Media Planners and Buyers will be replaced by AI

It’s inevitable that someday (very) soon, media planning and buying jobs will disappear from the marketing landscape as Artificial Intelligence software, like Adgorithms’ Albert™, become the de facto method for ad campaigns.

The 3 main reasons this will happen is:

  1. Infinite scalability – hiring and training people to handle increased client-load is expensive, adding a new campaign dashboard to a software suite isn’t.
  2. Brand’s can take media buying in-house without building out a full team. There will, however, be big problems with this.
  3. Brands want more transparency in the media supply-chain and AI can give that to them. Opaque agency business models will be decimated along with the fat margins they currently provide.

As reported in Digiday, Dole (the largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables) recently “used Albert for a full digital campaign that included display, banners and Facebook images and video.” The results were an “87 percent in increase in sales versus the prior year” according to Ashvin Subramanyam, vp of marketing and innovation at Dole Asia.

This is, of course, a scary scenario for media agency buyers and owners, and though it will mean a job change for many people, it presents some incredible opportunities:

  1. AI will give campaign managers more insights and performance advantages than we can currently imagine. There are many extremely talented planners, buyers, and data scientists working in paid media, but I believe that the full scope of an automated, machine learning AI like this is not something we can entirely comprehend yet.
  2. AI will present opportunities for brands and agencies to work closer than ever before. Brands will likely be inclined to bring this AI in-house and drop their media agency, however, I believe that this would be a mistake if it is done carte blanche. Yes, many media agency relationships would (and should) be severed, but for agencies who can continue to bring strategic insights to the campaign planning process there exists an opportunity to deepen client relations in the absence of the “black-box” media buying that currently takes place.

Rapid progression in technology should not come as a surprise to anyone working in digital marketing. In fact, it should be embraced and those of us who lead the change will win.