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?
Before the internet and digital advertising, direct mail solicitation was perhaps the most technologically advanced form of data driven marketing out there. Even today, as much as interactive marketers like to poke fun at traditional media people, the direct mail industry is far more sophisticated at accurate audience segmentation and message delivery than most of the digital realm. Since everything in the snail mail world works off your actual name and address, data management is far simpler and can easily connect the data points in your life – the car you drive, your credit score, your age, gender, and plenty else from public records. Start adding information about your purchase habits from catalogs, your credit cards, and all the hotel and airline loyalty cards stuck in your wallet and the direct marketers can profile you three ways to Sunday. The truth is that it’s far easier to move data offline by matching on a name and address than to move it online with nothing but a cookie. That said, data companies and marketers alike have a huge incentive to try, because offline data is generally much more reliable and therefore valuable than its online competitors. (more…)
To get the full value out of a relationship with a data management platform (DMP), you want to provide the platform with as much data as possible. That said, the low hanging fruit in any organization will be to integrate 1st party data for which you already have a cookie to the DMP. The mechanism to accomplish this is your standard cookie sync,which passes a user ID from one system to another via a query string appended to a pixel call, and ideally, a server-to-server integration after that.
Practically speaking this means that when a user hits your site and calls your site analytics tag, either independently or through a container tag, that site analytics tag redirects the user to the DMP, and simultaneously passes the site analytics user ID to the DMP. When the DMP receives that call, it cookies the same user and also records what the site analytics user ID is. Now the DMP knows how to associate data from the site analytics tool to its own cookie ID. The beauty of this system is only the user IDs need to be synced at this time, and the actual data that the site analytics tool records can be passed to the DMP later, without slowing down the user experience on site. Now imagine replicating this process with all 3rd party tools, and syncing all systems into the DMP. (more…)