Article | May 3, 2021
Clear conceptualization, taxonomies, categories, criteria, properties when solving complex real-life contextualized problems is non-negotiable, a “must” to unveil the hidden potential of NPL impacting on the transparency of a model.
It is common knowledge that many authors and researchers in the field of natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) are prone to use explainability and interpretability interchangeably, which from the start constitutes a fallacy. They do not mean the same, even when looking for a definition from different perspectives.
A formal definition of what explanation, explainable, explainability mean can be traced to social science, psychology, hermeneutics, philosophy, physics and biology. In The Nature of Explanation, Craik (1967:7) states that “explanations are not purely subjective things; they win general approval or have to be withdrawn in the face of evidence or criticism.” Moreover, the power of explanation means the power of insight and anticipation and why one explanation is satisfactory involves a prior question why any explanation at all should be satisfactory or in machine learning terminology how a model is performant in different contextual situations. Besides its utilitarian value, that impulse to resolve a problem whether or not (in the end) there is a practical application and which will be verified or disapproved in the course of time, explanations should be “meaningful”.
We come across explanations every day. Perhaps the most common are reason-giving ones. Before advancing in the realm of ExNLP, it is crucial to conceptualize what constitutes an explanation. Miller (2017) considered explanations as “social interactions between the explainer and explainee”, therefore the social context has a significant impact in the actual content of an explanation. Explanations in general terms, seek to answer the why type of question. There is a need for justification. According to Bengtsson (2003) “we will accept an explanation when we feel satisfied that the explanans reaches what we already hold to be true of the explanandum”, (being the explanandum a statement that describes the phenomenon to be explained (it is a description, not the phenomenon itself) and the explanan at least two sets of statements, used for the purpose of elucidating the phenomenon).
In discourse theory (my approach), it is important to highlight that there is a correlation between understanding and explanation, first and foremost. Both are articulated although they belong to different paradigmatic fields. This dichotomous pair is perceived as a duality, which represents an irreducible form of intelligibility.
When there are observable external facts subject to empirical validation, systematicity, subordination to hypothetic procedures then we can say that we explain. An explanation is inscribed in the analytical domain, the realm of rules, laws and structures. When we explain we display propositions and meaning. But we do not explain in a vacuum. The contextual situation permeates the content of an explanation, in other words, explanation is an epistemic activity: it can only relate things described or conceptualized in a certain way. Explanations are answers to questions in the form: why fact, which most authors agree upon.
Understanding can mean a number of things in different contexts. According to Ricoeur “understanding precedes, accompanies and swathes an explanation, and an explanation analytically develops understanding.” Following this line of thought, when we understand we grasp or perceive the chain of partial senses as a whole in a single act of synthesis. Originally, belonging to the field of the so-called human science, then, understanding refers to a circular process and it is directed to the intentional unit of discourse whereas an explanation is oriented to the analytical structure of a discourse.
Now, to ground any discussion on what interpretation is, it is crucial to highlight that the concept of interpretation opposes the concept of explanation. They cannot be used interchangeably. If considered as a unit, they composed what is called une combinaison éprouvé (a contrasted dichotomy). Besides, in dissecting both definitions we will see that the agent that performs the explanation differs from the one that produce the interpretation.
At present there is a challenge of defining—and evaluating—what constitutes a quality interpretation. Linguistically speaking, “interpretation” is the complete process that encompasses understanding and explanation. It is true that there is more than one way to interprete an explanation (and then, an explanation of a prediction) but it is also true that there is a limited number of possible explanations if not a unique one since they are contextualized. And it is also true that an interpretation must not only be plausible, but more plausible than another interpretation. Of course there are certain criteria to solve this conflict. And to prove that an interpretation is more plausible based on an explanation or the knowledge could be related to the logic of validation rather than to the logic of subjective probability.
Narrowing it down
How are these concepts transferred from theory to praxis? What is the importance of the "interpretability" of an explainable model? What do we call a "good" explainable model? What constitutes a "good explanation"? These are some of the many questions that researchers from both academia and industry are still trying to answer.
In the realm on machine learning current approaches conceptualize interpretation in a rather ad-hoc manner, motivated by practical use cases and applications. Some suggest model interpretability as a remedy, but only a few are able to articulate precisely what interpretability means or why it is important. Hence more, most in the research community and industry use this term as synonym of explainability, which is certainly not. They are not overlapping terms. Needless to say, in most cases technical descriptions of interpretable models are diverse and occasionally discordant.
