The Machines are Learning: The Senior Marketer’s Developing Role in PPC
The machines are coming!
Don’t worry too much, we aren’t predicting some sort of robot led, Terminator style apocalypse.
But it is a serious question. What does happen when machines get better at doing a job over a human?
History has already shown us that it is possible for technology to strip many labour-based jobs out of the market, replacing them with machines that don’t need to be paid, don’t need sleep and don’t complain.
With this in mind, many are concerned that machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to another wave of job losses, but this time even knowledge-based jobs may be under threat. Given our speciality in this area, we ask whether machine learning marketing will have a negative impact on the role of senior marketers in the PPC space.
How will Machine Learning Work With PPC?
For those that aren’t 100% familiar with the term, put simply machine learning is:
“Machine Learning is the science of getting computers to learn and act like humans do, and improve their learning over time in autonomous fashion, by feeding them data and information in the form of observations and real-world interactions.” Techemergence.com
Its application is set to change the way we all live and work forever. Practically in the PPC space we have already seen machine learning adopted in large part across a variety of platforms and with a number of applications. For example:
Google Smart Bidding: A subset of automated bid strategies that uses machine learning to optimise for conversion or conversion value in each and every auction.
Smart Display Campaigns: Uses the power of Google’s machine learning to automatically connect your business to prospective customers who are likely to be interested in your products using app and site data, creates high-impact ads to attract them and sets the right bids to meet performance goals.
In-Market Audiences: Uses machine learning as a way to connect with consumers that are actively researching or comparing products and services similar to yours across the Google Display Network publisher, partner sites and YouTube.
Kenshoo: Uses machine learning across multiple media platforms to ensure the best results and insights for your PPC campaigns.
Adscale: Uses machine learning technology to automatically boost the performance on PPC accounts such as allocating budget.
We can see that many of the tasks that previously would have been undertaken by senior marketers are now being dealt with by the platforms they use to run their PPC campaigns. For example, both Kenshoo and Adscale are tools we use on multiple PPC accounts to increase efficiency and ensure optimal performance. This saves a lot of time optimising PPC campaigns, which is going to mean that the senior marketers role in PPC may change, we will explore these changes below.
More Focus on Strategic Leadership
With many of the process-based tasks in PPC being ‘taken over by the machines’, we are likely to see a shift of the role of senior marketers into substantially more strategic positions. Although senior marketers are likely already strategic in their role. The role of strategy is going to become more important as the tactical playing field is levelled via machine learning marketing and AI in marketing.
Take for example businesses that currently enjoy a competitive edge due to the level of understanding of the tactics of PPC; clever bidding strategies, ability to create engaging ads, deeper insights into audiences. The widespread adoption of machine learning marketing is already making this type of insight easily accessible to the majority of businesses.
Therefore, strategic roles, telling the machines what to do in terms of setting smarter objectives will be the new forefront of competitive edge for these businesses. Marketers will also need to work strategically to understand what data is best to ‘feed the machines’, the quality of this data will ultimately increase the quality of results.
Not only will machine learning marketing force a shift of senior marketers towards strategy, but it will enable it also. As more of the process and research-based tasks are adopted by the ‘machines’ it will free up time and resources for marketers to focus on the bigger picture.
Increased Importance on Monitoring & Tweaking
Alongside strategic leadership, marketers will also see an increased importance in the monitoring, reporting and tweaking of PPC campaigns. This will be especially true in the early days, whilst the machines are still learning.
As so many external factors have a huge impact on the success of PPC campaigns; market conditions, demand to reach audiences, competitor marketing budgets, consumer habits etc. A human element will still be required to monitor campaigns, notice any external impacts and tweak the overarching strategy to ensure continued business success.
Although, machine learning will lead to the smarter pursuit of marketing objectives, the constant adaption, review and reformulation of those objectives is what will help businesses gain real success in a machine learning led world.
Are Machines a Real Threat?
So, is machine learning marketing a real threat to the senior marketers when it comes to PPC?
On the one hand, no it is not, but we will certainly see a shift from a combined strategic and tactical role to a major focus on the overarching strategy of campaigns. Those marketers that can rapidly adapt and get a hold of the bigger picture will likely thrive in the new market.
Machine learning and AI in marketing will facilitate efficiency in the PPC space and for those businesses that grab hold of the technology with both hands will see early opportunities for substantial growth. However, as more businesses catch onto the tech we will see the playing field level off substantially, leading to the most strategic thinkers seeing the long-term wins.
This unprecedented level of efficiency in PPC platforms though, will likely threaten some lower level, process led roles in the marketing space. As a senior marketing leader, it is our responsibility to nurture junior marketers and prepare them for this eventuality via mentoring and education.
Given the increased importance placed on strategy, for those ready for change we are likely to see teams of ‘junior strategists’ across businesses working with senior marketers to understand the landscape and develop a competitive edge. Therefore, having an increased focus on strategy and letting the ‘machines’ take care of time-consuming PPC optimisation.
Clearly businesses who execute PPC campaigns are going to see a huge change in the way their jobs are carried out in the coming years. For senior marketers this shouldn’t be seen as a threat, but as an opportunity to move into strategy-based roles and increase the prosperity of their business.
To learn more about how machine learning is already being used to optimise PPC campaigns, have a look at programmatic advertising on our website and how we use it to drive success. Keep watching this space for more articles on this topic!