Stop Playing from Behind: Why an Ad Product Manager Makes Sense

Surprise! Your company just released a new ad-supported product without the knowledge of ad operations. Better hurry and get those ad tags deployed, so you can get rid of those blank ad spaces! To avoid this unwelcome turn of events, it is essential to take proactive management of the whole planning and deployment process. The key to avoiding this operational nightmare is to appoint a staff member as an Ad Product Manager.

Lift Your Nose Off the Grindstone

Poor implementation of ad-supported products are to some extent due to the overwhelmingly tactical nature of our business. Too many creatives to test and send back to advertisers. Too many campaigns to schedule in the ad server. Too many revisions to make at 6PM on a Friday. It’s no wonder that when we hear through the grapevine about a new ad product, we frequently put on the blinders and keep our nose to the grindstone. That only winds up costing us time and energy in the long run.

Ad Products Need Your Involvement

Ad Operations needs to be actively involved in the development of any new ad product. This means any new site sections, mini-sites developed for advertisers, downloadable widgets, new video players that may support content verticals and mobile applications, just to name a few. Each product needs the insight of ad operations, who knows how the ad tags should be structured to support the rotation and reporting of ad campaigns.

The Ad Product Managers Role

This role is in part that of a liaison between Editorial, Development, Sales and Ad Operations. The ad product manager gives guidance on the types of standard ad units that advertisers are likely to demand. Advises on whether or not a product will produce adequate inventory and therefore the revenue needed to be a continuing success. Insures uniformity in ad products so they can be sold across multiple sites and platforms. Helps design reports that will document campaign performance.

Appointing a staff member as Ad Product Manager lets your ad traffickers concentrate on their vital role without the distraction of fire-drills. It helps insure that when a new product is launched, it is done as a result of a planned implementation that creates a sustainable – and executable – new ad product.

Doug Wintz has been working in interactive businesses for 20 years, ranging from Prodigy, to AT&T, Softbank, Uproar and Lycos. In 2004, he started DMW MediaWorks, a consulting company focused on digital media, operations and technology. Recent clients have ranged from traditional media brands such as Turner Broadcasting, A&E, NY Times, MTV, Philadelphia Inquirer and Universal Music, to digital brands like Comscore, Jumpstart, Kosmix, Eons and Local Matters. Doug is a frequent contributor on topics related to ad operations for IMediaConnection, and teaches several seminars for AdMonsters.