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The Marketing Gloves are Off – Humans vs. Machines

11 October 2017
Humans Vs Machines | Neon

There is a loud buzz ringside in the audience this evening, fuelled by the speculations and theories that machines will soon take over our jobs.

A mere Google search brings up around 33,100,000 results for the phrase “will machines take over our jobs,” the first article optimistically titled ‘Robots will destroy our jobs.’

Robot Gif - Humans Vs Machines | Neon

This alarm has rung particularly strong amongst marketers and advertisers in the world, particularly with the likes of IBM Watson and machine learning technology changing the way marketing works. So just how much can machines claim in the digital world?

Ladies and gentleman of the marketing sphere, in this article we bring you 3 rounds of man vs. machine, to settle the score on what has transcended into the fight of the year.


Can a machine research and plan a strategy as well as a human?

The first round is a cagey one, owed to the continuous advancements in artificial intelligence that only increase machine understanding of research and strategy. Machine learning isn’t quite there just yet, though, as the first point goes to humans.

To put together a strategy and look into the best channels to advertise on requires a human touch. Carrying out tasks such as competitor analysis, looking at pricing models, going through the search results to see how competitor ads are indexed, what extensions are being capitalised on and so on needs a person to truly digest and understand these elements of marketing. There are advertising rules and regulations to consider, best practise guidelines and many more that need to be accounted for.

Although there are numerous tools that can assist with research, such as keyword research tools and competitor analysis tools (to find out what competitors are bidding on), the upper hand goes to humans – as man can assess the risks involved.


Can a machine identify opportunities faster than humans?

Who has the fastest hand speed and lighter footwork? The second round goes to the machines, who are programmed to understand and identify data-sets quicker than humans.

Humans can simply not compete with the short amount of time it takes machines to identify and interpret results. Although both humans and machines can analyse a large amount of data to identify opportunities, machines simply have the upper hand by running the analysis in a much more time-effective manner.


Can a machine create ad copy?

This is a slightly trickier round. Machines can be used to automate ad-copy and respond quickly to external stimuli to increase the relevance of ads, as tools such as mporium IMPACT demonstrate. Automating ad-copy and feeding it to SERPs and social media timelines mean marketers can reach audiences in the peak-time interest and be one step ahead of teams that have to manually change their ads. However…

Humans manage to just snag this round. Several different factors go into writing effective ad copy, including keyword research, best practice knowledge and understanding of influencing elements such as voucher codes and products. While machines can be used to automate how your ads are served, the copy itself and backbone behind this is completed by humans.

Check out our blog article ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Effective PPC Ad Copy’ for more helpful ad copy tips.

With so many automated rules working effectively, will I be out of a job?

Machines are generating great results and are in fact reducing the workload, consequently minimising the hours involved in analysing large amounts of data, whilst finding the optimal bids in real-time for a more cost-effective strategy to achieve a higher return on investment.

A look at our article ‘Google AdWords Report Automation Using AWQL’ can help highlight how powerful and effective automated scripts are. Despite this, machines aren’t quite ready to replace the human touch in marketing. Rather than fearing an “I, Robot” scenario dawning on your office, humans simply need to accept the help machines offer to the industry. Reducing workload and hours is in fact a positive for workers around the world and, without the input and understanding from humans, machines simply cannot function.


It’s an extremely close call, as both human and machines bring unparalleled benefits and plus points to the marketing sphere. What machines lack, humans excel at and vice versa. Embracing machine learning can save marketers time and money and, most importantly, deliver great results based on the data machines can digest.

Human’s don’t need to throw in the towel or hang the gloves up just yet…

How prominent of a role do you see machines in your future marketing strategy? Let us know your thoughts on this topical matter by Tweeting us @createdbyneon.

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