The new price of technology is 99 cents. It’s a disposable price, yet a major barrier to entry for many consumers in today’s app stores. Mobile app developers are the new pioneers and inevitably, upon creation of their latest app, they will sit in a conference room with their investors and marketers and ask themselves, “Should we price it at 99 cents or just give it away for free?”
How sad is this?
Perhaps we’ve reached a turning point where so much of our latest technology simply has little value. In the world of digital media, it is common that technology-managed campaigns often need to “come off the platform” to be managed more intimately by a human with analytical skills, decision making abilities, and the creativity to improve a campaign’s performance.
New technology advancement, such as real-time bidding (RTB) and more recent programmatic efficiencies have made things easier, more exact — reducing layers of labor to just a few clicks of a mouse. In 2014, brand marketers and agencies are expected to spend $3.3 billion on display ads bought through RTB, according to eMarketer, representing 19 percent of total digital ad spending. By 2017, it is likely to reach $8.69 billion, or 29 percent of total digital dollars. However, has technology improved the art of media management by killing the artist? And what role does the artist play in a technology-centric business?
There are still old-school values where technology does not apply and where people still rule.
Technology can’t think like a CMO
Ad networks cover vast regions of the web, and it’s easy for ad content to appear somewhere is doesn’t belong. While no reputable company is going to place a client’s creative on websites that are obviously inappropriate, there are many sites that have controversial content where your CMO may not be thrilled to see the company’s logo. While technology can cast a broad net to filter adult content, lewd images, and text, it takes a person with a keen eye for brand and reputation to consider inappropriate tone, political controversy, or contradictions in terms, thus making good decisions on creative brand alignment.
People can better identify fraud and manage quality
According to IAB’s chairman, Vivek Shah, a full 36 percent of all web traffic is fraud, as millions of impressions are being served to non-human traffic and bots. Ethical media planners know they will pay more to get impressions on big brand sites, whereas less ethical and automated media solutions may better manage budget by buying from no-name websites that can drive up impressions and lower costs. This pattern of non-human traffic often leaves a clue in the analytics reports. People can often spot suspicious impression patterns and spikes in activity commonly attributed to opening the floodgates on bot traffic. Seeing an entire day’s impressions hit in a matter of hours is easy to spot — if someone is looking. Ultimately, a good publisher will sell competitively priced traffic; if the price of the traffic is too good to be true, it probably isn’t what you want.
People can find the creative, out-of-the-box solutions
Technology can make buying media easier, but it can’t tell you what to buy, when to buy, and for whom. Have a client that wants to own the entire cold medicine section of WebMD.com? Need to run custom creative to integrate your brand with ad content? Creativity can often trump methodology. Technology may aid in the execution, but having an experienced team on your side will ensure success.
The untapped potential of account managers and sales reps
According to the Association of National Advertisers, only about 26 percent of marketers know what programmatic ad buying is or how it’s best utilized compared to other methods. These modern technologies are used in a small but growing number of agencies. Simply diving head-first into tech is never a good idea. Utilize salespeople for more than contracts and invoicing. A sales rep can not only advise you on the best technology to accomplish your goals, but also has a keen understanding of all their property has to offer and what should work for your client.
Technology still needs someone to manage it
The best media assets may not yet be on programmatic. Make sure you have a diversified approach and smart human expertise behind each campaign — programmatic or not. Utilize A/B testing on every campaign and let data indicate when to switch strategies and optimize a campaign. This is critical to driving optimum performance. Technology is great at increasing rotation of creative that is achieving a higher CTR or a lower CPC, but what if the success of the media is going to be determined by
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– by Lori Goldberg