The programmatic advertising space is amazing. It gives advertisers and publishers the ability to meet, decide on the best price for an ad impression, and transfer delivery data back to all parties. It’s a revolutionary development in the way advertising operates because it lets innovative new advertising technologies plug into an existing ecosystem, without having to re-invent distribution systems
The ecosystem, despite what you hear is fundamentally powered by humans. Its successes and failures are due to the single most important factor in the ecosystem: humans.
What’s interesting to me is how often and how with such great veracity I hear executives at every seniority level express worry about their roles in the ecosystem. Usually, the question is whether the technology will replace humans. What’s true is that business evolves. Advertising evolves. Marketers, their needs and the way they are served all evolve.
Humans are the core element of the programmatic ad buying ecosystem. Programmatic was created by smart people to streamline the way advertising decisions are made in digital environments.
Humans are the reason why programmatic media runs the way it does in both the best ways and the worst ways. Rather than spending time haggling over CPM rates media buyers get to look at real campaign data to optimize performance. Sellers look at daily deal flow delivered through supply side platforms and ad exchanges and they get to set prices either directly or directionally based on trends. Demand side platforms let agency buyers understand which sites perform the best, and which apps are delivering the way they should. Service providers measure where people go in the physical world, enabling hyperlocal advertising solutions.
Humans are also the reason why fraud, bots and non-viewable impressions are allowed to thrive. Bad actors set the tech, place the tags and make the decisions to cause problems for legitimate parties in the advertising world.
Finally, it’s humans that every day fight the good fight and develop solutions to stamp out fraudulent ad impressions, relieve the ecosystem of bot traffic and work with authorities domestically and internationally to fight criminal enterprises that affect the advertising community.
There will never be a perfect advertising ecosystem because humans will always be part and parcel of the process.
So, when I hear sales people, media buyers and marketers worry about their jobs being replaced by technology I remember that fundamentally advertising is still about the human element.