Can You Replace Your Agency With AI? Not Today


As technology advances and AI becomes more prominent in digital advertising, many brands and businesses are asking themselves whether they can replace their agency with AI. While AI has its pros and cons, it’s not quite ready to replace the human touch required to achieve success in digital advertising.

AI can bring a lot of value to your digital advertising campaigns. One of the most significant advantages of AI is its ability to increase targeting and personalization of ads. This means you can target specific segments of the population more effectively, leading to better results. With machine learning algorithms, AI can analyze massive amounts of data to provide insights that would be difficult or impossible for humans to discover. AI is usually more efficient than humans, resulting in significant time (and cost) savings.

AI can also help with ad placement and optimization, which saves you time and reduces the need for human labor, and helps better understand the effectiveness of your campaigns. This means you can fine-tune your campaigns and show better results.

When It Comes To Digital Advertising, A Human Touch Is Critical

Despite these advantages, AI cannot fully replace a human when it comes to digital advertising. For example, AI can’t replicate a creative person’s mind, meaning artwork design and other creative tasks are still best left to humans. Similarly, customers often prefer to chat with a human rather than typing into a search box, making a live person critical in customer communication.

AI may disregard privacy concerns, leading to issues such as data breaches or unwanted spam. While AI is efficient at micro-level tasks, it’s still not capable of performing macro-level tasks that require strategic thinking and planning.

For instance, AI can’t automate strategy development. It can certainly help when it comes to different pieces of strategy—such as processing analytics or A/B testing copy—but when it comes to deciding where, when and why an advertising budget should be spent, a human’s ability to discern is critical. This is one reason many marketers are feeling safer in their jobs.

One more thing AI can’t replicate? Intuition. While data scientists are working on “artificial intuition,” that solution is far from reality. The intuition of a 20-year marketer is not something any machine can replace. (Well, not yet, anyway.)

Lower Cost Doesn’t Mean Better Service

Another important consideration with AI is cost. While customers may be willing to pay a premium to talk to real humans, AI comes at a notably lower cost. But, as we all know, paying less for AI may not necessarily result in better service. AI technology is still new, and companies may need to spend time learning and trialing it, resulting in additional costs.

Privacy Issues Are A Real Concern

As AI algorithms—particularly those used in digital advertising—collect and analyze more data about individuals, there are increasing concerns about how that data is being used and protected.

In addition to security concerns, there are concerns with algorithmic bias. Unintentionally, AI algorithms can perpetuate biases in data sets, which can lead to discrimination against certain individuals or groups. If AI is being used, this needs to be addressed so steps can be taken to mitigate this risk.

Companies need to take these AI-related privacy concerns seriously and address them proactively. (And it’s definitely worth a discussion with your current agency to make sure they’re addressing these potential issues, as well.)

While AI has its advantages and definitely has its place, it’s not ready to replace humans in digital advertising. The creativity and strategic thinking that people bring to the table are still critical. For now, agencies and AI must work together to best manage digital advertising campaigns. There is no silver bullet, and to the relief of digital marketers everywhere, there’s still a long way to go before AI replaces people in the digital advertising industry.

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