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How can machine learning enhance your digital marketing strategy?

The launch of Google’s new machine learning tool, RankBrain which contributes to search engine results, left many people wondering what impact machine learning would have in the realm of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).


With the tech industry going crazy for all things Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP), machine learning, and chatbots, it’s important to know what the technology is, where it’s going, and what impact it will have on digital marketing as a whole.

This article will explain these concepts as well as share some tips on how to adapt to machine learning.

The Growth and Popularity of Machine Learning and AI

Machine learning is, in fact, not new to the tech world. It first appeared as a concept back in the 1950’s and has now developed into a technology that builds algorithmic systems based on previous data trends, models, and patterns that it has learned from. With this data, machine learning simulates the human decision-making process by using predictive analysis.

While RankBrain has been the first to really make its mark in this space, companies of all kinds are starting to put a greater focus on data gathering and storing, making machine learning more relevant. And, that’s not to mention the new machine learning tools now being launched, which are making it more accessible. With that in mind, larger organizations have started applying machine learning to their sales and marketing automation efforts.

But, before going any further into the realm of machine learning and how it’s going to change marketing, it’s important to note that machine learning is not the same as AI. While they are currently being used interchangeably, they have some clear differences. Here are some of them:

What is the Difference Between Machine Learning and AI

AI is the broader concept of machines undertaking tasks in a way that us humans would consider intelligent. In other words, AI is when a machine can undertake a task as well, if not better than a human would.

Machine learning is a subset of AI, whereby we provide a machine with data and it then learns on its own. Instead of being programmed to do something, machines are given the information they need to do it themselves. Simply put, machine learning is one of the applications that is driving AI development. With that in mind, it is crucial that we get the machine learning right so that we can grow the AI side of things.

But what does this all mean for digital marketing?

Machine learning and Digital Marketing

Because machine learning is being used to solve a huge set of diverse problems with the help of data, channels, content, and context, as marketers, we stand to benefit from this information and phenomenon as a whole. But, as the information we gather grows, digital marketing as we know it is set to change.

Search Engine Optimization

From an SEO point of view, keywords could become less important. Search engines receive more revenue for ads when they provide users with higher quality content. As a result, the algorithm they use needs to be more focused on providing each user with content that will serve a specific purpose, rather than be packed with the right keyword density. You, therefore, need to start thinking about the quality of your content as a ranking factor on search engines.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns

With Google launching new “smart” features such as Google Smart Bidding, Smart Display Campaigns, and In-Market Audience to help businesses maximize conversions, it is clear that the future of PPC lies in machine learning.

To become more strategic and take your PPC campaigns to the next level you need to:

  • Get to grips with the metrics that are most valuable to your business
  • Understand obstacles that could get in the way of meeting your goals
  • Know the underlying performance drivers to make more strategic decisions

Content Marketing

Although still extremely important, the internet has become inundated with too much content. As mentioned above, to succeed, you need to be creating content that is valuable to your readers. To do this, you need to understand consumer trends.

Machine learning tools allow you to reduce the amount of time you spend tracking your data, as well as enable you to better decipher your data so that you can create actionable tasks that will lead you to success. It’s important to remember that this is also applicable to your email marketing campaigns as well.

Link Building

After Google released the Penguin algorithm, many thought that link building was dead because Penguin penalized any business it caught buying links. But, instead of dying out, link building has evolved. As a marketer you need to look for brand recognition content, social signals that mention your brand, and content research for guest posts instead of simply buying your links.

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