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Brian Bowman — Why user acquisition is dead and what’s coming next

Brian Bowman, the CEO of Consumer Acquisition, believes that user acquisition as we know it is dead. To be more exact, he believes Facebook and Google third-party adtech is dead, at least compared to the kind of expertise needed by human experts prior to big changes in ad platforms in 2018.

Last year, the optimization algorithms for Facebook and Google Universal App Campaigns (UAC) were dramatically improved, leveling the playing field between advertisers both large and small. Both parties automated the process of user acquisition advertising.

Above: Brian Bowman, CEO of Consumer Acquisition.

Image Credit: Danielle Mathias/VentureBeat

This technology is so much better that the advantages of third-party software-as-a-service adtech providers has significantly diminished. That means the adtech fees will drop for campaign management and the playing field will be leveled between large and small advertisers. Media buying becomes automated, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

As a result, the third-party ad services companies and user acquisition experts who want to survive have to take on creative development.

The UA experts have a chance to take on quantitative creative advertising testing, and develop competitive analysis. That’s where the humans have a chance to stay in the picture, Bowman said. The bar for survival for third-party adtech companies has gotten higher, and they have to have more creative advertising experts on hand.

Roughly 95% of ads fail, but the good news is that machines can’t create these so easily. You can’t use a generic template or machine learning. Humans must do it, Bowman said. When you get a winner, you can run with it. The challenge and opportunity is you have to have the right human handling things like concepts and variations on the concepts.

The key to success with new concept ads is to review competitor ads, focus on the emotions rather than the brand, use storytelling with characters, and read the reviews for what fans like, Bowman said. If you can find partners to figure these things out, then that’s your reason for why adtech services may not be dead.

Check out the embedded video of Bowman’s full talk at the GamesBeat Summit 2019 event in April.

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