We live in a strange and wondrous world… where voices on your phone can understand what you want (Siri and Cortana, I’m looking at you) and you can pay for your drink at the bar with your watch (thanks Apple Pay).

There’s absolutely no doubt the search industry is transforming at warp speed. The first key factor driving this change is the sheer volume of information users now share through digital channels.

And the other? The technology that’s letting you collect, analyse and use this data.

Artificial learning algorithms from Google and other tech giants are on the rise. They can now learn on-the-go and personalise the ads your prospects (or users) see almost in real-time. And rather than going just by the keywords typed in, the algorithm can access the wealth of information users have released into the digital sphere.

Let’s take ‘John’ as an example. John books a flight to the Queenstown on Tuesday and on Wednesday he purchases some snowboard gear. Then he starts searching keywords like ‘travel insurance’. Based on his previous actions, Google detects John is ‘in-market’ for travel insurance and could be the perfect candidate for displaying a travel insurance ad with extreme sports cover.

By tapping into the human (and past browsing behaviour) behind a search query, you can target your Paid Search ads more granularly and reduce marketing wastage. The rise of machine learning provides endless opportunities to help you refine your targeting and ensure you purchase the most effective terms across the search engines. Ultimately, planning strategically is more crucial than ever – and those that don’t will be left in the dust.

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