Microsoft Research taps machine learning to automate website optimization
- Microsoft Research’s Decision Service platform uses machine learning to automate testing and optimization of website elements as reported by MediaPost.
- Some of the website elements the platform can optimize include dynamically served website content, e-commerce pricing and advertising.
- Tests with MSN that optimized content served led to an almost 27% increase in clickthrough rate and the increased engagement led to a 9% lift in ad clicks. A separate test on an e-commerce site found a 38% increase in revenue-per-click from a banner ad.
Artificial intelligence like machine learning is being used for a growing number of marketing-related tasks, from consumer-facing chatbots to behind-the-scenes automation of more mundane tasks like website optimization. For marketers, these developments could be good news as there is the potential to free them up to think bigger picture and focus more on the creative aspects of their job.
Websites are full of areas to be tested and optimized – content, design elements, even the color and copy on call-to-action buttons can always be continually improved. For marketers the issue is time and resources. Testing and optimization programs almost always provide positive ROI, but they can be time consuming to create and maintain and often require marketers to pull technical expertise from either inside the enterprise or from third-party specialists. Microsoft’s Decision Service platform takes that challenge out of the optimization equation.
The platform works in real-time by tracking data from website visitor clicks and views, and optimized website elements based on metrics chosen by the marketer such as increasing clickthrough rate or driving more purchases. It is likely the platform will expand its optimization capabilities, with Microsoft researchers pointing out that even optimizing programmatic TV is possible.
Microsoft recently announced that it is infusing artificial intelligence – the umbrella under which machine learning is found – across its enterprise including Microsoft Research.