Not many were surprised to hear the news that Nielsen lost their accreditation with the MRC. Without getting into the details (you can find them here, and here, and here), the ripple effects of this action will be broad. Nielsen has long been a de facto standard, underpinning almost $180 million in linear ad transactionsRead More
No other technology industry would tolerate the amount of manual work that we’ve seen in advertising operations over the last ten years. Yet as our industry has grown, ad tech has accepted the manual labor and data entry ad traffickers do every day as just the cost of doing business.
And it’s only getting more difficult. The level of targeting and complexity that agencies are demanding is compounding the problem. In fact, trafficking data from Operative’s software shows that the time it takes to traffic a single placement has increased from an average of 11 minutes in 2012, to nearly 15 minutes in 2014. If you’re a large publisher managing hundreds of campaigns, those numbers add up quickly each month, and the operational strain and manpower required drains your margins.
Operative has been in the business of ad operations for fifteen years. We traffic. We employ traffickers. We see firsthand the amount of effort required to get even a single line item pushed into an ad server. With our enterprise software, we’d been able to automate trafficking through direct-to-ad server push technology. Many of our clients had cited a 50-80% reduction in trafficking time.
Last year, I asked my team, “How can we give the same automation trafficking efficiencies to mid-size publishers? Most of them see outsourcing ad ops as their only solution.” Why was there no tool on the market to automate data entry into ad servers?
So we started building a trafficking tool using the same technology that powers Operative’s ad business management software. We built it specifically for ad ops teams so it wouldn’t require a complex implementation process. The idea was simple, but it hadn’t been done because we’d been focused on developing workflow solutions within our existing software – not as a standalone tool.
Building Rapid IO
- Lack of standardization: Every publisher has their own fields and their own template, which can make it hard for traffickers to translate. We knew our tool needed to be customizable and able to map fields from any internal system to an external ad server.
- High error rates: Reliance on manual data entry leads to high error rates in our industry, which is one of the major contributors to lost revenue on campaigns. Our tool needed to be able to automatically detect errors before they hit the ad server and interrupted delivery.
- Ad ops churn: Ad ops is notorious for its turnover rates. It takes publishers roughly 6 months to fully train a trafficker in all of their systems, and many don’t stay in any one place for more than a year. We wanted to create a tool that required little training so that any new trafficker could use it with ease.
We addressed these challenges by starting with a flexible IO template that any publisher could customize to their business. We made the interface easy and intuitive (so anyone can use it, including sellers and planners), and created a step-by-step wizard that prompts someone through the trafficking process. The end result? You can bulk upload an IO (with hundreds of line items) directly into an ad server in under 5 minutes. Plus, the automatic error detection cuts error rates to nearly zero.
Giving the Power Back to Publishers
We believe in the power of ad ops. The smartest people in our industry come from ad ops, and they know that the difference between a good campaign and a great campaign isn’t just creative — it’s about placement, delivery, optimization, and technical innovation.
That’s why we care so much about automating ad trafficking for ad ops employees. When employees aren’t stuck copy and pasting line items into an ad server, they have the time and freedom to analyze yield and optimize campaigns. Rather than investing in a temporary workforce, especially when they face seasonal spikes in campaign volumes, publishers can focus on long-term, strategic hires to build and train a highly performing ad ops team.
Want to see how it works? Watch our 2 minute video, then sign up for a free trial so you can try it out for yourself.