Is It Time to Overhaul Your Ad Operations Workflow?

Established brands and new players tapping into ad monetization can reap the benefits of automation

It’s hard not to get excited by announcements like Planet Fitness entering the retail media network space with the launch of its PF Media Network because it’s an example of an excellent opportunity for brands to reach and engage consumers in a new environment.

So, how can the ad-tech industry encourage more brands to enter the ad monetization space and ensure they adopt best-in-class solutions and workflows for success? It’s an urgent question now that Google has started third-party cookie deprecation. To start, the industry needs to open new channels for brands to engage with consumers, as well as improve the ad buying and selling workflow.

Move beyond outsourcing

The operational workflow of buying and selling ad space is notoriously inefficient, overly complex and needlessly manual. It’s enough to make any potential seller ask, “How do we get this thing running with all this complexity?” And agencies who run the campaigns may wonder if the new channel is easy to fit within their media delivery requirements.

While it’s true that there are myriad steps to the process, many are necessary. After all, buyers have exacting standards with regard to brand suitability and safety, consumers have expectations for privacy, and the media seller has a vision for what constitutes a bespoke experience for their audiences and advertising partners. How can new, non-traditional media sellers deliver cost-efficient and friction-free campaigns, and report back to their clients how their ads were rendered to their audience?

In the past, brands turned to outsourcing as a quick fix to complex advertising workflow challenges that were out of their domain of expertise. While outsourcing ad operations to bridge the gap in the operational workflow may offer a great deal of advantages (including access to teams that have experience in executing and optimizing campaigns), it also presents challenges and continues to rely on manual work. Many potential media sellers don’t have the time to manage an outsourcing provider, for instance. Fortunately, they don’t need to.

Solve with automation

There is a plethora of new technologies that have since come to market, including advances in AI, that allow the reimagination of the media transaction process. Because of this, brands and their agencies can streamline and automate the process, and even redefine the roles of the ad ops team.

This allows new entrants like the Planet Fitnesses of the world to take a fresh look at end-to-end advertising workflow and leverage best practices and best-in-class technology to tap new revenue streams without the associated inefficiencies. Being a new kid on the block isn’t always easy, but it can give such brands a critical advantage when competing against well-established players. They don’t have the weight of legacy systems on their shoulders. They can adopt solutions that streamline the value chain, enabling them to punch above their weight class.

Also, take note: Even if you’re in the media selling or buying space already, you can still benefit from an operations overhaul, or a hybrid setup with point solutions that streamline the most time-consuming, error-prone and tedious steps.

Take, for instance, all the workflow steps in the post-campaign sales process: spec Q/A, campaign optimization, campaign reporting and providing ad screenshots. In a legacy environment, these steps are critical, and as of today they remain largely solved for manually by outsourcing. Fortunately, there are multiple ad-tech solutions available in the market that reduce these steps to a few simple button clicks.

For many, campaign ad screenshots are considered a key deliverable and requirement in ensuring a high level of service for the advertiser, yet they continue to be time-consuming. This is precisely the kind of task many agencies and media sellers hire outsourcing teams to handle. And it’s also a prime example of a critical task that can be automated. Thus it saves time, increases value and even democratizes the service so more advertising clients, regardless of size, can benefit from experiencing “white glove” service when the task becomes part of a streamlined workflow setup.

AI technology can’t (and should not) eliminate humans in the ad buying and selling workflow, but it can vastly improve the process of highly repetitive tasks (like taking campaign ad screenshots and formatting them in a report). The digital advertising workflow is poised for automation, and many of the most challenging steps have already been solved to replace the legacy ways of doing things. By eliminating the heavy lifting, brands can launch cost-effective offerings while enjoying a significant competitive edge.

With more streamlined solutions available in the marketplace, there’s a more appealing opportunity for brands with a deep knowledge of their audiences to step up and offer meaningful engagement opportunities for advertisers. It’s hard not to be optimistic about the future.

Daniel Opler is the CEO and co-founder at Adwallet. With more than 10 years of experience in ad tech, Opler’s company specializes in developing ad-tech solutions focused on solving manual processes for ad operations across publishers, retailers and ad agencies.