Automation is not just the latest fad in the fast-evolving digital marketing world; it is a cornerstone of efficient, targeted communication that is here to stay. In fact, its emphasis in marketing is only going to escalate as new trends and systems emerge.
Agencies and marketers that best adapt are most likely to achieve success in the automated future. The following is an in-depth exploration of current trends in automation, along with insights on how agencies and marketers can best align themselves to take advantage.
Google Leads the Way
Though they aren't the only major company leveraging automation, Google definitely drives much of what becomes standard in digital technology. A lot of Google's recent developments and algorithm updates have centered on their expressed interest in enhancing artificial intelligence and automation capabilities.
Google Assistant and Universal App Campaigns are a couple of examples of how Google is integrating AI and automation.
Google Assistant offers compelling advantages to both consumers and business representatives. It utilizes voice-recognition software to allow users to communicate verbal directions to automate traditionally manual tasks. In an office setting, workers can use it to guide electronic communication, content display and more. It offers widespread access on phones, speakers, laptops, watches, televisions, cars and smart displays.
Google's Universal App Campaigns simplify your ability to promote company apps simultaneously on iOS and Android devices. Up to this point, advertisers have had to manually create campaigns for Search that were separate from Google Play.
Though it may have been launched prematurely, UAC allows marketers to formulate your text copy, images and bids, and the service promotes your app based on your objectives to increase installs or conversions. This technology increases promotional efficiency for apps, reducing acquisition costs and increasing return on investment. It also allows businesses to focus on app development with features that meet target market needs.
What to Expect and How Agencies Can Prepare for Changes with Automation
The following are insights on what agencies can expect as automation evolves, with tips on how to best prepare:
What to Expect
People have surmised for decades that robots would one day take over the world. Though automation is not taking over the world or eliminating humans in the workplace, it is inevitable that some roles within an agency are going to evolve or become obsolete as once-manual tasks are automated.
Certain tasks will require less monitoring, as computer technology will implement predetermined monitoring parameters and provide alerts. Certain tasks, like the manual tasks noted for preparing and executing digital and app campaigns, will become automated thanks to advances like Google's UAC.
It seems like we've been saying for years that the new era of digital will bring more focus on data and analytics. It is true, though, that the push toward more complete leveraging of automation capabilities will continue to intensify reliance on data and analytics. Manual data mining activities will be eliminated, as virtually all reporting will become automated. Automated reports improve depth, accuracy and usefulness of your data. They free up expert analysts to focus on interpreting reports for optimized decision-making and client satisfaction.
How to Prepare
Recognizing these inevitable enhancements to automation, it is vital that agencies break free from the "stick to what we know" mentality. Agencies must get out of "maintenance" mode and operate with a more strategic emphasis on adaptation.
Technology and best practices move quickly, so top agencies have to function proactively rather than reactively to stay ahead of trends. Your ability to do so drives much of the value that agencies offer to marketers relative to in-house teams.
Agencies must prioritize being thought leaders to keep their teams focused on innovation and fresh ideas. Divert some of the time freed up thanks to automation of once-manual tasks toward research, investigation and communication.
The more automation takes hold of marketing, the more the value of agencies is going to be determined by their ability to guide strategy for their clients. Agencies can improve personalization, for instance, with more on-point sequential messaging strategies that move customers through the buyer journey in an optimal way.
What to Expect and How Brand Marketers Can Prepare for Changes with Automation
The following are insights on what brand marketers can expect as automation evolves, with tips on how to best prepare:
What to Expect
Brand marketers can expect a lot more frustration initially in the new automation landscape. Whereas agency leaders can focus on strategy specific to marketing and adaptation, brand marketers are a piece of the bigger picture strategy within a business. It is a bit harder to dedicate time and energy to adapt, and errors are going to happen.
As an example, Google's new Added by AdWords service is going to complicate delivery of search campaigns. With this service, Google uses its data and automation capabilities to add variations of ads to your created campaign groups. The company indicates its data shows improved performance with the inclusion of such "smart" ad group enhancements. Though the long-term potential for these types of platforms is compelling, marketers attempting to adapt will face an uphill climb.
Struggling to keep up with their workload, time-strapped marketers will find it difficult to understand the "why" behind the results attained through digital campaigns. For instance, AdWords automated bidding reduces manual requirements, but it doesn't take away the importance of evaluating why the platform thought it best to raise or lower your bid on particular keywords.
How to Prepare
You can't throw your hands up and succumb to the limits on what you can control. Instead, brand marketers must mentally prepare to navigate the awkward transition phase as manual tasks shift toward more automation. Google, Facebook and Apple dominate the digital landscape, and they want more automation. Marketers have little power to get in the way.
There are things marketers can do to influence the direction of automation on these major platforms. Provide feedback on your experiences. Especially during testing stages, these companies want to learn how they can enhance their services to attract more advertisers to boost revenue.
Increased automation is good news for companies able to successfully leverage technology and best practices. Automating the "little" tasks enables a business to focus on emerging practices, innovation and strategic capabilities. In essence, it meshes with the big picture desire to develop hierarchical prioritization within an organization.
With successful automation, a business achieves greater results with less sweat equity. For more perspective on the benefits of a digital marketing agency, read How Digital Marketing Agencies Cost Less Than In-House Teams.