It’s the trillion dollar question on everyone’s mind, “Are jobs going to be created or destroyed by automation?” The simple answer is that both will happen, but it’s the balance of jobs created versus the jobs that will be lost that is key for us and future generations. Predictions from analysts vary wildly here, with some trusted publications estimating 400 million net jobs lost globally over the next 50 years while others expect a completely proportional balance between the two. The truth is, no one really knows. When this is the case, we should look to history to provide an indication of what we could expect.
What we’ve seen from previous developments in technology, as far back as the first introduction of machines within agriculture to the rise of computers in the 1970s is that job creation has outweighed job loss. Yes, fewer farmers were required to break their backs on vast acres of croplands, while typographer jobs really bit the dust from the 1990s, but conversely, major spikes in jobs occurred in the professional service sector, education, healthcare and countless other industries as we developed new skills and explored creative ways to enhance our lives. Labor-intensive and physically-draining jobs were replaced with occupations that required us to leverage and develop tech.
The skills required for jobs of the future are evolving at a fast rate and it’s crucial that we do more to prepare ourselves and our employees for what the job market could look like in 5, 10, 20 years. Skills involving coding are becoming increasingly sought after, and generally, any method of talking to tech is necessary. Looking close to home, the role of Paid Search specialists on our team has changed and is continuing to evolve as automation in campaign execution takes center stage.
As an example, the optimization of Paid Search campaigns was the most time-consuming aspect of our team’s job. Now, optimization isn’t about changing bids anymore for us, it’s more about investigating and innovating in search. We can leave the bid management and ad testing part of optimization to the machine and be comfortable that we still have a purpose and a need for us and our skillset. For now, we can take responsibility for finding creative solutions to our paid search accounts and that requires a smart human to understand how to leverage a smart machine.
There is still strategy around how to leverage the tech too. This is critical especially during this transformative stage where we are handing over some of our responsibilities. An automated bid strategy in a Paid Search account, which changes keyword bids based on a target that we set for keywords, can’t just be set and left alone. We need to monitor it, test what is working and how the platform is most effective in meeting our goals and feeding it all of the data that it needs to be successful. That’s on us, our people.
What this all means is that for paid media practitioners there is less control over the execution of our accounts and this hasn’t been a comfortable mindset shift for most. We hated it at first… I hated it! But we got over it, and the next time the machine took control and responsibilities away from us, we embraced it. I see other paid media evangelists keep calling out Google when they remove some manual management features and replace them with “trust Google we’ll do it for you” button. The message to our teams has been clear: Let’s help our tech partners take control and reduce the reliance on manual management. Then we can get to where we need to be quicker. We will be able to focus our time and energy on strategy and tactics, rather than execution.
Naturally, you need to be able to trust your tech partners and this trust comes about by experiencing first hand (through testing) that automated solutions can deliver better results than humans. So don’t take our word for it, be diligent in your process in finding the right solutions for you, and test them to ensure that they live up to expectations. Be wary that it can require patience and some instability in the short term, but what you should eventually find is a combination of resourcing and performance efficiencies that will allow you to scale your business faster than ever before.