SaaS – When It Makes Sense and When It’s Nonsense!
It’s 2017, and the times they are a-changin’. This is neither a good nor a bad thing – it’s just the natural course of all things in life. Take the introduction of driverless cars, for instance, and consider why the need for self-driving vehicles was naturally driven (no pun intended) to fruition. The advent of cars was a necessity for a variety of obvious reasons, but just like with any other mode of transportation, this invention maneuvered on a congested road full of possibilities for human error. Fact is, humans are distracted, inconsistent, multitasking…humans. And this doesn’t coexist well with driving. Back to the drawing board.
Now, picture a world where all cars are self-driving, and then imagine a Back to the Future scenario where someone driving their car from the past wheels into the future’s harmonious and accident-free rhythm. BAM! To the point, we humans are the ones initiating ideas for guiding machines in the direction of our strategic objectives. And ideally, our decisions align with the right tech, at the right time.
The world of advertising and marketing, we can all agree, is an amalgam of human abilities (smarts, experience, strategies, creativity, etc.) and the right technology to carry out the goals we humans set forth – at incredible speed and volume. And the need for right tech, by the way, is also entirely dictated by our needs. Consider the struggles Media Planners faced not too long ago: deciding whether or not to serve an ad to a particular person, applying arbitrary frequency caps, guesstimating user whereabouts on the web, applying generic statements to entire audiences, the list goes on. The process was downright maddening! And it’s why we enlisted the help of machines and powerful programmatic technologies.
The full-on adoption of programmatic advertising and marketing, or the tech advertisers and marketers are increasingly adopting to automate the process of buying digital media inventory, is still seen as a challenge for some. You see, many programmatic users are making their own (human) media buying decisions, thereby treating automation, really the core of programmatic, in such a way that actually works to inhibit the power of its super-human abilities to make super-fast media buying decisions.
Ask yourself, “Is it worthwhile to attempt and figure out the best ads to serve to over 2,000 plus sites?” “Is it really effective to control frequency capping?” In reality, let’s just admit machines do a significantly better job at all of this and move on to what we the humans do best: delegate, communicate, strategize, negotiate – you get the point. It’s we the humans who use our far-from-artificial intelligence to build and then work with the likes of technologies like Software as a Service (SaaS).
Moreover, if your team is a collaborative bunch, or if your advertising and marketing initiatives involve the sharing and/or collaboration of information, or data, for any strategic reason, then utilizing the advent of transparent SaaS technologies makes even more sense. It’s what SaaS was built for. The advent of open data sharing systems, for instance, was designed specifically for users to share their audience data with other partners of choice, enabling a transparent, relevant, scalable environment for dynamic digital advertising.
There’s no such thing as Programmatic as a Service (PaaS) for an ample supply of logical reasons, never mind what the acronym alone reads. Think of programmatic as its own supernatural component of digital advertising, or an element of SaaS. While SaaS can’t do its job without the human touch, programmatic technology absolutely can. Imagine processing all the data points involved in making the right digital ad buying decisions; targeting the right person, the right message, at the right time, and at the right place. In today’s day and age, you’d need thousands and thousands of people committed to the job, and all for just a single campaign!
Stressing the point, we advertisers and marketers need programmatic tech – and we need it for speed, scale, and its artificial intelligence in media buying, including frequency capping, bid management, etc. We can’t achieve these elements as humans. In contrast, we the advertisers and marketers need SaaS to succeed in nearly all other aspects of marketing. We can’t adequately partake in an open data marketplace without the human ability to vet, choose, collaborate with relevant data partners, effectively govern our data with full control, and ultimately foster those relationships. Nor can technology alone structure all the particulars of what becomes a successful campaign.
In the end, it’s a hybrid of humaning. It’s the real and undeniable need for both SaaS and programmatic, depending, of course, on what you’re trying to accomplish.