Women in digital on data, AI and programmatic
In light of International Women's Day and the recent IAB Digital Summit, which had a notable line-up of women in digital in this notoriously male-dominated sector, I thought I'd interview Sturae Hickley, ad operations manager at Mark1, who was a panellist at the Summit, where she, along with other women in digital, discussed data, AI and how they're using programmatic to manipulate us.
“Today’s lineup of females blazing trails in our industry and the men who support them is proof that we are maybe slowly, but certainly surely championing diversity in digital,” said Josephine Buys.
This year, the Summit theme was around data and disruption in future-proofing digital marketing. Hickley believes that it is always important to evaluate where the industry is at, and these types of discussions allow for this and best practices. It keeps us abreast with the conversations happening within the industry, she says.
Here, she shares some effective ways for marketers to leverage data and talks about the impact AI will have on the industry and our day-to-day lives in general…
How did you feel about speaking at the Summit this year?
I felt so many emotions: super nervous, excited, honoured and overwhelmed. It was an opportunity I didn’t take lightly and a huge privilege to be sharing a stage with big names in our industry.
What is your opinion of programmatic?
Programmatic is such a powerful form of advertising with data at the core of it. Audience data allows for more accurate targeting, ensuring that we reach the right audience at the right time, on the right device with the relevant message. Users have become desensitised to advertising, that is why as marketers it is imperative that we get this data thing right.
What has been your experience as a woman working in this male-dominated space?
Truth be told, it is tough most of the time, even more so as a woman of colour. You need to have thick skin, and just continue with the good fight, because you are paving the way for young women coming after you and because of this it’s worth it. It would not be fair if I don’t mention that there are men that respect your voice, just as much as the other men in the room.
Where do you see AI in a few years and what impact do you expect it to have?
AI has made itself known, loud and clear. We’re made aware of robot dogs, self-driving cars and a robot citizen. If this doesn’t make a statement nothing else would. It is here to stay and will only improve as time goes on. The industry has already started benefiting from AI with machine learning and automation becoming more prominent. AI is here to make things even more convenient for us, whether it’s going to take over our jobs is definitely a factor we would need to consider and probably get used to.
What are some data trends you’ve seen play out over the last year?
There are so many data trends to talk about, such as blockchain, ads.txt, GDPR, etc. I think the one that would be most prominent this year and moving forward is the official introduction of GDPR in the EU in May 2018. This is similar to the PoPI Act in South Africa, which goes into effect in the next couple of months.
What does this mean for marketers?
As marketers, we are going to have to be extra careful and vigilant when it comes to users’ personal information. We would need to ensure that measures are in place to keep data safe, as well as be transparent about how we are using the data.