PubForum Spotlight: Evolving Ad Operations Through Self-Service

Self-service ad operations and media selling is on the rise.

Following in the footsteps of media giants like Google and Facebook, many publishers are deploying self-service solutions that enable them to provide clients with low-friction media buying, data targeting and ad-creation tools, providing buyers with greater campaign control and transparency, often through real-time tracking allowing them to optimize on the fly.

There’s also the added advantage of automating repetitive ad operations tasks—like trafficking—freeing up hundreds of hours of manual labor all while improving productivity and efficiency.

In their recent Spotlight Session at PubForum Santa Monica, Peo Persson, Co-Founder and CPO, DanAds, along with Lisen Zethraeus, CMO, guided attendees through the latest trends within Self-Service Ad Operations and showcased how it could make a publisher’s lives a little easier. I caught up with them after their session to dig a little deeper into the information they shared.

DanAds are the leading provider of a customizable, scalable, white-labeled self-service technology for publishers and brands, allowing for automation of ad operation, sales, and creative management to increase revenue effectively.

Lynne d Johnson: You shared that self-service is really trending right now—Spotify, Hulu and Hearst are all doing it. What are some of the benefits for publishers? 

Peo Persson: In order to maximize the collective potential from direct bookings or direct programmatic bookings, publishers need to streamline their workflow into a fully automated one. 

Using self-service software benefits publishers to be profitable even from small advertisement budgets. We know from our data and analytics that self-service reduces costs for publishers, saving Ad Ops time by up to 90% per order while increasing operational control. Ad Ops can focus more on optimizing ongoing campaigns instead of punching in orders, rewinging creatives and sending reports.

LdJ: We recently saw Tik Tok and Walmart launch self-service ad platforms, receiving marketer backlash for lacking some audience data—negatively impacting targeting. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be, is it? In your presentation, you said, “Data is King.” Can you explain?

PP: In today’s media landscape, we believe publishers and brands must take control of their most valuable assets—data. With self-service, publishers take control of the essential part of the value chain—ad buyers. If we top that with a self-service platform, where the publisher gets full control and ownership of data related to every transaction, we believe the chance of surviving and even thriving, in the future media landscape is much higher.

Our state of mind and software helps publishers sell their first-party data in a controlled way, and we’ve just launched a feature where buyers can utilize their first-party data directly in the self-service platform through our collaboration with LiveRamp.

LdJ: We’re always hearing how automation frees up ad ops time on low-level tasks to open up more time for high-value work. How much time are we really talking about saving? 

PP: Ad ops spends much time manually entering campaign information into Ad Servers, CRM, Billing, and Order management systems. Due to time constraints, not all data is entered into all systems, which would be beneficial for optimization and reporting. The workload today for ad ops is not helpful for publishers, they need to support sales with details in regards to products and combinations of possible placements, and price to sell. 

They need to check and approve all creatives, support sales with information in regards to inventory availability, support sales with change requests on running orders, support sales with live proof and need to support sales with statistics and custom reports. Working with self-service software, all this manul time will be reduced by up to 90%.

 LdJ: How have some of your clients transformed their advertising operations with self-service?

PP: Philips had a big pain point as a brand doing both their own marketing and promoting partners. Their own Pregnancy+ app (25 million users) didn’t have a flexible way to manage advertising content, making it impossible to effectively work with marketing campaigns in multiple markets.

With self-service, Philips allows marketers to create targeted campaigns and manage results and performance, enabling Philips to eliminate fees to agencies, partnerships and affiliates as well as saving costs on direct sales. Self-service helps their external partners to generate revenue opportunities and cost savings with action-driven sponsored placements on their Health & Parenting platforms.

In just one year, working with us, more than 2,400 ad campaigns were created by Philips marketers globally, cost-savings of $5 million achieved, and more than 2600% increase in revenue.

And with our first client Shazam, using GAM for Ad server and our solution for self-service for music label clients, they saved their music sales team and ad ops about 85% workload. 

LdJ: What should a successful relationship with a client look like once a publisher launches a self-service solution?

PP: Having a good setup in place for 1st-and-2nd line support is a great way to create a successful relationship between publisher and client, as it gives your clients confidence that they’re able to receive support if they require it. Showing that you are available to help when they need you builds a good level of trust between publisher and advertiser.

Build scalable ways to communicate with your clients so they feel connected with you as the publisher throughout their user experience. Consider building up email marketing schedules, webinar-style group events for training and in some cases, personalized sendouts to specific advertisers for case studies and other types of feedback.

All in all, if your platform is built to suit your client’s needs and if you show them that you are there to support them if they require it, you will have built a streamlined and efficient self-service system that will allow you to scale your advertising sales enormously.

Visit DanAds to download their presentation from PubForum Santa Monica.