Hey Circle, “Is AI Going to Steal Ad Ops and Rev Ops Jobs?”

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As AI integration deepens into advertising and revenue operations, experts emphasize that human oversight remains pivotal despite enhancements to efficiency and automation in routine tasks. 

On the newest season of Netflix’s social media reality show The Circle, the hosts surprised contestants with the appearance of an AI persona, Max. On the show, producers place contestants in a room alone, and all communication occurs through screen. As they compete to be the most popular player, the show dissects how diverse communities of people interact with each other online and the bonds or divisions this can create. 

Throughout the show’s six-season run, we’ve had people play as themselves, as catfish, but we have yet to see artificial intelligence cosplay as a human being. With the surge of generative AI in mainstream culture, The Circle, which is in part a social experiment, attempts to reflect on this constantly evolving technology. 

At first, Max enters The Circle in secret, hiding behind the screen of a human profile. But the host eventually announces to contestants that they are competing with an AI player, and they are tasked with fishing them out. Viewers watched Max converse with human beings, implementing what the AI called its “human imitation strategy” in hopes that it would evade detection. The host, Michelle Buteau, astutely jokes, “Did your hair stand up on the back of your neck when he said, human imitation strategy?” 

As professionals, this scenario begs the question, how evolved is AI’s, “Human Imitation Work Strategy?” Since the meteoric rise of generative AI, some have wondered whether their jobs were at risk. Is this a reality that ad ops and rev op professionals should consider for the near future?

How Effective is AI’s Human Imitation Strategy? 

On the show, the AI Max did a good job imitating its human counterparts. Most of the contestants didn’t suspect Max because the AI’s answer seemed “genuine and human.” Most suspected Steffi, an astrology enthusiast, or Caress, who is catfishing as her younger brother Paul. 

Spoiler alert…the contestants did not catch the AI. But this is a reality competition show. How would an AI handle an ad or rev ops role? 

Ad ops and rev ops professionals leverage generative AI within ad tech for targeted customer outreach, employing its capacity to analyze vast datasets and discern intricate consumer patterns. Through machine learning, brands identify potential purchasers based on demographics and past behaviors, optimizing ad placement for efficacy. 

Moreover, generative AI facilitates personalized marketing materials by integrating user data to tailor content to individual interests, enhancing consumer engagement. Additionally, it aids in campaign evaluation by analyzing ad performance data to offer actionable insights, though human oversight remains essential in this evaluative process.

But even with all these skills, your jobs are not at risk, for the most part. Adam Hua, Co-Founder of Aeon, believes that AI will assist revenue and ad ops teams across publisher organizations but does not see AI as a threat to jobs. It is a tool to simplify tasks by creating more streamlined work productivity. 

“However, as efficiency increases, it may create higher expectations of work output,” said Hua. “In that sense, those not adopting and applying these AI-assisted tools may become casualties and be replaced by peers applying AI while reducing the risk of human error in data entry, optimization, or reporting. Ultimately, decision-making and strategy would still require human direction.” 

Furthermore, as Greg Verdino, Principal Analyst and Founder of CognitivePath Research, Inc., asserts, AI will take on various ad and rev ops tasks. Specifically, it will automate anything routine and data-intensive. This includes segmentation, campaign optimization, data analysis, and reporting. Even then, Verdino says that these tasks will still benefit from having human assistance. 

Yet, there is a caveat. While humans still need to assist with AI integration, the number of employees required may decrease. As ad ops and rev ops tasks become more efficient through AI, marketing teams may need far fewer ad ops specialists on staff. 

“In the end, this will require marketing leaders to redesign roles to put more emphasis on the ad ops and rev ops tasks that humans are more uniquely suited to — things like strategic decision-making, client management, and interpersonal relationships (including the key rev ops job of creating alignment between marketing and sales!); handling exceptions, edge cases, and crises; handling legal, compliance, and ethical issues; and of course managing and gut-checking the work done by machines,” said Verdino.

Robots in the WorkPlace…How to Prepare for Our New Artificial Friends

Whether you like it or not, AI is already in our workplaces, and we have to prepare for its further integration into every fabric of the workforce. But there are things you can do to prepare. 

Leaders must prioritize addressing job displacement by adopting a human-centric approach, emphasizing agency, autonomy, authority, and accountability. This involves reimagining job roles, workflows, and incentives. 

According to Verdino, future roles in advertising operations, revenue operations, and marketing are likely to evolve significantly. Businesses must invest in reskilling and upskilling their workforce, focusing not only on technological skills but also on soft skills like adaptability, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and resilience. This necessitates shifting towards continuous, hands-on learning experiences rather than relying solely on traditional training methods.