Leading Operations Online

I have just emerged from my sensory deprivation chamber following AdMonsters’ June 10 OPS conference – the stimulation of more than 500 industry players roaming four floors devoted to native advertising, multiscreen and technology was too much to digest. Just before I went into shock, Content Czar Rob Beeler guided me to AdMonsters’ secret lair underneath the UN Building, where he locked me into the chamber with orders to process all I could from that hectic day.

In the damp, dark silence, I was able to refine my seemingly infinite learnings into a compact form – six major takeaways. I was almost able to embrace the listicle format I’ve been studying on ClickHole, but alas, my legacy journalist habits still plague me to write in paragraph format. One day I’ll catch up with new media style, one day…

1. Creative production was a big issue from the get-go, and it’s clear that publishers are stepping up in...

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 When the MRC recently rescinded its advisory against transacting on a viewable basis, we wanted to know how much it would affect publishers right then—and in the future.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...

Many of you know that I’m an avid kitesurfer. Like many other activities, kiting remains a bit opaque to those who haven’t tried it. You see people from far away getting pulled along by giant kites, and you think: wow, that looks "crazy", "scary" or "wild", but it's hard to relate to. 

I'd like to explain. Kiting is far simpler than you might think. It’s basically sailing and surfing rolled into one. Some people ask if it’s like windsurfing, and it is, but it’s much simpler and easier – there is less gear involved and the learning curve is much quicker. It does take a little practice, but so did learning to ride a bike, right? Once you get the hang of it, you just grab your kite and your board and go. 

Many people ask: “is it dangerous?” This always strikes me as a silly question. What is danger? Danger is unpredictable risk. Nature isn’t unpredictable – people are. It's so obvious once we say it that’s it’s a cliché: driving a car or riding a bicycle along a road are both much more dangerous than any extreme sport. Human...

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...

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