Ad Ops – also known as Digital Ad Operations – refers to systems and processes that support digital advertisements’ delivery and management. The concept describes any process that helps a marketing team manage, run, or optimize ad campaigns, making them an integrating part of the business operations.
Understanding Ad Ops
Ad Ops is a somewhat generic term describing any process that helps a marketing team manage, run, or optimize ad campaigns. Traditionally, this process was very simple. But many consumers now interact with brands in a multi-screen digital world with attention split between desktops, smartphones, and tablets.
Each of these devices provides a different user experience, displaying advertisements through banners, video, text, search, and mobile to name a few. Marketing teams must be able to interact with various platforms including ad networks, ad servers, ad exchanges, supply-side platforms (SSPs), and data management platforms (DMPs). Ultimately, each campaign must respect the device it is being displayed on while maximizing ad revenue for the company.
As demands increase, Ads Ops teams are utilizing new trends such as programmatic advertising, where automated software purchases digital ad space on their behalf. However, these teams must manage a range of unautomated tasks while understanding both sides of the advertising ecosystem. In other words, they must be sensitive to the needs of the sell-side (publishers) and buy-side (advertisers).
Some major responsibilities of Ad Ops teams
Individuals within an Ad Ops team enjoy a dynamic and varied role, with no two days being the same.
Nevertheless, there are some core responsibilities unique to most campaigns:
- Scheduling. In other words, when should the ad be scheduled for maximum ROI? Scheduling may revolve around a certain time of day, or it may focus on holidays, weekends, or special events.
- Trafficking. This requires a specialist role to oversee the monitoring and delivery of ads across various exchanges or servers. Tasks may include the tracking of third-party vendor ad tags or the implementation of ad campaigns using dedicated services such as Google Ad Manager.
- Optimization. Every ad must be optimized for the number of clicks it receives. Optimization can be achieved through correct ad placement, word choice, and proper SEO. In some instances, ads must reflect an awareness of changing trends or standards.
- Yield management. Each task that an Ad Ops team performs should have some relation to driving revenue. Yield managers search for opportunities to increase revenue generation through advertising. This may involve the restructuring of content based on user behavior analytics or the reallocation of inventory pricing to increase profits.
Ad Ops best practices
All Ad Ops teams should incorporate these best practices as the basis of a sound campaign:
- Define objectives – what is the goal of the campaign? It is not enough to broadly state a goal of increasing profits or brand recognition. Use the SMART goals system to help define thoughtful, effective objectives.
- Define the correct medium – how should the message of the campaign be delivered? Mediums such as email, social media, video, and content will be most suited to a specific target audience or device.
- Craft the message – make sure that the ad campaign centers on one key idea or message. Importantly, it must be relatable to the target audience and company objectives.
- Evaluate and adjust as necessary – continually evaluate campaigns for effectiveness and reconfigure if important targets or metrics are not being met.
- Ad Ops refers to a suite of systems and processes that support digital advertisement delivery across multiple devices.
- Ad Ops is a broad and dynamic industry requiring responsive and multi-skilled teams. These teams must be well versed in the scheduling, optimization, and trafficking of ads.
- Some aspects of Ad Ops have been automated to reflect the increasing complexity of online advertising. Nevertheless, Ad Ops requires that practitioners be competent using a range of ad networks, servers, exchanges, and platforms.
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