OAO and AdMonsters: Built for Speed — A Conversation with OAO about Mobile Web Optimization

Page speed is never too far from the main stage of the ongoing show that is ad ops, and it’s enjoying another spotlight moment right now. On one side, publishers have Google and Facebook calling for compliance with their platform publishing guidelines–and with massive mobile traffic coming to them through those platforms, it’s hard to argue against compliance. On the other side, header bidders and programmatic waterfalls, set up by publishers to maximize revenue, are slowing down pages in their own way. OAO recently issued an ebook on mobile page performance for publishers, which presented a fine opportunity to grab some insights from their team. AdMonsters sat down with OAO President Craig Leshen, Director Fairy Pardiwalla, and VP, Ad Operations Jennifer Hill to talk about page performance, the customer experience, and other hot and trending developments in the ad ops realm. BRIAN LaRUE:  Let’s jump right in. Why is page performance such a hot topic right now? Why is it so important for publishers? CRAIG LESHEN: Page performance, or page load speed, is essential to publishers so they can ensure they’re creating a better customer experience and delivering their optimal amount of ad impressions. If a user is frustrated by how long it takes a page, site, or app to load, they might go somewhere else instead, or even worse, might not go back to your online property anytime soon. For a top-tier site, brand name might get the users to return regardless; but if you’re not, people might stay away if the experience is frustrating. For smaller publishers, or publishers who rely on their content being promoted virally... read more

OAO and AdMonsters: Content Heads Off-Site — Leveraging Audience Extension for Publisher Marketing Efforts

Not terribly long ago, audience extension seemed like more of a pipe dream than a reality for publishers. Though retargeting has been around since the early days of http cookies, it’s only in the last five years or so that the technology has caught up with its promise, enabling publishers of all sorts and sizes (as well as advertisers and technology providers) to reap the rewards. So now that publishers are making audience extension work for their advertisers, why not also put that technology to work for internal initiatives? Pubs are already using on-site inventory and data targeting for their own marketing—think house ads and native content, for example. It’s easy to imagine pubs pushing house ads and content through existing programmatic pipes and across third-party digital properties, not just their own. In that sense, there’s an opportunity for ad ops to use the technology already at their disposal to discover and target users via the same audience extension strategies they’re using for their advertisers. Ad ops is in a position here to become a marketing powerhouse, using audience extension not just as means of generating revenue, but also for building their own user base and strengthening the publisher’s brand. From Retargeting to Extension You can trace the concept of using audience extension for publisher marketing initiatives back to publishers’ desire to retarget house ads across their own properties. One example: Take a general news site that has several content categories or verticals. If a user visits the sports section, they’re added to a sports user segment. If that user later visits the arts and entertainment section, they can... read more

Programmatic Monetization: The [R]Evolution of Yield Management-Part 3

What are some of the best practices publishers should embrace when deploying and maintaining AdX? Now that we’ve gone through the benefits of monetization and AdX in particular, we’re going to review some best practices to consider when deploying AdX. Below is a guide for putting AdX to work for your organization. We’ll be discussing the stages of Planning, Implementation, and Post-Launch along with providing tips and suggestions along the way. Planning Step 1:  Before doing anything make sure you look over the program guidelines to ensure your website or online property complies with Google’s policies. As previously indicated, AdX is smart but it’s also one of the strictest demand sources on the market. It has a detailed list of policies which publishers are required to follow. Google has developed custom technology that constantly checks for policy violations and there are significant repercussions for publishers who violate the rules (intentionally or unintentionally), including deactivation and possibly refunded earnings. You can find Google’s AdX policies here. It’s also important to review and speak with any traffic-sourcing partners your company works with to make sure they also comply with Google’s policies. Bots and incentivized traffic sources are two of the most common and serious offenses, which typically result in Google shutting down your AdX account. Other policy infractions include encouraging users to support your site through ad interaction, deceptive or accidental click generation, and manipulation of the targeting or presentation of AdX ads. Step 2:  If you plan to run AdX ads in “sticky” ad slots or on pages that use a time-based refresh of ad tags, you’ll want to check... read more

