As technology and data shape the next wave of digital media buying, the need to approach the entire process from a statistical mindset is growing in importance. In the not too distant future it won’t be surprising for a day in the life of a digital media buyer (or trader should I say?!) working on a response brief at a typical agency to involve monitoring campaigns on multiple trading systems whilst working with a team of analysts, crunching campaign data using analysis packages such as R.
Google Chief Economist Hal Varian in an interview for The McKinsey Quarterly earlier in the year mentioned that statisticians will be the sexy job in the next ten years and with Numbers pulling in prime time audiences on TV it certainly seems that he's not too far from the truth. This could happen a lot faster in the quickly evolving media buying industry and gazing into a crystal ball reveals that skill sets will also need to also evolve to keep pace with the technology infrastructure that is powering the industry. Gone will be the Head of Trading whose lunch ability knows no bounds to be replaced by the Head of Data whose skill and value will be in interpreting the vast amounts of data that agencies will be generating through their trading platforms, and developing meaningful insights from this. Think of it as being more Wall Street (minus the suits of course!) than Mad Men. All in all, a combination not just of statistical techniques but also marketing know-how will be an integral part of the new agency product. It doesn't take a huge amount of insight to spot the increasing importance of data but what does it mean on a practical level for your average digital media agency? Using statistical techniques to help analyse and optimise campaigns has multiple benefits ranging from improved ROI for advertisers through to greater operational efficiency for media agencies. In short it's in everyones interest.
Infectious, as a 'new breed' agency has been built around this core belief. Our underlying infrastructure, skillsets and services are designed to get the most from this new world. It will be interesting to see how quickly the wider agency community embraces this shift.