Mar 14, 2018

How to Apply Machine Learning to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

by Digital Marketing Institute

One of the major innovations in the digital marketing industry is the introduction of artificial intelligence tools to help streamline marketing processes and make businesses more effective. According to QuanticMind, 97% of leaders believe that the future of marketing lies in the ways that digital marketers work alongside machine-learning based tools.

As machine learning and artificial intelligence become more commonplace in the digital marketing landscape, it’s imperative that best-in-class digital marketers learn how to apply machine learning to their digital marketing strategies.

What is machine learning?

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are two separate entities that just so happen to complement each other. While artificial intelligence (AI) aims to harness certain aspects of the “thinking” mind, machine learning (ML) is helping humans solve problems in a more efficient way. As a subset of AI, ML uses data to tech itself how to complete a process with the help of AI capabilities.

As an advanced tool that uses data to provide effective solutions to a host of complex digital marketing problems, ML can benefit businesses by helping them find hidden knowledge in available consumer data to streamline marketing processes.

How is machine learning impacting digital marketing?

Although the future implications of ML are still unclear for digital marketers, it’s already impacting the digital marketing landscape as we know it. ML tools have the ability to analyze extremely large sets of data and present understandable analytics that marketing teams can use to their advantage. For organizations using ML tools, the marketing teams have more time to specialize in other areas and use ML findings to gain new in-depth insights to optimize their marketing strategies.

The ways that ML is being used in digital marketing practices helps to expand their understanding of their target consumers and how they can optimize their interactions with them.

However, with more information comes change, which will occur much faster than digital marketers expect. This year, IDC Future Scapes expects that 75% of developer teams will include some type of AI functionality in at least one service or application. In addition, by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed with no human involved, according to Gartner.

Regardless of the expectations of digital professionals, ML isn’t here to take over the jobs of digital marketers. Rather, it’s main use is to help enhance digital marketing strategies and make the jobs of digital marketers easier. By utilizing ML tools and capabilities, you can streamline your digital strategy and align yourself with an AI and ML-dependent future.

Machine learning in digital marketing

ML is being implemented in digital marketing departments around the globe. Its implications involve utilizing data, content, and online channels to increase productivity and help digital marketers understand their target audience better. But how, exactly, are ML tools being used in digital marketing strategies today? The experts at Smart Insights have compiled a few examples of how ML can make its way into your digital strategy, including:

Content marketing: In recent years, digital marketers, bloggers, and businesses of all sizes have been busy creating content of all types to engage their target audience. Whether it’s in the form of informative blog posts, customer testimonial videos, or recorded webinars, content is everywhere online.

LinkedIn defines the top three things that make content truly effective as:

  • Audience relevance – 58%
  • Engaging and compelling storytelling – 57%
  • The ability to trigger an action or response – 54%

ML tools can be a beneficial part of helping digital marketers uncover and understand this data better. By tracking consumer trends and producing actionable insights, ML tools allow you to spend time streamlining your tasks to reach more leads with your content.

Pay per click campaigns: Gone are the days of marketers trying to analyze data sets to measure the effectiveness of pay per click (PPC) campaigns. ML tools can help you level-up your PPC campaigns by providing information that demonstrates:

  • The metrics you need to help drive your business forward
  • How you can make better, strategic decisions based on the top performance drivers
  • Overcome the struggles that keep you from meeting PPC goals

Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO is still a major player in a well-rounded digital strategy, with many digital marketers choosing to specialize in this highly sought-after skill. However, as SEO algorithms change across major search platforms, the insights from searchable content may become more relevant than specific keywords in the search process, thanks to AI and ML tools.

To ensure that your web pages and online resources maintain their high-ranking place on search engine result pages, start considering the quality of your content rather than simply the keywords included. By doing so, you’ll be ahead of the game when it comes to future-forward content creation and SEO.

Content management: To drive brand awareness and build engagement, digital marketers must create meaningful relationships with leads, prospects, and customers alike. As you attempt to optimize your dialogue and develop engagement across multiple online platforms, ML tools will be immensely helpful in analyzing what type of content, keywords, and phrases are most relevant to your desired audience.

The rise of the machine learning chatbot

Chances are, you’ve already read about the rise of the machine learning chatbot. Or perhaps, you’ve already chatted with a robot on a brand’s website. However, how are chatbots and ML related, and how are they impacting digital marketing?

In short, a chatbot is a virtual robot that can hold a conversation with humans either through text, voice commands, or both. Many large brands have already implemented chatbots into their interface, including Apple’s Siri feature. Siri and similar chatbots can perform searches, answer queries, and even tell you when the next bus is.

For example, Facebook is already implementing methods as to how they can develop chatbots for brands that advertise on their platform, with messenger being the go-to channel for consumer-to-virtual ambassador interaction.

From a digital marketing perspective, chatbots can help you engage with targeted audiences on a personal level. Because of the natural-language processing (NLP) abilities of chatbots, they can carry out a human conversation while being hard to detect. ML and ongoing conversation allows chatbots to collect data surrounding particular users, including personal information such as where they live and their product preferences.

The future of machine learning in your digital marketing strategy

To begin the process of applying machine learning to your digital marketing strategy, digital marketers can start in a number of areas. For example, ML techniques can help solve a variety of complex problems, such as processing large data sets and creating personalized content drips for users almost instantly.

ML tools and chatbots are enabling future-forward market research to take place much faster than a human could ever manage while developing meaningful, personalized relationships with involved users.

For the modern marketing team, ML allows us to uncover predictive knowledge with the help of artificial intelligence. By harnessing this data analyzing ability, your team can use ML to your advantage to engage with hyper-targeted prospects at multiple touchpoints along the sales funnel.


To begin a career in digital marketing, a person must be driven, passionate, and willing to adapt to changing professional landscapes. With a seemingly endless online content pool and data points, the job of a digital marketer has transformed from a business storyteller to a technological manager. To streamline processes and increase productivity, digital marketers – both present and future – must begin to use ML tools to automate processes and utilize data most effectively.

Digital marketing is an industry ripe with opportunities and challenges, and it isn’t showing signs of going anywhere anytime soon. If the goal of digital marketers is to increase engagement and brand awareness with leads, it’s vital that they understand their customers. ML won’t replace existing digital marketing jobs. Rather, it will help broaden the capabilities of the modern digital marketer, providing a base to do and be better at what you do.

As we move into the digital future, machines and people will begin to work together to take marketing initiatives to the next level. No longer will marketing products or services be a tireless campaign of creating, curating, and sharing high-value information. Instead, digital marketers will be able to spread brand awareness in a way that’s more efficient and personal than ever.

Embrace the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to level-up the capabilities of you and your marketing team, and start making a future-forward impact that inspires engagement and meaningful relationship development.

Related posts:

Learn the key digital specialisms with a Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing. Download a brochure today!

Upgrade to Power Membership to continue your access to thousands of articles, toolkits, podcasts, lessons and much much more.
Become a Power Member

CPD points available

This content is eligible for CPD points. Please sign in if you wish to track this in your account.