Programmatic Monetization: The [R]Evolution of Yield Management-Part 2

GOOGLE AD EXCHANGE (AdX) In part 1 of this post, we discussed the importance of utilizing a monetization solution to maximize revenue for unsold inventory. Now we’re going to hone in on the industry juggernaut: Google’s Ad Exchange (“AdX”). What is AdX? AdX is one of the largest and most liquid monetization platforms available. It supports a wide range of publisher business models by providing multiple ways for inventory to be identified, packaged, and made available to buyers. One of the exceptional things about AdX is its reach on both the buy and sell sides of the advertising business. The platform enables advertisers and agencies to easily purchase a variety of publisher inventory by connecting AdX to their DSP or bidder platform. AdX also provides significant transparency into their bid data, which publishers can use to better understand demand in order to optimize their inventory settings. While publishers look to improve on how to best represent their inventory, buyers can also continue to tweak their budgets, targeting, and spend parameters (such as bid price ceilings) to ensure they’re able to deliver their campaigns according to their predetermined KPIs. What separates AdX from other programmatic solutions? According to an independent report from Technology Business Research, Inc., media buying and selling through programmatic channels was responsible for approximately 50% of the $60 billion US digital ad spend in 2015. In terms of transaction volume and overall revenue, Google AdX and DoubleClick Bid Manager (“DBM”) both retained leadership positions in their respective segments. Notwithstanding Google’s aforementioned market leadership, one of the key benefits of AdX is that it integrates directly into Google’s... read more

Programmatic Monetization: The [R]Evolution of Yield Management

Monetization evolving Direct advertising campaigns have been sold using traditional methods for years. A publisher’s sales team is tasked with filling as much of their inventory as possible. Once they close a sale, the order is entered into the ad system by the publisher’s ad ops team, it goes live, and then the ad ops team monitors pacing, makes adjustments, and performs all of the typical tasks that go hand-in-hand with traditional campaign management. This model has now been expanded upon with the advent of programmatic monetization. A brief history of a big idea When remnant monetization first arrived on the scene it was viewed as a way to squeeze some extra revenue from unsold inventory. Even if a publisher had an extremely effective sales team, it was never a guarantee that they’d be able to directly sell 100% of their inventory, so they looked to ad networks and other non-direct solutions to help fill their remaining inventory rather than leaving money on the table. This worked for a while, but it didn’t take long for publishers to realize that the one-size-fits-all model offered by most remnant networks fell short of truly optimizing revenue for unsold inventory. AdMeld then entered the scene and became an auto optimizer of remnant solutions, which many would consider to be the first step in the evolution of unsold inventory monetization. Over the years, more sophisticated approaches to filling unsold inventory have been developed. It’s worth looking at the evolution of monetization to understand why a publisher might be interested in programmatic solutions, and how one of the heavyweights in the space – Google’s... read more

OAO and AdMonsters: The Year in Outsourcing – A Conversation With OAO’s Craig Leshen

The role of ad ops is complicated and ever-changing, and as expectations and responsibilities morph, it seems there’s always something ops teams need to outsource. The tasks they choose to outsource, however, are subject to almost as much change. As 2015 draws to a close, it’s a good time to assess where we are, as it pertains to what ops can handle in-house and what they have to pass along to someone on the outside. Craig Leshen, President of OAO, is the sort of person who can speak authoritatively about the year’s biggest trends in ops outsourcing, and what ops teams might need to outsource in 2015. AdMonsters Publisher Rob Beeler sat down with him for a conversation that shows, as Leshen says, how important ops has become, and how ops continues to grow in its significance and responsibilities within organizations. Rob Beeler: Craig, it’s that time year again, when people are budgeting for next year, and I always find more people in our community bringing up outsourcing as a topic of discussion. I know back in the day I had to plan ahead to see what I might consider outsourcing, keep in house or frankly push off another year. My first question: What were the hot outsourcing topics for 2015?Craig Leshen: The main request in 2015 continued to be for managed services support for directly sold campaigns.  While it’s nowhere near as talked about in the press as programmatic media buying, directly sold deals still drive a very significant amount of revenue for both premium and non-premium publishers.  The need for a managed services ad ops team to handle campaign implementation, QA, and overall... read more

Knowing what it takes to excel with Google publishing solutions: OAO selected as one of Google’s Certified Publishing Partners

