Since the onset of industrialization in the late 18th century, automation has become an omnipresent force in business. From gigantic machines like the power loom to the tiny yet mighty processing power of the microchip. It seems that we’ve continued the long march forward begun with the steam engine into the digital age. But what does this have to do with digital marketing? How can automation or more specifically, machine learning, help you grow your business? What are the benefits of incorporating this new technology into your advertising strategy?
Let’s have a look.
Machine Learning’s Problem Solving Potential
Imagine you’re an instructor at a factory, and you have to teach a new worker how to run the assembly line. You show them how to operate their work station, which buttons to push and so on. For a while, this manual instruction works just fine, until it doesn’t. What if that employee now needs to be transferred to another spot on the line and be taught an entirely different job? If you had to manually take the time to teach the employee every new job he could possibly have, you’d never have any time left to do any other work of your own! Now imagine instead, that the worker (as most people hopefully are) is capable of teaching themself. No longer would you be required to constantly be showing them the ropes. This, in a nutshell is the idea behind machine learning. It removes the need to manually need to teach computers how to solve problems, allowing them to teach themselves.
The way this works is fairly simple. Give a computer examples and allow it to discover patterns in the data you are feeding it. Once it recognizes these patterns, it can use them as reference points from which to solve problems. This penchant for problem solving has already been utilized in fields such as science, engineering, and medicine.
Opportunities to Accelerate Growth
Being a marketer, you’re probably wondering “so how can this help my business?” To cut to the chase: it makes your life easier and grows your business faster. Allow me to explain.
When running a digital marketing campaign, there is baseline upkeep that must be maintained. Choosing where your ads show and adjusting bids are important, but tedious and time consuming activities. For every minute you spend manually adjusting such factors, you lose a minute you could spend on more crucial tasks. Why waste time on ad and keyword management when you could be thinking about capturing trends or entering new markets? By utilizing Google’s machine learning through AdWords, for instance, you have billions of consumer data points at your fingertips. This data can enable your campaigns to effectively run themselves, setting ad placements and bids based on likely consumer behavior. Everything from color and tone preference, to device use, to location and purchase history can help AdWords decide where and how to show your ads. This saves you time and has the added benefit of making your placements and bids better with time.
With recent advances such as Universal App Campaigns and Smart Display Campaigns, AdWords makes it possible to use machine learning to deliver highly customized, targeted ads to just the right audience at just the right time. Furthermore, it enables you to set the right bid for each of those ads – in real time! Pretty incredible advancement.
Adapting to Change
Today, consumers are feeling more empowered than ever before. That’s a trend that as a marketer, you have no choice but to adapt to. Potential customers expect brands to provide speedy, helpful experiences, and will reward those brands which live up to these expectations. Because of this, advances that can help you stay ahead of the curve are essential.
One such advancement made possible through machine learning is smart bidding. Smart bidding helps you set the right bid at every auction. It works through the use of three core capabilities:
- Auction Time Bidding – By analyzing relevant context and user input, AdWords Smart Bidding sets bids at every individual auction in which your ads participate. Google takes into account factors like time of day, browser, user device, and ad creative to decide how much you should spend in search of this click. This technology is capable of processing millions of bids per second if necessary!
- Cross-signal analysis – Google’s algorithms for smart bidding understand the connections and correlations between seemingly disparate phenomena. A human marketer may be able to identify a boost in sales on mobile versus desktop, but a machine can run that fact against numerous others such as time of day and more simultaneously. By pulling different fibers of information together, smart bidding makes well informed decisions about ad spend.
- Query-level learning – So you have a whole bunch of new or low performing keywords in one of your running campaigns. You aren’t seeing returns on them right away, but know, deep down in your gut, that they are relevant or valuable to use. Smart bidding can once again be your helper here. Google can look at performance data for similar auctions across your account and use that data to make informed decisions on where to use these new or poorly performing keywords. It can also reduce performance fluctuations, even when data is relatively scarce.
Smart bidding is now considered a Google best practice and is used across 98% of the company’s eligible campaigns. Yet it isn’t the only advance that machine learning that can help you grow your business. There are also Universal App Campaigns (UAC’s).
Universal App Campaigns
Designed to help advertisers drive downloads of their mobile app, UAC’s run on the Google Search and Display networks. This can include YouTube, Google Play, and with placements within other apps. In an effort to save marketers time, UAC’s generate ads based on your app’s Google Play listing, a few additional lines of text, and an optional YouTube video link. They can provide a rich, multimedia experience aimed at capturing and holding user attention.
What’s more, Google can take the information you provide and create several variations of the ad for your app. This way, you can resist user ad fatigue with little to no additional work on your part. AdWords accomplishes this by mix and matching the separate assets your ads use and optimizing them to maximize your number of app installs. Adwords machine learning capabilities power ad creation and optimizations based testing and doing more of what works.
Further, UAC’s use automated targeting for your ads. This means that with a small initial investment of time, selecting keywords and the like, you can yield a large amount of potential downloads. Google will determine which placements have the highest likelihood of earning you a conversion, and then seek to attain those for your ads.
A few things to note if using UAC’s to promote your app.
- Your ads will not be translated for you. Make sure that your language targeting matches that used in your ads.
- Since AdWords is creating all of your UAC ads for you, you won’t be able to see how each individual one is doing. Ad metrics and performance data are available however, on the campaigns tab.
- Your entire campaign is considered one giant ad group, so that step of management is removed.
- Make sure to run a different UAC for each app you’re promoting! The details of each will require different optimization and ad generation.
Keep all of these in mind, and your app should start selling like hot cakes!
Growing your business quickly using machine learning is one of the aspects of AdWords that make it so attractive to advertisers. Through streamlined problem solving and decreased management time, machine learning can be extremely helpful when running and optimizing campaigns. What’s more, it can greatly increase the growth rate for your business. By analyzing billions of data points from all over the world, this technology allows your campaigns to be highly automated and personalized for your potential customer base. Fast, efficient, and customizable. The quintessential digital marketing experience.