For those who have been doing Ad Operations for the last 5 to 10 years, I’m sure, have seen a ton of changes in way Ad Operations has evolved… for example:
- There are many ad servers and other platforms (SSPs / DSPs, etc.) that you have to work with at any given point in time. Almost at the rate of one a week… before you can fully understand and implement one… there’s another one which is knocking on your door.
- You need to now speak data! SQL or any other query language is your new best friend…most frequently used words are impressions (and its various flavors like total, paid, etc.), eCPM, revenue, OSI, etc. you need to be able to map data from different systems…and know what’s available in one system v/s others.
- Your BFF MS-Excel (xlsx) is now necessary but not sufficient. Your BFF is now unable to hand the kind of data that you now need to process given that you are working with a gazillion different systems at the same time.
- Time is suddenly moving much faster, but you feel like… And you run and you run to catch up with the Sun but it’s sinking…* you are always playing catch up and by the time you make any meaningful decisions… The time is gone … the song is over… thought I had something more to say…
- And then you are expected to make new BFFs… typically, a team that’s 1000’s of miles away in a time-zone you have never really heard of and accent that’s doesn’t sound familiar and is hard to understand… just because your Boss thought Cheap = Quality!
Now, If the above story sounds familiar to you and you can relate to some if not all aspects of it then, then don’t be any of these… sad, frustrated, mad… among other things… Method can be applied to this madness, so that you can take charge of things and make the best and most out of this new reality…
- Embrace Data – We live in data age and it’s not going to go away or change any time soon. You must learn to make best and most out of it and use it to your advantage. The best way to do that is use data aggregation platform that can help you get consistent, real-time, accurate access to the data you need. If you don’t have a data aggregation platform, then you will end up spending most of your time in collecting data! There are two type of data aggregation platforms – DIY and Managed Services. To understand more about it read this blog.
- Start with an end in mind – One thing you will notice is that there’s no dearth of data once you start asking for it. Before you know it, you will be drowning in your own data! The best way to do that is, first think what kind of questions you are expecting to get answers to or what kind of decisions you are going to make based on the data. Then from there, work backwards and get that data only. This approach will ensure that you are not flooding yourself with data and that you are working with a data set that is easily manageable for you to get the insights that you are looking for.
- All reports are not born equal – Before you play, ‘Say Yes to the Report’, I strongly suggest that you read the following… Different types of reports need different types of data elements along with their specific queries. Now, in addition to understanding the report generation complexity, you should also ask the purpose of the report, frequency of generation, how far back does the report data has to go, report format, urgency, etc. Once you get this information, you can then determine the approach that you should take to generate that report. Best option is to put SLAs in place so that folks understand that report generation takes time to get done right. Otherwise, its garbage in and garbage out!
- Think beyond – Most data aggregation platforms will give ability to collect data and may be visualizing it. But you should work with a platform that can talk to you, anticipate your needs, give you recommendations and alerts at the least. A platform that can discover new revenue generation opportunities for you and prevent you from making mistakes. Help you predict your revenue and liabilities. A platform that can help you collaborate with not only your team but also your Customers and Partners. An enterprise mission critical platform that forms backbone of your digital assets monetization business.
- Bringing it all together – Take baby steps as you start embracing data. Don’t look for an all or nothing process or platform. Make it collaborative effort with your teams so that they understand the what it takes to manage data so that it can be leveraged for making the right data-driven business decisions. Test ride the platform that you plan to use. This will help you understand if the platform fits your needs for today and for future. The only key thing to remember is not to bastardize the platform by customizing in for doing functions that it’s not built for. Sometimes you may need more than single platform to meet your needs and that’s OK. You will end up with two or more best of breed platforms that will talk to each other to address your business needs.
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*Reference – “Time” by Pink Floyd: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/pinkfloyd/time.html