How is automation finding its way into your conversations?

John Hyland: This is an exciting question—and timely! Typically, media companies engage with me while addressing the challenges associated with “buying” across several channels. However, in recent months, the language has changed from “buying” to “booking.” Specifically, media companies, whether through partnership or acquisition, are bringing a multiple-brand sale to marketplaces and uncovering a new slew of operational challenges. Media automation across planning, ordering, booking, buying, reporting, and billing does not have to be bespoke. It can be strategic, organized, and even help drive sales. It is an exciting time for this topic!

Will Bolles: The biggest way that automation is finding its way into conversations today has been via the machine learning optimization tool. From both my experience as a buyer as well as what I am hearing from my clients, this tool has greatly improved campaign performance towards pre-established KPI, as it uses artificial intelligence to determine how much to bid on an impression. Make sure that you, your advertiser, and the buyer are all on the same page regarding the KPI and value before setting the campaign live. This will help manage expectations across the boards and should help lead to more campaign renewals!

Jaimie Hefelfinger: 2020 was a tough year for everyone. Unfortunately, many media companies, brands and agencies had to have layoffs to keep the businesses afloat. That’s meant doing more with less. Automation has been a saving grace. Technology frees up time for employees to do more strategic thinking. As we look ahead to 2021 and the years to come, the automation we implemented in times of need will shape how the industry will move forward. Adopting more efficient buying, reporting, billing, etc., will put the strategy back in advertising and, in turn, produce smarter, performance-driven campaigns.

Andy Bryant: The marketplace is becoming more demanding of their agency partners. Advertisers want better performance, with nimble and more involved support for services, and they are looking for strategic partners in their business (as opposed to simply needing a media vendor). To make matters more difficult, this often comes with expectations that advertisers will pay less. This puts a ton of pressure on any ad or media operations organization. They must be able to do more with less; to be more efficient in everything they do, from RFP management to performance optimization and client reporting. As a result, my partners are often looking to for ways to free up their team from time-consuming tasks to focus on driving client satisfaction, strategy, and performance. That is when automation becomes crucially important and driving business and operational efficiencies can make all the difference in the world!

Mike Scarpace: Automation is something media companies should continue to implement into their internal processes in 2021 and beyond. Having programmatic buyers utilizing automation when executing campaigns and reporting to clients allows them to work more efficiently and focus more of their time on larger media strategy conversations with account managers and sales reps. The faster media companies adopt and become more comfortable with automation, the better positioned they are for the future.