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Automation: the rise of the machine

Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are two of the hottest topics in digital marketing. In the context of digital marketing, AI mainly refers to machine learning, where computers are capable of learning and improving performance through data analysis without human intervention.

Improvements in bidding algorithms have paved the way for the increase in automation, and therefore machine learning to ensure that the decisions we are trusting to tech are ones that are right for our clients’ KPIs. Additionally, the need to adopt greater personalisation, with consumers now expecting ads to be uniquely relevant to them, has led to a huge increase in the need to automate, and therefore utilise machine learning.

At the forefront of this movement is, of course, Google, and the newly rebranded Google Marketing Platform and Google Ads. Google has expanded from the more familiar examples, such as Display and Video 360 (formally DoubleClick Bid Manager) and the ad rotation settings, which optimises the ad rotation using machine learning to show search ads that are statistically more likely to perform more efficiently based on keywords, search term, device and location. Now, smart bidding, responsive ads (for display and search), universal app campaigns, smart display, smart shopping, local campaigns, dynamic search ads and dynamic retargeting are now commonplace throughout client digital strategy. All these tools are all based on various degrees of automation, which can be used depending on a clients’ objective.

It is not just Google riding the wave of automation, as now Facebook has dynamic ads and tech partners such as Bionic and Smartly, as well as more programmatic platforms. Everyone seems to be turning to machine learning to improve results, with digital marketers following suit.

However, very recently we have seen a change, where Google has started to shy away from fully automated systems, introducing more measures for agencies to understand the system better and more controls – for example in the once fully AI automated universal app campaign.

All Response Media viewpoint

It is imperative to embrace new technology: from testing out the newest products, to building reporting dashboards into ARMalytics®. A common misconception is that automation and machine learning are going to lead to digital marketing agencies being made obsolete. However, media agencies are already using automation and machine learning, largely to automate simple but time-consuming tasks like reporting, leading to more efficient processes, less human error, and more time for people to focus on the primary business objectives of their clients and the buying strategy.

Even as technology develops, there will always be a need for agencies to bring experience, knowledge and human intelligence to best use these new tools. We will also need people to monitor and develop the tech to improve and advance it, such as our Data and System and our Technical Operations teams.

“Engineering or technology is all about using the power of science to make life better for people, to reduce cost, to improve comfort, to improve productivity, etc.”

– N. R. Narayana Murthy

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