Ad Technology

The Machines Won’t Do It All: Why Programmatic Marketing Augments, Not Eliminates, Human Insights

mike headshot

By Mike Driscoll, Metamarkets

In today’s age of automation, many industries are questioning what the impact of robots will be on their jobs. The exponential growth of programmatic media has brought this to the forefront in digital marketing, as campaign managers fear that their media buying expertise will be rendered obsolete within a matter of years.

I’m here to assure you that the opposite is true: data-driven programmatic marketing doesn’t eliminate the need for human insights, it augments marketers and allows them to do what they do best, with incredible efficiency.

Today, we’re in the early stages of a digital transformation of the nearly $700 billion global industry for marketing, spurred by data and algorithms. But, an increase in data-driven strategies does not mean that the strongest emerging digital marketing teams of tomorrow will have phased out human interaction. Companies that embrace hybrid solutions – with smart algorithms backed by human control, will be most successful during the digital transformation of marketing.

We need to remember that the Moneyball algorithms aren’t now hitting cleanup for the Red Sox and Yankees – they might influence the lineup or convince a pitcher to throw more curveballs, but they still need the players to put that data into action. In marketing, there is a similarly symbiotic relationship: marketers receive valuable data to make informed decisions, and the data needs the help of marketers to be translated and put into action.

If we default to blindly trusting data with no human insights added, marketers will be at the mercy of the powerful organizations who drive both the monetization and measurement of their marketing budgets. Those organizations have every incentive to provide only the data that reflects positively on the growth of their platform. For example, far too many marketers have allowed their data to be trapped behind the Walled Gardens of major platforms like Facebook and Snapchat, instead of insisting on verification from trusted, third-party verification companies that can provide independent analysis and transparent data on their campaigns.

If the Walled Gardens continue to go unchecked and measure themselves, they’ll have little incentive to increase transparency around their fee structures or enhance their reporting methods to build up trust in their viewability measurements or other metrics. CMOs and the agencies that represent them hold the power to demand measurement standards that give them more visibility and help them compare data between Walled Gardens and other platforms.

So, instead of fearing the impact that programmatic marketing may have on their jobs, marketers should jump in full-force and embrace the data they receive. Every marketer has a right to their data and a professional duty to take ownership of it. That will allow them to move information freely between different platforms while retaining ownership of their insights, instead of allowing external forces or machines to own all of the analysis on the critical decisions that matter most. With marketers using data-powered insights to their benefit instead of fighting against them, our campaign managers won’t be going away at all, they’ll be as empowered as ever.