Let’s talk about the millennial generation — the demographic segment so coveted that marketing managers from all over the globe are fighting over them.

Are they really such a complex generation that we must resort to artificial intelligence to figure out what they want and to keep them coming back for more? Turns out they are, and AI is indeed the ultimate weapon in the fight for the millennial generation’s ever-shortening attention span. Luckily, rapid strides in the field of machine learning will help unravel what this fickle “target market” really wants.

Machine learning is a crystal ball in the world of AI. It analyzes existing data and — through complex algorithms — predicts what will happen in similar cases in the future.

Machine learning service providers aim to help organizations understand how they can interact with millennials in a way that will drive sales. They say if you want to connect with millennials, make a chatbot.

Fortunately, the exorbitant amount of time millennials spend online provides a multitude of data points that can be mined to uncover trends in internet usage behavior.

It is estimated that by 2025, the millennial generation will make up 75 percent of the U.S. workforce. Machine learning examines current data on shopping, social media, or any online activities to predict how millennials will act in the future.

Behavioral patterns can, in turn, be used to target advertising in a meaningful way. For example, machine learning algorithms can predict which type of videos a target audience will most frequently view, enabling a brand to use advertising space that is most likely to be viewed by their target audience.

The critical point here is that machine learning can help turn data into information, knowledge, and wisdom. However, it becomes useful only when this data is processed and transformed into a meaningful format. Here are a few approaches.

Internet of Things

The platforms on which we can connect to the internet have exploded with the rise of the Internet of Things paradigm. No longer are we limited to laptops and smartphones. Nearly all of our movements can be tracked by devices that are used during everyday life. Our smart TVs, fitness devices, watches, GPS dongles, and much more collect data online.

In the Internet of Things paradigm, everything we do is connected to the internet and can be converted to data points. These data points can be harnessed with big data mining and machine learning and used to uncover patterns in how millennials operate in their daily lives. Knowing how millennials operate provides insights on how to best capture their attention.

Social media

Big data mining from social media platforms such as Instagram is one of the most powerful ways of gathering information on the comings and goings of millennials. They are more connected to social media than any other age group. Using machine learning to mine social media data allows companies to determine how millennials talk about its products, what their sentiments are towards a product category, how they respond to competitors’ advertising campaigns, and a multitude of other data that can be used to design targeted advertising campaigns.

Credit profile

The outputs from machine learning can also help in customized shopping experiences which play directly into one of the critical unmet needs of the millennial generation – the desire to customize their experiences according to their unique needs. With SoLoMo and Retail Wars at one side, machine learning algorithms provide trend forecasts and sentiment analysis from social media and web browsing behavior to help them determine what the next best thing will be. Also machine learning has now made it possible to underwrite Millennial’s credit profile with non-traditional data. This, of course, creates the possibility of more spending power in the hands of the millennial generation, more shopping data and more data to mine with machine learning to predict future shopping trends.

Overall, the millennial generation will be the target market to focus on for many years to come. Their ever-changing behavior will make it difficult for retailers and service providers to keep up with their demands, however.

Even engaging with millennials is no mean feat given the vast amount of information that one is competing against. Big data — and the machine learning algorithms that crunch the data into meaningful trend analysis and insights — is the way of the future. Machine learning AI is the key to understanding how millennials go about their daily lives and how they will react to products, events, and consumer engagement platforms.