Certainty #2: Algorithms Are Aligned With The Human Decision Making Process

Matching Content To Customer

It is fairly obvious that Algorithms are intentionally aligned with the human decision-making process.  You can test this by experimenting with searches using differently worded questions. A “How Can” question will give you completely different results than a “Who Can” question.   There are also clues such as the existence of a “Chief Decision Officer” at Google, who manages an entire department of “human decision-making” scientists.  You can read more about this group and what they do at Fast Company.

What this means is that you do not need to try to figure out what algorithms do; you simply need to focus on how your customers will eventually make a decision to work with you.  Algorithms are not changing; they are simply trying to do a better job of being human-like.  You have the ability to perform well with algorithms, because you are already human.

An algorithm is simply a long set of instructions written by human engineers typing on a keyboard. The algorithm acts as a match-maker. It reads through website content or a platform, and when a person does a search, or explores a topic, the algorithm presents content that it has calculated will be the most useful.

Humans write algorithms
Photo by @Sigmund, Unsplash

When someone has identified a problem, they are going to be doing searches around the periphery of the solution. They don’t yet know what the solution is, and they may not know about you. This means that your business needs to be creating content that is discoverable by these broad searches if you are trying to gain brand awareness. You will be using keywords and hash tags that will help you get discovered.

For example, if a homeowner has a broken window and they do a Google search for “how to repair a house window”, they will be presented with articles on how to repair a window by Home Depot, Better Homes & Garden, and other businesses who hope to be discovered, or at least remind the homeowner that they exist.

If the homeowner has become aware of possible solutions and is considering them, from an ad engine (algorithm) perspective, they have engaged with you or your direct competitors in some way, and a pixel or tag has tracked them, so you can connect with them directly about your solution through an ad. Your ad will be using key words and hash tags directly related to your solution.

When your customer is ready to make a purchase, the ad engines and pixels know that this individual customer is aware of their problem, has explored possible solutions, probably your competitors, and possibly YOU. You need to have content prepared that dives into the details and benefits of your solution, differentiates yourself, and offers proof of your solution’s quality. This is typically done on one page, called a “Sales Page”.  Your potential customer may land on your sales page through an ad, by exploring your website, by doing a specific search on Google for your product, or through recommendation from a friend.  On a social platform, your customer may also be shown posts or content or ads that the algorithm believes will activate them to click to learn more and buy.

When a search engine or application does not have a monetary agenda, (it might be a research database), then search results and content are presented purely based on relevance. However, if the platform is funded by ads (just about all of them are, including news sites), there will be a second priority, which is to lead the visitor towards an action that will generate revenue for the platform.

You might be wondering how search engines and social media platforms know where someone might be on any particular journey. This knowledge is gained through the use of codes or tags that are put onto websites and apps.

How Algorithms Collect Information

Below is an example of the code inserted into a website for HubSpot. HubSpot is a tool that helps businesses keep a list of their contacts, and stay in communication with them in a relevant way. This tag records whether an existing contact fills out a form or makes an order. It also keeps track of what pages they visited leading up to that action. The enterprise-level account will also track what ads were clicked on other platforms, and then what path they took and pages they visited leading up to the engagement.

Hubspot Tag

HubSpot Code
Hubspot Code

The below code is from Facebook (Meta). Having this code on your website allows you to, among other things, share website visitor information with your Facebook Business account. You can send specific ads on Facebook & Instagram to visitors who previously were on your website.

Facebook (Meta) Pixel

Certainty #2: Algorithms Are Intentionally Aligned With The Human Decision Making Process
Certainty #2: Algorithms Are Intentionally Aligned With The Human Decision Making Process

Google Analytics Tag.

Google Analytics Tag

As you move across websites, apps, and social platforms, a vast catalog of your activities are stored. This allows the algorithms to create a profile of you, that enables them to predict what information is most relevant or useful to you. You may have heard about the 2020 decision by Apple to, by default, have all iPhone users opted OUT of data collection. A user will need to turn ON data collection the first time they use each app. It is the above pixels and others that are being active or locked from use. This created a panic for businesses who relied on that data to serve relevant ads. Anywhere from 40%-60% of users have opted out of tracking, which significantly reduced advertisers’ ability to post relevant ads, and to identify if the right people are seeing them.

To learn what information Google and Facebook (Meta) have about you, follow the below QR Code, read this article.

Story Time!  Squirrels In The Attic

I own a beautiful tudor home in South Minneapolis. When we moved back to California, we decided to rent it out. One day I received a text message from our tenant that there are squirrels in the attic! He said that they are so busy and noisy that he can’t focus on work!  I had a problem.  Squirrels in the attic!

After doing a Google search for squirrel removal in Minneapolis, I called around to various services who do squirrel evictions.  I learned that it is a fairly expensive process, because the cannot be harmed, by law.  I then did a search for “how to remove squirrels from your attic”, hoping to find a cheaper alternative. While doing the search, a paid search result ad from a company called DBzon.com appeared. They were promoting a pest control gadget that you plug in, and that emits a noise so irritating to the pests that they leave. The gadgets only cost about $40 each, the ad said, so I clicked on the link, went to their website, ordered a couple, and had them sent to our tenants.

After placing the order, I went over to CNN.com to check the news. I was followed there!  A large ad appeared from DBzon served by the ad service Critio. The ad is shown below.


Critio Ad
Critio Ad

You can do this too!  You should have your website set up with key tracking codes in place so that you are able to provide guidance to your customers at every step of their journey.  To learn what the most basic recommended set-up is, read this article about the minimum tracking code set-up recommended for all websites.