible. The best AI-based marketing platforms will cooperate, not compete, with human marketers to achieve shared goals.

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