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Artificial Intelligence: redefining the media buying skillset?

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In a previous edition of ARM Weekly, my colleague Marta Granatir discussed media buying’s growing confidence, and in some cases, dependence on, automation. In this article, we explore the changes these tools will have on our future planning and execution of the media buying process.

There is also no shortage of scaremongering around AI, with leading business figures warning that advancements in this area will make certain jobs obsolete. Tech giants are investing billions into the research and development of flamboyant and headline-grabbing AI projects, such as Google’s Deep Mind, with the goal of funnelling the learnings into their key revenue streams. Our area of expertise which we would be concerned about is advertising. And with the impressive progress of this tech, it is easy to believe this negative prognosis.

However, we must consider the counter-argument: If we consider a future where the entire process of media planning and buying is automated with AI/machine learning so that all campaigns are on a level playing field, then what differentiates our clients from their competitors? There will always be a requirement to gain a competitive edge. And it is this drive that will define the way we plan and buy media in light of these advancements.

We can never compete with the speed of machine learning algorithms, but we know they are bound by their coding and the datasets they are using for optimisation. Having a deep technical understanding of these two areas is key to retaining an advantage. And so, it would not be unreasonable to predict that tech specialist roles will in high demand in advertising in the coming years. For example, individuals who not only understand pre-existing integration solutions offered by respective media buying platforms but have the knowledge to create bespoke solutions that connect the data points from unrelated media platforms or CRM databases, enhancing the dataset the AI tools optimise against, thus creating a customised approach for each client, and retaining that competitive edge.

All Response Media viewpoint
AI has become a buzzword in advertising, giving the perception that an impending revolution is coming to the industry. However, we consider it a positive evolution that has been in the works for many years. Over the last 15 years, All Response Media has been developing our ARMalytics® suite to utilise data for the most effective media optimisations, as well as, investing in and growing two specialist teams that focus in this area:

  • Data and Systems: Specialists in offline data systems and analysis
  • Technical Operations: Focused on research and development of digital data integrations

These focus teams are the enablers to totally unique propositions that compliment both manual and AI-based media buying. A few notable projects:

  1. Cross-media measurement: Harmonising attributed digital data with offline data for a complete attributed overview of all channels, tackling the double counting issue that offline and digital media teams have been facing since the advent of digital media.
  2. Facebook marketing partners (FMP) custom integration with Google’s Campaign Manager: Joint project with our chosen FMP to pipe Campaign Manager data into their system so that their machine learning-based algorithm can optimise Facebook campaigns based on multi-channel attributed numbers rather than Facebook’s one-sighted dataset.

Provided we as an industry continue to invest in the skillsets to match the progression of AI, we need not consider it a worrying game changer, but simply an enhancement of our existing strategies.

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