Leading Operations Online

The role of ad ops is complicated and ever-changing, and as expectations and responsibilities morph, it seems there's always something ops teams need to outsource. The tasks they choose to outsource, however, are subject to almost as much change. As 2015 draws to a close, it's a good time to assess where we are, as it pertains to what ops can handle in-house and what they have to pass along to someone on the outside. Craig Leshen, President of OAO, is the sort of person who can speak authoritatively about the year's biggest trends in ops outsourcing, and what ops teams might need to outsource in 2016. AdMonsters Publisher Rob Beeler sat down with him for a conversation that shows, as Leshen says, how important ops has become, and how ops continues to grow in its significance and responsibilities within organizations.

ROB BEELER: Craig, it’s that time year again, when people are budgeting for next year, and I always find more people...

As demand among buyers for quality video inventory has risen, so have the channels for transacting on video--programmatic video, video private marketplaces, programmatic TV. At the same time, so have the platforms into which advertisers feel enthusiastic about buying video inventory, with in-demand media bursting into outstream, mobile and other formats. Advertiser demand for video inventory is exploding in all kinds of direction, including outstream and mobile, and publishers are racing to innovate and expand their own offerings.  

But while publishers often approach these new possibilities with their eyes on the prize (advertiser dollars), it’s important to keep an eye on what you’re trailing in your path. Poor user experience has an ill effect, and so does weakened security that can leave the door open for bad actors. It’s essential here to consider the quality assurances that are specific to video advertising.

Sure, increased video consumption has been great for monetization, from the perspective of many...

Have you heard of header tags? Of course, you have – even ops people living under rocks have been inundated with tales of header tags, and it’s quickly become the new norm for programmatic-focused publishers. However, the tech is not without its controversies: while proponents claim header tags establish fairer pricing and bring CPMs to great new heights, detractors call it a latency-prone hack and describe the potential for decimating CPMs.

To get the real story, you gotta talk to ops people. Fortunately, we know a few. By now, most everyone understands that header tag implementation requires adding to site source code and sending data to a variety of partners before a page loads. But we wanted to know what’s it like to work with multiple header bidding sources, the ease of implementation, how header bidding is affecting revenue and CPMs for real-world publishers, how serious are the latency concerns and more.

The answers we received from the ad ops community were both expected and surprising. Most publishers are pretty satisfied with the...

The boom town in digital is being built in a video player, and the dilemma created by the boom is now a pretty famous one: There's more demand from advertisers for premium video inventory than most publishers can reasonably accommodate.

That's where outstream video comes in. The promise of outstream is that its units can be placed just about anywhere on the page, and if you're a publisher that doesn't even host video content, you can still get in on the action. Just load up some outstream units in between paragraphs of text, for example, and you're good to go, ready to make video-hungry advertisers happy and to cash in on those plum video CPMs.

Just one thing, though: Doesn't something about outstream sound... familiar? Wasn't there a time when the web was pockmarked with randomly placed video ads that loaded up and started playing at times when the user had no reason to expect to see a video player? And didn't users hate that?

Yet here we are, talking about "outstream" as if it's new and generally awesome for everyone. And in...

If you want to hear about real-life examples of how a historic, trusted but largely regional publication can adapt to and thrive in digital, Ray Faust is one of those people you’d want to talk to. The VP, National and Emerging Sales at the Star Tribune Media Company helped lead the charge into programmatic on the digital properties of this Twin Cities newspaper. By his account, that programmatic push opened up previously unforeseen potential for the Star Tribune’s inventory, because it allowed advertisers to buy the publication’s audience, not just their websites.

Beyond that, Faust has explained, taking a holistic approach to the Star Tribune’s inventory has allowed the publication to better discover and value demand. That full understanding of demand helped push up CPMs across the board, including in direct sales, the bread and butter of so many legacy regional publications.

Faust took some time to tell AdMonsters Senior Editor Gavin Dunaway...

Rocket Fuel