Navigating the [Not so] Great Layoff

You can’t control the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

For those that enjoy sailing, that statement is a quaint reminder that adjustments are required for the skipper and crew to properly sail toward their destination regardless of how the wind is shifting.

Metaphorically speaking, that adage can also be applied to businesses.  Leaders and managers must prepare to react to changing economic conditions beyond their control to properly navigate their company toward its strategic goals.

To wit, it has been a full year since we wrote about “Navigating the Great Resignation,” the term used to define the post-pandemic phenomenon of employees leaving their jobs at record rates while companies were left scrambling to retain and replace talent. 

OAO is a full service, ad operations agency that can provide managed services and professional services.

But what a difference a year makes. Changing market conditions have seen the FOMC raise interest rates ten times since March 2022, thus moving from a regime of quantitative easing to quantitative tightening. These rate increases are meant to tamp down inflation, which peaked at around 9% last June, by increasing the cost of borrowing and driving down consumer demand.

Are these rate hikes working? The results seem to indicate that they are. Inflation is down to around 5% and consumers have been spending less overall.

However, to adjust for higher borrowing costs and decreasing consumer demand, businesses have had to lower their expenses considerably, which typically begins with headcount reduction. These personnel cuts have resulted in over 186,000 layoffs in the global ad tech sector over the first four months of 2023, according to The prevailing explanation for why we are seeing this Great Layoff is that companies who over-hired and hoarded talent last year during the Great Resignation now must reduce their headcount totals and pause or scrap non-strategic initiatives.

Maintaining Equilibrium

Those that race sailboats will tell you that finding your equilibrium when sailing upwind can be difficult, but once you and your crew balance everything, forward progress will come rapidly!

In a December 2022 White Paper published by OAO, we discussed the rising tide of economic uncertainty facing digital publishers as we headed into 2023, such as higher operating costs due to rate hikes, the tight labor market for skilled and experienced talent, reductions in ad spend, and a hodgepodge of new state data privacy regulations going into effect. 

In the White Paper, OAO champions five strategic advantages publishers can achieve by partnering with the right outsourced ad operations provider. Regardless of the reasons for outsourcing certain roles or tasks, the key takeaway is that any publisher who works with the right outsourced partner as part of their corporate strategy is well positioned to attain the proper equilibrium for cutting through these shifting economic headwinds. 

When the economy is strong and growing, outsourcing tasks and roles to skilled and experienced specialists enables publishers to expand their capacity and grow their operations quickly. During tighter cycles, publishers can ramp down their use and cost of working with an outsourced partner without worrying about rehiring risk or business continuity disruptions.

Top 5 Strategic Advantages Gained by Outsourcing Ad Operations

1. Focus on core competencies

Publishers can allocate more time and resources to manage their core competencies without getting distracted by the nuances, technical complexities, and increasing costs of running an in-house ad ops team.

2. Access to skilled and experienced talent

With skills and expertise spanning many facets of ad operations, an outsourced ad ops partner can fill a gap on a publisher’s team or step in to manage the bulk of their ad operations.  Leverage your ad ops partner’s technology relationships to improve your business operations further.

3. Save on labor and overhead costs

Hiring talent is time-intensive and expensive, especially considering recruiting costs, salaries, benefits, payroll taxes, onboarding, training, and career path management. The right outsourced partner can be a budget-friendly complement to an in-house ad ops team that can expand their skills and capabilities or fill any vacant roles.

4. Workflow optimization

An experienced outsourced ad ops team should be able to plug in seamlessly with a publisher’s existing workflow and be willing to offer suggestions and insights for optimizing it to drive greater efficiencies, faster turn-around time, and better results.

5. Redundancy and business continuity

Outsourced ad ops providers should have strong documentation and record-keeping capabilities that enable publisher teams to easily access historical and current information around process, ad tag architecture, trafficking rules, and other important material. With the right partner, publishers can also scale up or down their operations with ease and without the worry, cost, or emotional stress around headcount management or brain drain from employee departures.

In this manner, a solid outsourced ad ops partner is like an experienced yacht racing crew — working with publishers to balance their operational needs without changing course or slowing down — enabling forward progress to come rapidly!

About OAO

OAO is a U.S.-based, full-service ad operations agency and Google Certified Publishing Partner (GCPP), built by seasoned ad operations professionals and guided by our mission of being the premier white glove ad operations services and solutions provider for digital publishers.

OAO prides itself on providing high-touch, white-glove ad operations services, solutions, and support ranging from standard campaign management and reporting to platform integrations, software solutions, migrations, monetization services, and much more. We can be counted on to act as your full-service ad ops team or serve as a complement to your in-house team, filling in any existing skill gaps.

When working with OAO, publishers can expect to have the support of an ad ops team that is composed of industry experts who continually stay apprised of current trends, emerging technologies, and best practices. We are always expanding on our offerings, evaluating new technology, and developing new skills that enable us to provide our clients with the highest possible level of service and support.

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