Janice Williams is Head of Digital Advertising Operations for Adspace24, where she heads up an experienced team of 11 (soon to be 13) dedicated to optimising ad efficacy. In their quest for ultimate ad operations, the team draws on skill, experience and, of course, technology.
Williams’ naturally inquisitive mind and passion for all things tech are critical in a rapidly changing industry. Her team, probably the largest group dedicated to ad operations for a publisher in South Africa, are versed in marketing knowledge that extends far beyond ad operations.
“From coding skills and the ability to troubleshoot a website page, dealing with client’s tags, to working across multiple platforms – including Google Ad Manager, Display and Video 360, Campaign Manager, and Google Ad Words – staying up to the minute requires constant training,” she says.
The team is also always on the lookout for new products within the sector, in order to get the best out of ad campaigns. The most recent new additions are DoubleVerify and Lotame, which Adpsace24 onboarded last year.
Double checking the data
The first, DoubleVerify, double checks the accuracy of viewability data provided by Google Ad Manager, which measures viewability through Google Active View. (According to the IAB, a banner needs to be viewable for one second, while a video banner needs to be viewable for two-seconds in order to count as a viewable impression, ruling out bots and people who scroll down too quickly to see the ad.)
Clients and agencies understandably want to know just how reliable this data is, says Williams, and so DoubleVerify “measures all the little things that maybe Google Active View can’t – so we can see what percentage of ‘views’ are bots or ad fraud, and how the viewability measures up against our Google stats.”
Using DoubleVerify also gives the team additional means with which to check brand safety or suitability. “A client will have an exclusion list which they send to us, and we then ensure that all the keywords that we place in a campaign exclude ‘crime and violence’ type of articles, to ensure that a client’s banner doesn’t end up there,” says Williams. “This is very much a collaboration with client. We make sure that URLs that come up in DoubleVerify are suitable for placing an ad.”
DoubleVerify also checks the insights collected (such as click-through rates, best time of day or week for posts, which creative works best, and so on). These are used to optimise ongoing and future campaigns.
“We are the only publisher – as far as I know – to make sure that our data is brand safe and determine viewability, by double checking Google measurements,” says Williams.
When the cookie crumbles
The onboarding of Lotame anticipates the inevitable demise of the cookie. This data management platform (DMP) uses machine learning algorithms, collecting behavioural data and keywords to build probabilistic audiences – so that when the cookie eventually falls away, Adspace24 can still effectively build and target the right behavioural audiences for a given campaign. By creating audiences for customised marketing, Adspace24 can launch remarketing campaign geared towards high engagement.
Keeping up with Google
Williams and her team also keep an eagle eye on changes within Google Ad Manager, which frequently introduces products and opportunities.
It’s a team effort, says Williams. “We are always looking at what will drive our campaigns, and for tools that ensure that we are one step ahead of other publishers,” she says.
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