Based out of Sweden of all places, AdValidation is the first and the best tool I’ve seen focused on ad tag QA to date, though because of their location, not many people outside of Europe are familiar with the company. That’s a real shame, because the feature set is quite robust, and there are a number of smart, platform agnostic solutions in place to make workflow easier. As many things like this start, AdValidation was actually developed as an internal tool for a Swedish ad network to help them address the issues of working with hundreds of various publisher specs in their own business before they realized it could be a standalone product on its own. The benefit of course is that the tool has been battle tested, debugged, and enhanced by a real world customer. (more…)
There are lots of reasons to be excited about what’s happening in the ad technology world right now from a business point of view, but from an Ad Ops perspective, the current landscape is pretty daunting. For lots of folks at the implementation level, ad technology often means more integration projects, more complexity, more relationships to manage, and frankly, more work to pack into the day with the same amount of resources. There are lots of tools and services being built for advertisers and publishers alike, but where’s the innovation for Ops teams on either side?
To date, with perhaps the exception of tag management solutions, I haven’t seen many products that seek to simplify the operational process for the direct sales channel – most everything seems focused on creating new, more complex products or bringing new, automated sales channels to market. Those are fine goals, but I would submit that much like the years of neglect around resolving 3rd party discrepancies, the ad tech community has to date ignored a huge potential opportunity to make life easier for Ad Ops teams. In the past few weeks, however it seems like that may be about to change.
Specifically, during IAB Ops 2011, Adobe announced their entry into the ad validation space with some fanfare, throwing some much needed attention and hopefully some serious resources on a little known service with tremendous possibilities but few solutions. For those interested in learning more, I hope you’ll read my new series on the ad validation space to explain the need, the current solutions, and where the space looks to be headed in the future. (more…)
What are Discrepancies?
As a standard practice in interactive advertising, advertisers and publishers maintain independent ad servers to manage their campaigns. There are number of reasons and efficiencies each party gains with this approach, but since each party counts an impression at a slightly different point in the delivery of an ad (publishers count at the ad request, advertisers count when the ad is delivered), the reporting from either system never matches the other. This difference is called a 3rd party discrepancy, and unfortunately, they’re a fact of life in digital advertising. While you can take steps to minimize discrepancies to a certain extent, at the end of the day you’re just going to have to put up with them as a cost of doing business.
Generally speaking though, discrepancies between your local ad server and a 3rd party ad server shouldn’t exceed 5 – 10%. Every now and again however you’ll find a particular campaign that skyrockets into the 30% territory or more. In those cases, you really need to look into the campaign and try to correct the problem. Below are some initial steps to take to try and resolve large discrepancies. Integrate this process into your Ad Ops group and you should be able to address a majority of the problem tags you encounter. Get your discrepancy checklist here…
As with any job, the first step in getting hired is getting educated on the state of the industry, how it works, who the key players are, and where you might get hired. Thankfully, Ad Operations has an active and welcoming community, and is well covered by niche, but professional news outlets. This article explains how you can get involved and how to get and stay informed about what’s happening in Ad Ops and interactive media.
The Ad Operations Community: AdMonsters
While there are many trade organizations focused on interactive media, none is more focused on or relevant to the Ad Operations workforce than AdMonsters.
Many in the industry are most familiar with the organization’s event programming, which is highly recommended, as it tends to attract less people from the executive level and more from the operations, implementation level of organizations. I find this approach grounds the conversations and makes for an action-oriented event, with concrete and relevant takeaways. It also provides a rare opportunity to network and connect with folks who are solving problems on the ground at the organization, and get user-level feedback on new technologies, and potential partners your organization might be evaluating. Get the other resources!
Even as the global economy limps along, the job market in digital advertising and Ad Operations specifically has never looked so bright, and anyone looking for their first job would do well to consider ad technology as a place to start their professional lives.
So why exactly would you want to work in Ad Ops? Here are some of the best reasons as I see them:
1. There’s no better place to learn about digital advertising than ad operations.
Because the Ad Ops department controls and operates the ad server as their primary responsibility, almost everyone else in the company depends on them for something. Whether it’s the marketing team trying to get an internal promotion live, the finance or billing group needing accurate historical reports, the business development team trying to evaluate and implement a new technology, or just the day to day interaction with the Sales team to understand what clients want, Ad Ops is an information hub within the company, and a key resource for getting things done. What are the other top reasons to work in Ad Ops?