Sales and Ad Ops Best Practices for Collaboration

What’s the best way for publishers to attract advertisers to their properties?

Enable their sales teams to tell compelling stories about their audiences and why they would be receptive to the potential advertiser’s products and services. But storytelling requires data.

As it happens, publishers’ Ad Operations (Ad Ops) teams have much of it, and it’s incredibly valuable. What’s more, advertisers are keen to have access to this data, especially as third-party cookies are deprecated. They need alternative ways to reach and engage their prospects, and publishers are sitting on data that offers up potential new solutions.

The trick, however, is to foster better collaboration between Ad Ops and sales (and any other stakeholder) so that they can use the data to drive campaign performance and repeat sales.

DoubleVerify is a leading software platform for digital media measurement and analytics.

Ad Ops as Data Translator

The Ad Ops team will be critical in the new era of third-party cookie-free targeting. Let’s call them translators, as they take the data generated when users engage with (or ignore) ads that appear on their sites and put context around them. 

From that context, rich stories emerge: these ad units perform best, our readers respond to ads in this vertical or industry sector, and here is the return on ad spend (ROAS) advertisers like you typically see. 

This storytelling allows the sales team to have more meaningful conversations with their advertiser clients about campaign performance. It also provides a roadmap for the sales team to recruit new advertisers as they go to sales calls armed with detailed data about works on their sites and why.

So how can publishers foster collaboration between the teams that collect and manage data and those who need to use it to sell more effectively? Below are five best practices for sales and ad ops collaboration.

#1: Put All Data to Use

When third-party audience segments reigned supreme, the industry had a habit of relying on it for all the heavy lifting of their campaigns. But it’s important to recognize that deprecating third-party cookies doesn’t mean that the industry loses access to targeting based on signals. Rather, it simply means those signals are changing.

Publishers have access to a trove of data, including demographic and interest data collected at registration and engagement metrics and contextual data. The industry is better off moving to a cookie-free paradigm because it forces us to look at an audience more holistically rather than through a singular audience-segmentation lens.

#2: Always Provide Data in Context

Ad Ops teams are closest to the advertising data within their organizations, which makes them well-equipped to add context to what they see every day. Sales can use this data to bring in more deals, expand existing relationships and find new opportunities, but they need Ad Ops’ help. 

Sales reps generally aren’t data people, but they are natural communicators. As a rule of thumb, Ad Ops should always look at providing data that considers varying time horizons, metrics, and granularity through the lens of someone on the sales team. This saves time for sales and ensures that the data gets the attention it deserves.

#3: Utilize Audience Data to Devise Your Organization’s Key Selling Points

Ad performance is all about the users who visit your sites and engage with content. With strong performance comes happy advertisers who are willing to launch repeat campaigns. No one knows this better than the sales team.

Two-way communication is essential, as the sales team understands what agencies and advertisers want for their campaigns, and Ad Ops knows how to access and unlock that coveted data. Communication fosters collaboration, which benefits the entire ecosystem.

#4: Combine Data With Relationships to Know What Makes Your Buyers Tick

Account managers and salespeople know a lot about their buyers, but a data component can bolster retention and new sales opportunities. By analyzing successful advertising verticals, and the amount of spend over time with key buyers, sales can better understand which brands and verticals to prioritize. 

By combining qualitative and quantitative information on buyers, these two departments can more easily find quick wins and shift medium-term priorities based on what market data tells them.

#5: Communicate Early to Highlight Opportunities and Set Expectations

Both Ad Ops and sales teams deal with complex cycles that rely on advertising data. Whether it’s the campaign cycle or the sales cycle, these departments benefit each other most when they collaborate early. Discussions around inventory availability, site placements, packaging, and audience information can be crucial to closing prospects and setting expectations with existing clients. 

By following these five best practices for collaboration, publishers will provide a better experience to their readers, advertisers, and the industry as a whole.