AI vs Humans : 3 major reasons why Paid Media still needs supervision

8th March 2018 - 6 minutes read  PPC
John Stuchfield - Head of Paid Search

It’s estimated that by 2030, 30% of UK jobs could be taken over by robots or AI. This is admittedly not great news for any of us, but spare a thought for those whose key role is to monitor Paid Media – might their roles be first for the chopping block?

Automation gives us the opportunity to do many of the things we need to do quickly and accurately: we can test, optimise and deliver adverts designed to robustly engage our target audiences, and we can pull in new customers using the algorithms that tell us when a user is in the market for something we’re selling. We’re even able to make our purchase recommendation at the potential buyer’s likely point of peak interest. Plus, we can do it cheaply, and at the click of a button.

The developments are rapid and seemingly endless. Keyword bidding processes are automated by platforms such as DoubleClick Search, for example. Google’s Universal App Campaign does away with the need for keywords altogether, and instead uses machine learning to find users for your app from across multiple platforms – at a price of your choosing, of course.

In many ways, then, it seems Paid Media campaigns have the capacity to run themselves. So where does the digital marketer – the human digital marketer – sit in all this?

At this stage, it’s important to remember that robots, algorithms and automation are there to relieve marketers of robotic tasks, and free up time and money for concentration on the emotional, creative and relationship building aspects they are undertaking – i.e. to be extra human.

Consider some other proposals for the significance of the human role in Paid Media…

  1. Human intelligence

Programmes and technology won’t be able to design and maintain a business’s objective on their own. You need a human brain (or perhaps more accurately the love and attention of strategic thinkers and data scientists) to understand why a business is pouring resources into marketing in the first place. A company’s marketing strategy should always be led by its mission and its overall goals: not even the most sophisticated algorithm can cover all those bases.

  1. We’re nothing without each other

Automation might be changing things fast and for the better in Paid Media, but if we want consumer experiences to be smooth and well connected, we need our range of systems to be properly connected. It takes a person – and a smart one at that – to consider how and why to integrate the worlds of Paid and Owned Media, and how to reap the benefits efficiently.

  1. Robots aren’t top of the pile… yet

It’s true that for Paid Media campaigns to flourish, they need to make use of automated technology. But rather than replacing human input, automation has created an industry demand for those who can operate the machines to their fullest capacity, building a new kind of foundation on which to base business models. The automation elements currently tend to focus on the granular details, the bid adjustments, the turning off of poorly performing keywords, the launching of seasonal campaigns, the rotation of ad copy etc and all these things need rules set for them. Guess who is setting these rules, and to set them requires a knowledge of the audience, the campaign and the landscape – completely relinquishing control of these to the AI still seems a long way off.

In summary, automation does have ways of making a business leaner, and in some respects will mean cutting down on expensive, inefficient manual contributions in Paid Media. But it has also created thousands of new jobs by virtue of generating entirely new businesses, all of which require ‘human’ Paid Media experts to keep the robots functioning, and ensure we mobilise the technological resources at our disposal to the full scope of their ability.

There might be chances to reskill, but those who know what they’re talking about when it comes to Paid Media don’t need to be on their bikes just yet. Automation is there for humans to taken advantage of and algorithms can’t take advantage of us!

Would you like to talk about automating parts of your Paid Media campaigns? Or perhaps you need a human expert to set some rules, so your automation doesn’t get out of hand? Feel free to get in touch here.