Programmatic advertising is the use of software to buy digital ad space. In the past few years it has made great strides in its development with many tools, platforms and resources available for businesses looking to streamline their online advertising

This form of advertising uses data science to improve online conversions. It considers seasonality, user behaviours and much more to model paid search results. It essentially uses predictive analytics to monitor, maintain and enhance your ads based on a number of behaviours, namely customer demand.

This fully data-driven approach requires autonomous decision-making such as that which artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning (ML) provides. Using AI and ML provides valuable marketing insights that a manual approach can’t deliver and can be used to streamline future campaigns.

There are a few things to consider when adopting an automated approach:

Define your goals and outcomes What is your campaign’send goal? What data is relevant to be collected and collated? Knowing your aims and goals allows you to decipher what data is the most relevant and appropriate to use.

Complete a data audit Your business probably has an abundance of data readily available: data from Google Analytics, Webmasters and Ads plus any CRM (customer relationship management) data or transactional data from previous orders and enquiries. Assess this data and work out what is relevant, what can be used and what would provide value to your business and its online efforts.

Consider external data sources Alongside having dataabout existing customers, creating an online profile for a new potential customer is essential. Use public data sources such as Google Trends, UK Data Service and other readily available datasets to identify any existing online retail trends.

Using ML and AI in marketing in this way may be in its infancy still, with only large multinationals having the facilities and resources to build bespoke software to fully utilise it, but there are a growing number of software options available for small businesses to utilise, with the pick of the bunch being Phrasee, Optimove, Rapidminer and Automat.

Andrew Langridge is from ETrader, one of the industry’s leading suppliers of websites to garment decorators across the UK.