A model is better interpretable than another model if its decisions are easier for a human to comprehend than decisions from the other model (Molnar, 2021). For a model to be interpretable (being interpretable the quality of the model), the information conferred by an interpretation may be useful. Thus, one purpose of interpretations may be to convey useful information of any kind. In Molnar’s words the higher the interpretability of a machine learning model, the easier it is for someone to comprehend why certain decisions or predictions have been made.” I will make an observation here and add “the higher the interpretability of an explainable machine learning model”. Luo et. al. (2021) defines “interpretability as ‘the ability [of a model] to explain or to present [its predictions] in understandable terms to a human.” Notice that in this definition the author includes “understanding” as part of the definition, giving the idea of completeness. Thus, the triadic closure explanation-understanding-interpretation is fulfilled, in which the explainer and interpretant (the agents) belong to different instances and where interpretation allows the extraction and formation of additional knowledge captured by the explainable model.
Now are the models inherently interpretable? Well, it is more a matter of selecting the methods of achieving interpretability: by (a) interpreting existing models via post-hoc techniques, or (b) designing inherently interpretable models, which claim to provide more faithful interpretations than post-hoc interpretation of blackbox models. The difference also lies in the agency –like I said before– , and how in one case interpretation may affect the explanation process, that is model’s inner working or just include natural language explanations of learned representations or models.
Article | June 21, 2021
The marketing industry keeps changing every year. Businesses and enterprises have the task of keeping up with the changes in marketing trends as they evolve. As consumer demands and behavior changed, brands had to move from traditional marketing channels like print and electronic to digital channels like social media, Google Ads, YouTube, and more. Businesses have begun to consider marketing analytics a crucial component of marketing as they are the primary reason for success.
In uncertain times, marketing analytics tools calculate and evaluate the market status and enhances better planning for enterprises.
As Covid-19 hit the world, organizations that used traditional marketing analytics tools and relied on historical data realized that many of these models became irrelevant. The pandemic rendered a lot of data useless.
With machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) in marketers’ arsenal, marketing analytics is turning virtual with a shift in the marketing landscape in 2021. They are also pivoting from relying on just AI technologies but rather combining big data with it.
AI and machine learning help advertisers and marketers to improve their target audience and re-strategize their campaigns through advanced marketing attributes, which in turn increases customer retention and customer loyalty.
While technology is making targeting and measuring possible, marketers have had to reassure their commitment to consumer privacy and data regulations and governance in their initiatives. They are also relying on third-party data.
These data and analytics trends will help organizations deal with radical changes and uncertainties, with opportunities they bring with them over the next few years.
To know why businesses are gravitating towards these trends in marketing analytics, let us look at why it is so important.
Importance of Marketing Analytics
As businesses extended into new marketing categories, new technologies were implemented to support them. This new technology was usually deployed in isolation, which resulted in assorted and disconnected data sets.
Usually, marketers based their decisions on data from individual channels like website metrics, not considering other marketers channels. Website and social media metrics alone are not enough. In contrast, marketing analytics tools look at all marketing done across channels over a period of time that is vital for sound decision-making and effective program execution.
Marketing analytics helps understand how well a campaign is working to achieve business goals or key performance indicators.
Marketing analytics allows you to answer questions like:
• How are your marketing initiatives/ campaigns working? What can be done to improve them?
• How do your marketing campaigns compare with others? What are they spending their time and money on? What marketing analytics software are they using that helps them?
• What should be your next step? How should you allocate the marketing budget according to your current spending?
Now that the advantages of marketing analytics are clear, let us get into the details of the trends in marketing analytics of 2021:
Rise of real-time marketing data analytics
Reciprocation to any action is the biggest trend right now in digital marketing, especially post Covid. Brands and businesses strive to respond to customer queries and provide them with solutions. Running queries in a low-latency customer data platform have allowed marketers to filter the view by the audience and identify underachieving sectors. Once this data is collected, businesses and brands can then readjust their customer targeting and messaging to optimize their performance.
To achieve this on a larger scale, organizations need to invest in marketing analytics software and platforms to balance data loads with processing for business intelligence and analytics. The platform needs to allow different types of jobs to run parallel by adding resources to groups as required. This gives data scientists more flexibility and access to response data at any given time.
Real-time analytics will also aid marketers in identifying underlying threats and problems in their strategies. Marketers will have to conduct a SWOT analysis and continuously optimize their campaigns to suit them better.
Data security, regulatory compliance, and protecting consumer privacy
Protecting market data from a rise in cybercrimes and breaches are crucial problems to be addressed in 2021. This year has seen a surge in data breaches that have damaged businesses and their infrastructures to different levels. As a result, marketers have increased their investments in encryption, access control, network monitoring, and other security measures.
To help comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and other regulatory bodies, organizations have made the shift to platforms where all consumer data is in one place. Advanced encryptions and stateless computing have made it possible to securely store and share governed data that can be kept in a single location. Interacting with a single copy of the same data will help compliance officers tasked with identifying and deleting every piece of information related to a particular customer much easier and the possibility of overseeing something gets canceled.
