There’s no doubt that technology plays a massive role in hitting delivery numbers and all those other cold spreadsheet targets. However, in the rush to achieve speed, reach and impressions, people are starting to muddle the impersonal algorithms and mathematics of automation with meaningful creative.
Technology alone regularly fails to produce the right connection with human beings -- and yet it’s these emotionally driven individuals that buy products because of the way a brand makes them feel. Technology and human emotion need to work hand in hand to achieve success for your brand.
The process of making a digital ad has become so technology-driven that a machine could do it. This is great for the bean counters as it means less time, fewer people and lower costs.
Automated ads can help brands to be nimble and reactive, enabling them to localize across territories, make changes on-the-fly, and tweak creative based on performance data. Colors and product shots are just a few of the aspects that are changed according to learnings.
Surely though, if the machines keep applying the same sets of learnings, isn’t your creative going to become simply a clone of your competitors -- like a swarm of similar ads served at similar times evoking a similar emotional impact?
Performance collapses and up pops a new algorithmic swarm of similar ads ready to eat maybe not the brains, but certainly the heart, out of brand engagement and association.
The most memorable ads are those that make people feel warm and fuzzy; that challenge prejudiced social norms; that entertain, inspire, amuse or perplex. They need to live in the hearts of consumers long after they have been viewed.
Making an ad using current technology might be easy, but creating one that strikes that all-important meaningful connection between brand and consumer is very difficult. It’s the idea, message, artistic flair and effort that connects.
Human instinct tells us when something feels unnatural, fake, or insincere, and an ad built purely by algorithm might be convenient, but is unlikely to truly engage, engender trust and deliver a lasting positive brand association.
The most effective ads require human intervention at the beginning of the process. Every digital ad campaign should start with a human conversation, not with a data entry field.
The uniquely human qualities of creativity, emotion, empathy and intuition that have been vital to all the best ad campaigns cannot yet be replicated by machines -- and who knows if they will ever be. That’s why, in advertising, technology should not be used to replace people, but to save time and resources that can be invested in the creative process and generate key brand and consumer insight.
For example, listening more to brands to understand what they want to say and who they want to say it to is one of the most important aspects of the creative process. Likewise, getting to know your audiences better helps deliver stronger ideas and more effective collaborations that drive deeper, longer-lasting consumer engagement.
As an industry, we have a wealth of highly intelligent and creative talent. This is what brands buy into as much if not more so than the cutting-edge technology we now also have at our disposal. Great campaigns demand great human talent. Technology will never and should never replace this. Instead, it should be seen as a valuable tool to amplify this talent.
In an increasingly automated ‘world, it takes the human touch to really make an impact.