Will A Robot Replace You?

It was father’s day yesterday. I sat down with my father and spoke for a few hours on various subjects. We briefly discussed a topic that reminded me of something I learnt way back in college. It’s a concept from physics. I was actually quite awful at physics so I apologize in advance if my interpretation is incorrect. But here it goes anyway.

In physics, “work” happens when a force is applied to an object such that it moves from A to B. If you exert the force, but the object doesn’t move, the work done is zero.

In regular life, we don’t think of work the same way. But I think we should. If our actions aren’t bringing about a change or a result, I’d like to think that the work done is zero. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, or how many hours you put in, because as long as you couldn’t move the needle, the work comes down to zero.

I feel that in normal life work should be measured as Force x Displacement and we should move away from our current definition of work as only force. In addition, we should make our best effort in order to have maximum displacement for the force we put in. If employee A works longer hours than employee B, but delivers the same value in the end, it may seem that A worked more, but in my opinion, they worked just as much as they pushed the object just as much. Here’s an interesting case-study.

Savannah Sanchez, a Facebook marketer, did an interesting video that I don’t completely agree with, but I find it interesting to share here today. Her thesis is that Facebook’s AI has gotten so advanced, that a human marketer working over 10 hours a week on an ad account was able to deliver just about the same ROAS that another ad account delivered which wasn’t touched at all during same period and was only optimized by Facebook’s algorithm. If you want to watch the video at the exact time, you can do so here. Or you could watch the full video below

The reason why I shared this here is because when a robot can deliver the same value, your working hours i-e force is worthless. It’s the displacement that counts, and if a robot can do that better than you, you’ll be replaced. Although, I don’t think that time has come yet but I know it isn’t far.

I’ve used Facebook as a marketing tool for about 10 years now, and to think that there’s no more human tweaking possible on Facebook any longer is an alien concept to me. 10 years ago, you could do a thousand tweaks and the system would play along. Now, it’s increasingly harder but I feel expert marketers i-e a small percentage of all marketers could still do better than the system. In a few more years though, I wouldn’t be surprised if that number shrinks to a mere fraction.

What Is Ad Blindness & How To Deal With It

As the consumers continue to get forced to see ads on all platforms, they subconsciously or consciously stop seeing them. They learn to spot where the ads are and what the ads are and show no interest in interacting with them.

As early as in my childhood, we would often switch channels as soon as the ads came. In hindsight we couldn’t have seen anything more meaningful in those 5 minutes on a different channel, we just liked avoiding ads.

On Youtube, we’re all hoping to click the skip ad before the button is even there. I have actually spent sometime looking into a way to block YouTube ads or a script that could skip ad before the skip button.

On Facebook, where we spend most of our ad money, the ads that look like ads have constantly been under a decline. Instead the ads that look like native content do not just perform better, but are also rewarded by Facebook by lower advertising costs.

If you advertise on Facebook/Instagram and unable to get results, it’s likely the creatives. The single biggest driver of your results are your creatives and your audiences are showing blindness to the ad-content just as the humans have continued to do ever since the advent of advertising.

If you have not already moved to UGC (user generated content), you immediately should. The reason why the whole world goes bananas about the influencers is because the ads fit in natively. The best part about UGCs is that not only you’re going to make more money with your ads, the creative costs will also go down significantly as you can now shoot your ads with iPhone and a couple of creators.