As one of Google’s Certified Publishing Partners, OAO can help your business thrive. Google selected us for this program based on our proven expertise in DoubleClick for Publishers, DoubleClick AdExchange, and Google AdSense. We’ll help you monetize your sites — and earn as much as possible from every impression — as we provide you with campaign management, reporting, programmatic, and advisory services, along with deep analytics and insights using our proprietary iAdOps platform,  resulting in improved results across the board. Better results through proven expertise Why choose a certified partner? Because every day we help publishers like you set up ads, manage and optimize them, and analyze the results. We handle the details so you’re free to spend your time on what you do best: creating great content for your site. In fact, Google has provided us with a badge, so that you as a publisher can trust us as a Certified Publishing Partner. Define your business strategy—and get the help you need We can help make online advertising work harder and smarter for you. We’ll learn about your unique publishing needs and then help you with: Ad trafficking Campaign management Programmatic management Creative implementation & QA Inventory reporting and forecasting Campaign reporting 3rd party reporting Workflow management Ad tag architecture Ad server set up and migrations Consulting and technical support Platform integrations Custom report development Creative template design Ad product testing Google created the Certified Publishing Partner program to help its publishers grow and flourish. We’re proud to be one of the select few agencies recognized by Google for our cross-product expertise. Ready to get started? Let’s talk... read more

OAO and AdMonsters: The Allure of Audience Extension

When I last spoke with Craig Leshen, President of OAO, he was helping explain that programmatic isn’t automatic – there’s still a lot of manual work that goes into these new systems. While they have helped to simplify certain functions, in many ways these systems have added to the complexity of the ad operations role by creating additional tasks and knowledge sets required to do the job. Craig and I recently caught up and we decided to explore the flip side of this equation – Rob Beeler: What is an example of something that has become easier for ad operations? Craig Leshen: The process of implementing audience extension campaigns has become much more streamlined over the years and is a terrific way to target ads to users. It’s a type of targeting that has always had enormous potential but continues to be drastically under-utilized. Audience extension allows publishers to deploy targeted advertising campaigns to their users anywhere online by identifying them as users of their content. Another way of saying this would be that publishers can sell more inventory to advertisers, targeted to their users, without having to create additional advertising space on their own online properties. You can read the full article here: You can also learn more about Audience Extension here: ... read more

OAO and AdMonsters: Programmatic is far from Automatic

It Ain’t Automatic:  The Manual Side of Programmatic Ask someone to explain what “programmatic” is and they will invariably use the word “automation.” Makes sense, but automation for whom? For buyers, programmatic platforms certainly automate the purchasing of media across sites. For sellers, programmatic brings hundreds if not thousands of buyers their way without sales having to pick up the phone. But let’s not forget that much of programmatic is not automatic yet. Operations is still left holding the bag with a number of manual tasks in this not-quite-automated process. I asked Craig Leshen, President of OAO for his thoughts on the matter: “At OAO, each of our clients have specific rules and requirements for managing monetization. There’s no ‘one-system-to-rule-them-all,’ which works perfectly and achieves 100% fill at the desired CPM level. Therefore publishers may elect to utilize a variety of monetization partners to help fill unsold inventory across multiple platforms (desktop, mobile, web, mobile apps, etc).  Each monetization partner has their own system, which requires time for the publisher’s ad ops team to learn and then manage on a daily basis. “To help illustrate just how far from automatic programmatic actually is, we decided to create an infographic outlining the monetization management responsibilities handled by ad ops on an ongoing basis.” You can read the full article here: You can also learn more about Managing Monetization here: ... read more

OAO and AdMonsters Sit Down to Discuss "The History of Ops"

The History of Ops, Part I “This industry is literally 20 years old,” comments Michael Alania, EVP at Outsourced Ad Ops and witness to the at-times insanely rapid evolution of digital advertising and the operations role at its core. “You look at where we are now versus where we’ve come from, it’s pretty staggering. And with how quickly technology is developing and evolving, you have to wonder where we’ll be in another 20 years.” It’s something to ruminate on, and fortunately I am in a room full of ruminators – Alania, OAO Founder and President Craig Leshen, who began his career in ops back in 1996 at Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, and AdMonsters Content Czar Rob Beeler, who gained his ops laurels while deep in the Advance Internet (now Advance Digital) stack. Over coffee and pastries, they are taking a trip back to the days before third-party ad servers, and when hacking was standard operating procedure. I’ve been allowed to sit in and take notes, occasionally nagging for more details about the distant past – which just so happens to have taken place in the blink of an eye. Click here to read the full article: You can also learn more about The Job of Ad Ops here: ... read more
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