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Humans vs. Machines: Why a hands-on approach still matters in mobile advertising

The perks of programmatic advertising have come at a cost.

A recent study found that brand safety, ad fraud and viewability haunt programmatic buyers the most due to the lack of control. Also notable is that of those surveyed, “three in 10 agencies were concerned about nonhuman traffic, as were more than one-fifth of marketers.” AppNexus has even jumped on these concerns, announcing it will guarantee fraud-free traffic.

The strong, growing reliance on this automated process, and the fears that accompany it, begs the question: Have we gone too far? Has technologies’ interference with the human touch backfired?

Perhaps.

Other verticals are faced with the same predicament where automated technologies are simply not enough to satisfy a given target audience. Brick and mortar stores are becoming increasingly more important, suggesting that consumers are seeking a balance between the online digital shopping experience and the more traditional in-store shopping experience. The food industry hasn’t escaped the need for human intervention either, with many utilizing “hand crafted” and “handmade” language to describe products in an effort to reject any impersonal feelings that non-human items and processes can illicit.

It’s safe to say that automation and technology can only do so much before an audience begins to feel distant, unsafe and/or unheard.

To combat this, the answer is simple: balance.

We’ve seen balance before. For example, when you or I call the bank, we are directed through a series of automated customer service questions to help better define how we need assistance. Typically, the call is eventually transferred to live customer service support so issues can be resolved in a more personal manner which showcases that a marriage of human touch and technological advancements can be harmonious.

In regards to programmatic, this balance can come easy – in the form of account management.

Regardless of if you are working with a digital advertising network or your in-house colleague, having a programmatic account manager gives you, the publisher, more peace of mind by enabling you to have more control over who can buy inventory and with what advertisements. This individuals ensures advertising campaigns go live without a hitch, troubleshoots setup issues, and typically delivers performance reports that benchmark results against similar campaigns. Partnering with a network specifically offers other perks such as measurement tools, creative customization capabilities and extra layers of protection in terms of quality assurance and brand safety.

In my opinion, programmatic is a ticket to the show, but not the show itself. Set yourself up for success by working with an account manager who understands that a campaign begins with programmatic and whom can then identify the success points, such as media sources and placements, then in turn update the campaign’s algorithm based on insights gained from testing and craft those insights into a methodology for your campaign. This process is key to a successful campaign that delivers results.

At the end of the day, human intervention is still necessary in order to make adjustments and capitalize on opportunities that an auction-based environment may not be able to do, such as opening dedicated campaigns and private marketplace deals. Though programmatic continues to be what’s sexy in digital and mobile advertising, account managers are still of worth in this environment and at times, cannot and should not be substituted by technology.

We all know that this industry is fast-paced and ever-changing. With the popularity of one-click solutions, advanced geo-fencing and multi-device targeting technologies quickly increasing (especially around mobile e-commerce), programmatic will soon be an overused buzzword. But one thing remains the same: human activity is behind all of these advancements and no matter how sophisticated and advanced technology is, an account manager can be there to navigate you through the murky waters of digital advertising with less trial and error than if you went about it alone.

Matomy Media Group is a leading global performance advertising company. For more information visit www.matomy.com.

Assaf Suprasky, EVP of Mobile, Matomy Media Group

Email: Assaf@Matomy.com

Web: www.matomy.com

Twitter:@MatomyGroup