The Next Generation of Ad Ops

Students are up on analytics


Recently the AdMonsters Professional Services team – Kevin LeFew, Zach Morgan and I – had the opportunity to head down to Charlottesville, Va., to speak with a class at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. Having spent my college years at UVA (and McIntire, in particular), I jumped at the chance to get back to Charlottesville in the fall and was a little sad that it was only a day trip. It’s probably just fond memories from more than 15 years ago, but no matter the reason, I’m always glad to get back to Charlottesville and be in that environment.
Still involved with UVA as a trustee of my class at McIntire, we were excited when we were invited to come speak to Ahmad Abassi’s eCommerce class and talk specifically about how analytics, ad operations and the related ecosystem all come together as revenue. Living and breathing ad operations every day and solving problems for our clients, it’s easy to forget how foreign it can be to an outsider – and how it’s really about revenue enablement and less about ad operations.
What was most surprising about the trip was how much the students already knew about the space, the vendors and the opportunities available to them to jump in and help shape the future of what we live within every day. For not having spent any real time working in ad ops, they were starting to grasp the complexity of how it all ties together and asked insightful questions that I would not have expected from folks outside of ad ops.
Whether it was “explain the differences between Omniture, Google Analytics and Comscore” or diving deeper to understand how an ad call can hang an entire page and the technical solutions to prevent such an occurrence, they were definitely an inquisitive group that sees a lot of opportunity in this area.
They definitely understood the relevancy of data analytics, and how powerful a well-thought-out and properly integrated analytics strategy can be. We’ve seen with our clients that analytics can sometimes be an afterthought and substantially harder to properly integrate late in the game, so we really tried to stress the importance that, if implemented properly, analytics is hugely powerful and provides the right information to make informed business decisions.
In addition to the students grasping analytics, it was great to see a core curriculum being built around the field. McIntire now offers an analytics track that helps students learn to leverage analytics to improve performance and decision-making. Granted, the track is more than just web analytics, but web analytics is a part of it and seeing UVA recognize the importance of analytics (web and other) within an organization is a huge step and will hopefully result in a whole new understanding and level of sophistication when it comes to analytics.
One of the best things about the trip was the level of engagement from the students and seeing that colleges are starting to pay attention to ad ops, analytics and everything that is happening in our industry. It’s exciting to know that there are young people coming out of school with some of the basic knowledge, but more important, an interest in analytics and ad operations.

We see it every day so we often take it for granted, but there are so many opportunities in the space. We hope our talk encouraged students to take a closer look at careers within as ops and helped shape their opinions for the important years ahead.