September 24, 2019

Machine Learning: What Is It & What Are The Benefits?

Machine Learning is a part of our modern-day life. It powers our virtual assistants and can be used to predict how long your commute home will take. Social networks use it to suggest people you may know. It drives your search results from Google, and your product recommendations from Amazon. But what exactly is Machine Learning? And how can Machine Learning be used for all these different applications? Basically, Machine Learning is what it sounds like it is: a form of Artificial Intelligence that tries to learn from the data available.

This Artificial Intelligence then takes actions based on what it has learned, without human intervention. Since the AI learns from the data, the actions that Machine Learning can take are really only limited by what data has. This flexibility in what actions Machine Learning can power is how it can be leveraged in so many different areas of our day-to-day life. Let’s break down an earlier example - directions. Using a service like Google Maps on your smartphone gives Machine Learning a very large amount of data to study and learn from. The application knows what roads you are driving on, how fast you are going, how long it took you to get there, what time of day you were traveling, and so on. When you request driving directions all of that data is then used by the Machine Learning to give you the most efficient route. The most efficient route is often not just the shortest distance, but instead the route that will get you there the quickest, factoring in distance, traffic, road work, and so on. The application knows what the quickest route is by studying drivers using the same roads, when you are requesting directions, and understanding that total travel time of other drivers. Live traffic information is available thanks all those other drivers and with this data, machine learning can not only understand how the current congestion will impact your commute, but also learn if the traffic is likely to get worse or better given the historical data.

When it comes to on-site search, Machine Learning is a natural fit and can bring numerous benefits. With HawkSearch, powerful Machine Learning is used to automatically improve your search results on several levels, using the criteria that matters most. Let’s break down five of the benefits our approach below:  

Five Benefits of HawkSearch’s Machine Learning  

1. The Right Criteria  

As we discussed, Machine Learning is powered by the data it has available to learn from. With HawkSearch’s Machine Learning we use every aspect of the user’s journey on your site to power our machine learning. From tracking the keywords being searched, conversion points, what results are being selected, including where the results were when selected, and over what period of time, and many more points of data. This allows HawkSearch to provide the most comprehensive Machine Learning automation for your on-site search.  

2. Levels of Automation  

With HawkSearch’s Machine Learning, we wanted to provide not only the automation to improve your search results, but to also provide this automation at several levels. Instead of providing one generic ‘Machine Learning’ level of automation, we provide three distinct levels of automation. The first being based on the engagement of your site visitors (what results were selected, where were they when selected, over what period of time, etc.). The second level is powered by conversion data, allowing the Machine Learning to automatically learn from what results are converting and when, then highlighting those results without user intervention. The third level is a fully personalized automation. By taking all of the data generated by an individual user’s actions on the site, we can influence search results automatically for that specific user. For example, maybe Jack always prefer North Face products - but Jill prefers Columbia Sportswear. When Jack performs a search for a jacket, North Face products are returned first, whereas Jill would see Columbia Sportswear products first.  

3. Not Just Search  

With HawkSearch, our Machine Learning is not limited to just automatically improving search results. When you use our Item Listing Landing Pages to power your category pages, vendor/brand pages, or even your promotional pages, HawkSearch’s Machine Learning is also automatically improving the results on those pages. This allows you to create dynamic landing pages that are not only easy to manage, but automatically improve the results displayed based on our engagement, conversion, and personalized levels of Machine Learning.  

4. Ease of Use  

One of the main benefits of Machine Learning is that it does not require human oversight. With HawkSearch, we provide this hands-off approach while making sure that you are still in control over your results. For all of our Machine Learning levels, we provide the ability to influence how much weight the automation has over your results through a simple to use slider. Additionally, when viewing your results through the HawkSearch Preview, we explain when Machine Learning is influencing items so you always understand your results.  

5. Available to ALL HawkSearch Clients  

HawkSearch strongly believes in the power of Machine Learning, and the benefits it provides to our clients to automate their merchandising and item rankings. Our Machine Learning was developed as a core functionality of HawkSearch, and as such it is included and available to all HawkSearch clients. It is critical that all Hawksearch users make sure to pass the entire customer journey data to the Hawksearch team leveraging our advanced tracking mechanism. The more data users can send the better since it will allow our team to refine your Machine Learning model and ensure it is tailored to your customers.

With Machine Learning being so prevalent in our everyday lives, isn’t it time it became a part of your on-site search experience? Contact HawkSearch today for a demonstration of our Machine Learning capabilities and to see the other ways we are helping automate your workload.


Latest blog posts