Once upon a time, "optimisation" in the online advertising world was firmly viewed as the domain and responsibility of the advertising operations team. The direct sales team would secure the deal and the ad ops team would deliver it. However, the changing nature of online advertising, the rise of new technologies, and the increasing demands by advertisers for campaign success means optimisation is becoming a central component of any advertising campaign.
Whereas in the past each department had their own responsibilities with little crossover or liaison, today the whole process needs to be viewed holistically at the start of any campaign by both the sales teams and ad operations. The reality is that all the time and effort spent during the sales process means nothing until revenue is realised and this only occurs once impressions are delivered. As a result, campaign optimisation has important revenue implications for all publishers and needs to be considered as a commercial tool.
When it comes to optimisation, more often than not the assumption of the advertiser (and many publisher sales teams) is that every campaign will be monitored and adjusted to ensure it delivers its goal. However, the reality is that only around 20 percent of campaigns are optimised. Optimisation has traditionally been manual in nature; thus publishers have found it difficult to effectively process the sheer volume of campaigns being run. This, alongside the other daily demands upon the ad operations team involved in managing their campaigns, means that it is almost impossible to optimise every campaign.
So why is it so important to optimise all campaigns? Improving campaign performance, reducing under and over delivery issues, and ensuring a campaign achieves its objective are all driven by optimisation. If every campaign delivers to its objective, advertisers are much more likely to stay with their provider and, ultimately, spend more with them. Generating the results they are looking for will attract a greater proportion of their budgets as they seek to invest in channels that deliver. On the flipside, if campaigns fail to achieve their goals, not only is short-term revenue impacted but longer-term revenues may also be put at risk as publishers face being removed from future media plans.
Optimisation also provides the digital industry with a further opportunity to attract more brand dollars online. No longer is it just acceptable to be able to optimise based on performance campaigns such as Click-Through Rate (CTR) or Cost per Action (CPA). Now there is a commercial need to ensure a campaign can be optimised using the new branding metrics such as interaction and viewability, so a publisher is also able to attract these brand budgets and offer advertising environments that can deliver to an advertiser's specific criteria for success - whatever those criteria may be.
In a world of technology platforms and algorithms, optimisation can also help enhance and strengthen direct relations with advertisers. The ability to optimise and hit stated goals should be a central selling point for a business, and core to every discussion that a sales team has with its advertisers. Demonstrating what action has been taken to improve a campaign and the beneficial impact these decisions have made creates the need to revert to clients, highlighting the support they are receiving and reassuring them their campaigns are on track. All this has a positive impact on client relationships, as they will view the business as a trusted partner with a clear competitive edge.
While it is critical to expand optimisation beyond the ad ops teams, it's also important that the sales team engage with ad ops early in a campaign's life cycle: success is driven by collaboration across the business to make online campaigns perform effectively. Leveraging the experiences and expertise of the ad ops team can help develop new strategies to achieve a client's goals, and keep advertisers coming back to spend more with the business.
Time spent on post-sale optimisation strategies is just as important as pre-sales activity and there is growing recognition of the commercial benefits optimisation delivers. Publishers should be looking at technologies that improve their optimisation capabilities so they can enhance all campaigns and take advantage of all the revenue opportunities that come their way from advertisers.
No longer should optimisation simply be seen as a tactical activity that resides with ad operations - getting the sales team involved allows everyone to see the bigger picture and understand the importance of optimisation for ultimate campaign success.