STRIKING THE BALANCE BETWEEN PROGRAMMATIC AND PERSUASION
UNDERSTANDING THE ART AND SCIENCE OF BOTH

By Ben Golik, Group Executive Creative Director, RAPP UK

It’s the age of the algorithm. With media spaces strewn across countless screens, we’ve never been seen in so many places.

And as Data Management Platforms make display advertising more “personal”, we’ve never had so many things to say.

Right message, right person, right place, right time. Apparently we’ve never been more “relevant”.

And yet… on one side, a bunch of machines heaves up ad messages. On the other, a bunch of machines hoists up ad blockers. And the people caught in between? This mechanised battle has cost the industry 9 million UK consumers. That’s how relevant we were to them.

DMPs and programmatic buying have spawned a monster.

The client’s budget is not necessarily any bigger. It just has to stretch a hell of a lot further.

Creative agencies are caught in a pincer movement. On one side, big data tells more about our customers. On the other, programmatic buying gives us more ways to reach them. And it’s all happening in real time.

Compare that to the creative process. The industry’s brightest locked in a weeks-long battle of wits to perfect a piece of communication. Can the new machine be fed on our high-quality diet of carefully kerned headlines and artfully retouched photographs? I believe it has to be.

While it’s true that machines offer a great opportunity for us to learn what works, it’s also true they can only optimise what we put into them. We must learn to balance the quantity of variants, with the quality of each one. Otherwise, we risk finding out what is the best-performing royalty-free stock shot, rather than which is the most powerful way to persuade. Garbage in. Garbage out.

There must be more room for humans in this machine. For stragestists, for creatives – and not least, for consumers.

The new art of programmatic is nothing without the old art of persuasion.