Every week, JTN’s marketing team meets to look through the performance of the ads we’re running online, both for ourselves and our clients. We’re constantly looking for ways to optimize and improve their performance.

We base our decisions on data, and the insight we have directly from our audience; this comes from market research, conversations, and years of experience. We personalize our creative content based on our target audience, and what we know they respond to.

In our most recent ads meeting, we were discussing how to improve our own process, and it got me thinking about machine learning.

Machine learning could have a transformative effect on the way we, and countless other marketing professionals, run our campaigns.

Traditional market research has always had pitfalls.

Although the insight gathered from actually talking to a person is second to none, what people actually say they think is influenced by a multitude of psychological and sociological factors.

Yep, get inside people’s heads, and things might not be what they seem.

These factors are not an issue with machine learning. Instead of relying on what people say they do, machine learning bases optimization on what people actually do, and how they behave. The quote ‘past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior’ springs to mind.

By using those mysterious things called ‘algorithms’, machine learning continuously improves the prediction of future audience behavior (i.e. how they’ll respond to ads) far quicker than even we can do.

And hey, I like to think we’re very good at our jobs.

In turn, this delivers the audience with ever-more personalized and relevant ad content, which they find more engaging, and are more likely to respond to. Great news for everyone.

However, it’s not all sunshine and roses.

There are still concerns about the use of personal data, marketers retaining control over brand identity, and the ability for machines to be truly creative.

So, when we next sit down on Tuesday afternoon to talk about our ads, what am I going to say?

Marketers need to combine our knowledge and creativity (which can only come from years of experience) with machine learning’s ability to rapidly test and improve performance.

Ultimately, like a good meal, a balanced approach is the key to success.