Google: How Agency Folks Really Feel About Automation

Google’s move toward automation did not always meet with approval from agency executives when the company initially began its push to automate everything -- from creative assets to media bidding.

Most marketers -- even vocal agency partners -- hesitated to publicly acknowledge discontent, but Patrick Gilbert, COO at AdVenture Media Group, did so in a recent video for Google made public.

 “I hated automation when I first started doing it," Gilbert said in the first episode about automation and agencies, adding: "I wanted it to fail. I wanted to prove that my manual bidding strategy was better.”

The minute it would fail, he would call the client to “be like, oh look, we did it again. And then eventually it didn’t fail.”

In a video released earlier this month titled Agency Conversations: How automation is changing marketing, agency reps sat down with Google to share their experiences.

“I’ve seen a study that the average person creates 1.7 megabytes of data every single second of their lives,” said Jeremy Hull, global senior vice president of search at Brainlabs. “All that data requires automation to identify those opportunities, to parse through that data and even understand it, and then to activate against it.”



Hull said there is a tendency to sell automation as magical, but that it actually has limits. Marketers need to test and identify those limits and figure out how they work.

Navah Hopkins, president of Navah Hopkins, said everyone owes themselves at least one trust-fall into automation. For those who don’t, they can end up losing their competitive advantage against all who are starting to adopt it, and ultimately will get left behind.

“I have always preached having at least 20% of your time set aside for wild and crazy idea time,” Hopkins said, adding that automation allows for that time. “Sit in a room with your colleagues and brainstorm.”

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