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The human touch in programmatic

Wednesday 8th August

The 21st century has so far been an era of monumental technological advances, but above all it can be seen that these advances all had communication at their core.  Accompanying the advancement of technology has been the rise of digital media.  The role of advertising across media has also evolved.  Digital advancements and automation now means that we use technology and data at the core, to convey brands messages to the masses across digital media.  In recent times programmatic has been a key vehicle in conveying these messages to the masses.

Programmatic advertising has received some negative press in regards to tech taking over and AI in particular having difficulties in understanding human behaviour.  Advertising itself is a form of communication that attempts to influence the behaviour and provoke an emotional response of a defined target audience.

If AI is thought to have problems understanding or learning human behaviour and is the root of programmatic technology, does this mean that programmatic is truly flawed when we look at programmatic advertising trying to evoke emotional responses?

Technology is key when it comes to programmatic advertising, but the people behind the systems are even more important.  What seems to have been forgotten behind all of the ones & zeros and AI smarts, is that therein lies a human, in full control, adding that human touch.

If we believe that people sense or feel first and think and process second, then advertising based on algorithms does not have the capacity to understand human behaviour and evoke any sort of emotional response.

This is where the human touch comes into play.  If we widen our gaze to all of the work that goes in before a programmatic ad campaign is planned then the human touch travels wide and far.  The human touch can be found in the design of algorithms that AI is based on, in creative constructed to find an emotional connection, in copy written to evoke an emotional response.

Now let’s focus our gaze to activating programmatic campaigns.  Switched on programmatic planners, traders, optimisers and analysts work as a collective, to use their human touch to decipher the emotional response elicited by algorithms.

The emotional aspect of advertising has been a hot topic within the industry for some time. Emotion can be a powerful catalyst in marketer’s attempts to formulate effective advertising.  When properly used, emotions can help facilitate consumers’ understanding and acceptance of an advertising message.

If we have identified that the human touch is sown into all variables that lead to a programmatic campaign going live and its duration,  then ultimately the people behind this, and not algorithms or AI, influence emotions.  Whilst programmatic technology serves as the vessel that carries the message to a specific audience, the message itself is always fashioned humans with the view to conjure an emotional response.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the driver behind the wheel.  What makes the tech great is the human touch which intrinsically evokes emotion.

Article Written by

Duane Thompson

Head of Display & Programmatic, Total Media

Duane is Head of Display & Programmatic at Total Media. As you may have noticed, Duane bases his hair on the biblical character Samson, and has a passion for electronic music and trainers.

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