Those in the digital advertising game know that the backbone of their business is managed by the advertising operations team. Not only does the integral ‘ad ops’ team manage and support the sale and delivery of online advertising across publishing portals, they also serve as the information hub within a company. They ensure that the process and software systems that sell, input, serve, target and report on the performance of online ads all operate smoothly.
We sat with Ross Mason, ad ops manager at Habari Media, head of the team that recently won Best LinkedIn ad 0perations team in EMEA and LATHAM for 2014, and asked him what it takes to be a world class ad ops team, and asked him to outline some of the key trends emerging in this space.
Q: What does it take to produce a world class ad ops team?
Ad ops should be viewed as the key cornerstone to ensuring repeat business and excellent client service. At Habari Media we operate very much within a teamwork environment; this approach ensures that we are always on top of campaigns and are able to help each other manage workload spikes across multiple platforms through the various agencies.
Ad ops is a complex interactive landscape, therefore platform knowledge is critical. As the complexity of digital media buying and management continues to increase, the importance of ad operations grows exponentially larger. We pride ourselves on having a deep knowledge of a number of systems and being abreast of industry standards and benchmarks.
Finally, working effectively is critical. We understand that what all clients want to achieve from their campaigns is that the performance achieved is in line with the goals outlined in the initial objectives. Effective campaign optimisation from ad ops starts with the understanding of campaign objectives, as well as knowledge of what works best for specific platforms. It is crucial that we take insights from other platforms to ensure performance boundaries are continuously being pushed with the best possible results and fulfil the ultimate goal.
Q: What are your top three must do’s for ad Ops
Communication – first and foremost: From the initial conversations before campaigns are signed off with client, to going live and sending screenshots of daily communication, to end reports and everything in-between. It is critical that people who work in the ad ops industry communicate effectively with their clients.
Optimisations: With performance being the initial indicator to ensure we are constantly evaluating optimisations. This is the crucial key to success. The level at which this is done sets the bar across the industry.
Reports: Reporting is the tangible aspect that allows clients to see actual performance. This needs to be simple to understand and self-explanatory to ensure that either weekly updated reports or campaign end reports with post analysis analytics drives future spend.
Q: You mentioned the ad ops landscape as being a dynamic one. What changes are currently taking place?
The big change in the market is that performance now commands a primary focus instead of delivery, as it has been in the past. Delivery is secondary but still an absolute must.
The performance of the delivery, specifically related to the click-through rate (CTR) which ultimately shows the consumer engagement rate, is the key indicator to future and continued spend.
Performance is ultimately how well you deliver on what was booked by the client. How well the total campaign delivery is achieved at the end of the campaign defines the quality of the performance. Was the delivery evenly spread over the specific time frame required to deliver in full? Were the better performing creative allocated the majority of the inventory/impressions to achieve the best possible Click-through rate (CTR) and in turn ensuring the best engagement rate for the users/consumers and ultimately the client?
Q: What are the challenges facing ad ops teams?
Client service is the key differentiator from an operational point of view. Where there are competing platforms which both provide similar online audiences, the delivery of client service from initial campaign setup to daily communication to post campaign reporting is where the difference is made. The challenge for any Ad ops team is to ensure the client service bar is kept high. The quality consistency at which ad ops is done separates otherwise equal site/platforms from each other.
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