Learning from 1 000 talks with representatives all over the media industry: if you had excellent sales but your ad ops operations were lackluster, say goodbye to your yields.
Advertising inventory is one of the most precious assets that a digital publisher owns. It’s one of the main streams of money, after all. Other promotional activities are still small fries in advertising when it comes to revenue generated and their popularity. And that’s not even mentioning paywalls – only 5% of digital publishers use them, according to Yieldbird’s research.
Yet, as Yieldbird’s Publishing Survey found, advertising is still the main source of income for digital publishers.
Because of this, it’s not an exaggeration when we say ad inventory is a sea of oysters that delivers genuine pearls. And that’s why it must be taken care of intelligently.
Trust me, ‘publishers listener’ is my second name
My job is to reach publishers how to recognize potential areas of cooperation and transfer that potential lead to the right person within my organization. Almost every day I have calls with publishers all around the world. Sometimes even two or three a day. This has been my life for two years already.
I have spent hours upon hours talking to publishers, trying to understand them. And for each conversation, I’ve spent a ton of time preparing and noticing a few common regularities between them.
Small things result in big effects. In ad ops too
Online media companies aren’t often aware that the quality of their ad operations directly affects their yield. Naturally each individual I conversed with would agree that ad ops is important. But I want to make it very clear:
Guys, ad ops is much more than important. It’s essential. If you’re lacking excellence in that field, you are leaving money on the table.
Even if you distribute your advertising placements through direct sales only, you are either a solely programmatic-oriented publisher or you go for a mix. You need someone who knows not only the most cutting edge techniques, but who can also predict the business results of each action.
Put simply, the quality of a publisher’s ad ops management directly affects their yield.
What if a scheduled campaign couldn’t start because of some technical issues? They occur pretty frequently, don’t they (especially if SSP and DSP are by different providers)? Or if you had a campaign for 2 USD CPM and 0,5 CPM and they’d run on the same placements in turns? The 1 USD CPM isn’t as good as 2 USD CPM, now is it?
This job, more than most, becomes more and more complicated with every month.
As Raef Godwinn, PGATOURS.com’s Vice President of Revenue Operations, told IAB once: “It’s akin to going from driving a prop plane to driving a modern jet. Effectively, you’re still doing the same thing. The pilot is still flying, and we’re still delivering advertising for our brand advertisers and our partners. But the complexities are night and day.”
Ad ops quality relies on proactivity
An ad ops specialist is responsible for the upright management of a publisher’s inventory and not letting it go to waste.
This means proactivity.
For example, let’s take a look at an issue with low CTR’s. In CPM campaigns, an advertiser will require improvements. In the CPC model, too many page views will be needed to get the right number of clicks. Which might just be a waste of inventory. It can’t be used for another campaign.
What does an upright ad ops specialist do? They verify websites and placements and goes to her/his colleague from a client service department along with a list of changes to be made. Then a brand representative is contacted and asked to accept the improvements.
This should happens before an account or client realizes that a campaign is not performing as well as it could be. The ad ops specialist is the first to know these granular insights.
Surprisingly often, this is only take as theory. Inventory supervision is done only when ad advertisers come by with a beef that the delivered results are low, or when someone in management reviews growth opportunities.
Programmatic advertising is complex
To keep up the pace with ad tech, you need to put in some effort. So must ad ops specialists.
There is numerous platforms and applications: SSP’s, DSP’s DMP’s, ad exchanges, ad servers. Some providers combine them into one, some don’t. Some of them can be integrated, some can’t.
Anyone who manage your ad ops needs to feel that in their very fingertips in order to build an efficient ad stack. In what order should you put platforms in a waterfall model? How do you take down DoubleClick AdX with header bidding? What is needed to kick off with dynamic allocation… The list questions like this is nearly endless.
And there are more trivial aspects that can often become the elephant in the room. Individuals who execute daily ad operations need to flexibly switch between handled platforms. Publishers never admit that out loud, but their employees don’t always know all the features of each platform from their own ad stack.
Ad Ops + Yield Management = …
The importance of proper yield management for digital publishers is on the rise. With help from professionals, revenues can be increased by 30 per cent or even more.
But yield analysts without ad ops specialists are blind and deaf. They need data to see how to tweak a publisher’s inventory, they need an operator to implement their improvements (one who understands what she/he is doing) and give them appropriate feedback. They need partners in what they do.
When talking to publishers, it turns out their ad ops are ready to become one. But when we start working, problems start to pop up… Which results in delays in boosting monetization.
So if you want to pimp your financial statement, invest in the quality of your ad ops. It will pay off.
Don’t let your jet to be delayed. Just fly high.