Protecting consumer privacy is imperative for marketers. They offer consumers the control to opt out, eradicate their data once they have left the platform, and remove information like location, access control to personally identifiable information like email addresses and billing details separated from other marketing data.
Predictive analytics’ analyzes collected data and predicts future outcomes through ML and AI. It maps out a lookalike audience and identifies which strata are most likely to become a high-value customer and which customer strata has the highest likelihood of churn. It also gauges people’s interests based on their browsing history. With better ML models, predictions have become better overtime, leading to increased customer retention and a drop in churn.
According to the research by Zion Market Research, by 2022, the global market for predictive analytics is set to hit $11 billion.
Investment in first-party data
Cookies-enabled website tracking led marketers to know who was visiting their website and re-calibrate their ads to these people throughout the web.
However, in 2020, Google announced cookies would be phased out of Chrome within two years while they had already removed them from Safari and Firefox.
Now that adding low-friction tracking to web pages will be tough, marketers will have to gather more limited data. This will then be then integrated with first-party data sets to get a rounded view of the customer. Although a big win for consumer privacy activists, it is difficult for advertisers and agencies to find it more difficult to retarget ads and build audiences in their data management platforms.
In a digital world without cookies, marketers now understand how customer data is collected, introspect on their marketing models, and evaluate their marketing strategy.
Emergence of contextual customer experience
These trends in marketing analytics have become more contextually conscious since the denunciation of cookies. Since marketers are losing their data sets and behavioral data, they have an added motivation to invest in insights.
This means that marketers have to target messaging based on known and inferred customer characteristics like their age, location, income, brand affinity, and where these customers are in their buying journey. For example, marketers should tailor messaging in ads to make up consumers based on the frequency of their visits to the store.
Effective contextual targeting hinges upon marketers using a single platform for their data and creates a holistic customer profile.
Reliance on third-party data
Even though there has been a drop in third-party data collection, marketers will continue to invest in third-party data which have a complete understanding of their customers that augments the first-party data they have.
Historically, third-party data has been difficult to source and maintain for marketers. There are new platforms that counter improvement of data like long time to value, cost of maintaining third-party data pipelines, and data governance problems.
U.S. marketers have spent upwards of $11.9 billion on third-party audience data in 2019, up 6.1% from 2018, and this reported growth curve is going to be even steeper in 2021, according to a study by Interactive Advertising Bureau and Winterberry Group.
Marketing analytics enables more successful marketing as it shows off direct results of the marketing efforts and investments.
These new marketing data analytics trends have made their definite mark and are set to make this year interesting with data and AI-based applications mixed with the changing landscape of marketing channels. Digital marketing will be in demand more than ever as people are purchasing more online.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is marketing analytics so important?
Marketing analytics has two main purposes; to gauge how well your marketing efforts perform and measure the effectiveness of marketing activity.
What is the use of marketing analytics?
Marketing analytics help us understand how everything plays off of each other and decide how to invest, whether to re-prioritize or keep going with the current methods.
Which industries use marketing analytics?
Commercial organizations use it to analyze data from different sources, use analytics to determine the success of a marketing campaign, and target customers specifically.
What are the types of marketing analytics tools?
Some marketing analytics’ tools are Google Analytics, HubSpot Marketing Hub, Semrush, Looker, Optimizely, etc.
"name": "Why is marketing analytics so important?",
"text": "Marketing analytics has two main purposes; to gauge how well your marketing efforts perform and measure the effectiveness of marketing activity."
"name": "What is the use of marketing analytics?",
"text": "Marketing analytics help us understand how everything plays off of each other and decide how to invest, whether to re-prioritize or keep going with the current methods."
"name": "Which industries use marketing analytics?",
"text": "Commercial organizations use it to analyze data from different sources, use analytics to determine the success of a marketing campaign, and target customers specifically."
"name": "What are the types of marketing analytics tools?",
"text": "Some marketing analytics’ tools are Google Analytics, HubSpot Marketing Hub, Semrush, Looker, Optimizely, etc."
Article | March 4, 2020
Deep learning, the main innovation that has renewed interest in artificial intelligence in the past years, has helped solve many critical problems in computer vision, natural language processing, and speech recognition. However, as the deep learning matures and moves from hype peak to its trough of disillusionment, it is becoming clear that it is missing some fundamental components.
Article | February 17, 2020
The continuous advancements in technology and the increasing use of smart devices are leading tremendous growth in data. Considering reports, more than 2.5 Quintilian bytes of data are generated on a daily basis and it is expected that 1.7 Mb of data will be produced every second in the near future. This is where data scientists play an influential role in analyzing these immense amounts of data to convert into meaningful insights. Data science is an overriding method today that will remain the same for the future. This drives the need for skilled talent across industries to meet the challenges of data analytics and assist delivering innovation in products, services and society.