‘Don’t set it and forget it’: Artificial intelligence’s role in media buying is taking shape

Digiday 16 Jan 2020 05:01

The reality of artificial intelligence’s role in media buying may be turning out very different from the dream.

Automation and AI could be used, so the theory went, for forecasting, analyzing data and ultimately improving campaign performance, so that marketers could change and reallocate budgets quickly. But despite advancements being made, AI’s adoption for media buying is ending up with slightly different use cases.

“The AI is there,” said Jason Harrison, CEO of North America for WPP’s Essence. “You’re just not seeing it in the ways you would have expected.”

The expectation was that AI’s use for media buying — otherwise known as automated decision-making — would enable machines to tap data about specific audiences so as to create automated campaigns across different digital channels. And this would enable agencies to stop worrying about the minute details of media planning and buying so they could instead spend more time on strategic work and insight delivery for their clients. But so far, that hasn’t been the case, as AI has led media buyers, as previously reported by Digiday, to spend added time on campaign reporting and the more difficult aspects of the job.

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