Thoughts from the Network Ad Ops Forum

This past Wednesday we co-hosted with IASH our first Network Ad Ops Forum in London and I think everyone would agree it was a great success. Considering that it was a first time event and over 70% of the attendees were attending their first Admonsters event, it was great to see how quickly people understood that this event was unique and it was about getting tangible take-aways and learning best practices from their peers. Martin Kelly’s keynote set the tone for the day and it was interesting to see several themes emerge:

The online ad market is going through significant changes and network ad ops professionals need to prepare for the coming changes. The space occupied by networks between agencies and publishers only continues to grow more complicated as more solutions like network optimization companies and ad exchanges come into the mix. This coupled with agencies and publishers creating their own networks and ad exchanges, it becomes more difficult to know how networks should position themselves. From an ad operations perspective however, it becomes clear that their departments will become differentiating factors for their companies. Companies who can streamline efficiencies and who look to ad operations as a revenue center are the best positioned for the challenges and opportunities ahead. The word “nimble” was used to describe an inherent strength in the network business model, and that starts with ad operations.

Many issues publisher and agency ad ops face are shared by networks ad ops, but many issues are specific to networks. Themes that we see at our Publisher and Leadership Forums were echoed on Wednesday – discrepancies, reporting, workflow, for example – and it was great to see people share best practices on addressing these issues. It was also interesting to hear to the extent that most vendor solutions are not designed with network ad operations in mind. Managing campaign exclusions, implementing redirect tags, working with hundreds if not thousands of publishers all came up as things network ad ops teams face on a daily basis. A lot of knowledge about these issues was exchanged over the course of the day.

Organizations like IASH are helping make agencies move more dollars to online and helping network ad ops create efficiencies. Members spoke the challenges of preparing for and going through an audit, but it seems clear that it was resulting in an increase in revenue. Additionally, ad operations teams are faced with implementing changes to their workflow to make an audit ‘survivable’. Ultimately these changes will make their businesses more scalable and create more efficient processes. Even for companies that aren’t likely to join IASH, much can be learned about workflow from those that have implemented the necessary changes.

I’ll be working on getting presenters to recap their presentations on our blog and welcome anyone else that was there to share their favorite takeaways from the event. This first Network Ad Ops Forum certainly has kicked off this type of event in the right direction. Now the work begins on the US Network Ad Ops Forum. Details to come.

Rob Beeler is Vice President of Content and Media for AdMonsters and has worked in Ad Operations for over ten years. Rob started attending AdMonster events in 2004 as a member and will be in Portland, Oregon on August 16th for the Publisher Forum US XXI