Leading Operations Online

It’s hard enough overseeing the ad operations tech stack and processes of one publisher; imagine juggling multiple publishers. But that’s exactly the mission companies like Outsourced Ad Ops (OAO) have taken on – and they have to do it well enough to be profitable and grow as a company. While that task may seem Herculean, it also happens to give OAO a unique and broad perspective of the industry.

I sat down with Craig Leshen and Michael Alania, President and Vice President, respectively, to learn more about the intricacies of outsourcing ad ops as well as their takes on the top issues of the day.

Complexity is the bane of any ad ops person’s existence. How does technology add to or mitigate complexity for ad ops?

Our industry is definitely complex, and it will continue to become even more so as technology advances to produce more opportunities to deliver digital ads across devices and platforms. Technology should be complex. There’s a lot of...

Viewabilty has been a big topic at AdMonsters events since the term came onto the scene. When the MRC recently rescinded its advisory against transacting on a viewable basis, we wanted to know how much it would affect publishers right then—and in the future.

We conducted a survey of ad operations leaders at more than 50 publishers about their experiences and garnered their opinions on the state of viewability. Some results echoed what we had heard at various Publisher Forums, while other answers completely surprised us. 

While viewability is hardly taking publishers by surprise – many are already actively testing multiple vendors and taking the necessary steps to improve viewability – the discrepancies surrounding solutions abound.

The MRC's decision to lift its advisory was met with optimism for the nascent metric, but many publishers saw the move as premature. Buyers' viewability demand is steadily climbing, yet...

Improbably, this is going to be about American literature and advertising operations. Typically, most people think the only connection between these two things is that people who get a degree in the first are doomed to end up making a living at the second. But as it turns out, you can learn a lot in American literature that applies to ad operations.

Each month I travel around the country helping publishers with ad operation issues. The biggest concern of CROs and other C-level executives is their operational team’s ability to scale. This concern leads to a lack of confidence in the ops team that can often impact hiring plans or even revenues. But surprisingly, few look at this concern’s root causes. 

Here’s where Mark Twain comes in. Twain, it turns out, knew a little something about operations in general. Take this example from Huckleberry Finn: Twain writes, “A body might stump his toe… fall down the well, and break his neck, and bust his brains out, and somebody come along and ask what killed him, and some...

April 22, 2014 RTB Gavin Dunaway

“We think standards should be dead; standards have held back the industry for years,” says ReactX CEO Chip Meyers. “Thank goodness the leaderboard and skyscraper are finally going to the grave – there’s no money in them; the brands don’t want to use them; and publishers are getting rid of them left and right.”

Sad but true: programmatic has been limited by its reliance on standard units, even ones as fun and funky as IAB’s Rising Stars. Complex, high-impact units (think rich media and video) tend to fall under the purview of direct sales because they require custom integrations and seemingly endless rounds of testing. Constant hand-holding equals a lack of automation, depriving elaborate branded executions the glory of scale.

Meyers suggests this is a major reason massive offline budgets are only trinkling into the digital space: “There’s a creative problem in programmatic – a bunch of brands have talked about it. Until the creative problem is solved, programmatic – and...

Longtime readers (‘cause I’m sure I have so many) will know a fascination of mine over the years has been the true transformation of data into an actively used currency, particularly in terms of buying access to media. Heady stuff, I know, so let me break it down.

Whenever anyone calls Internet content free (still happens), I’m quick to respond, no, you’re allowing advertisers the chance to reach you and giving parties (because usually there are several) access to your user data. Call the latter the unspoken agreement, though publishers across the world are increasingly informing users of their cookie policies on first visit.

As far as the consumer is concerned, this is a passive transference of data – they have no granular control over sharing, just the ability to enable private browsing or ward off third-party cookies. But as cross-device campaigning pushes the digital advertising industry to lean...

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