Ad operations teams are the lifeblood of any publisher organization that relies on advertising as a revenue source. These individuals work on the front lines of a complex ad tech ecosystem that is constantly evolving, pushing them into new challenges and opportunities on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, they are often mired in technical hiccups and manual reporting woes that serve as a constant drain on their energy and time. The role of ad ops is often misunderstood or underrepresented. These challenges make finding and keeping top ad ops talent an important issue for publishers, as training and burnout are constant hurdles. It’s vital that leadership understands the value that skilled ad ops individuals can bring so they can not only find and retain talent, but also empower them with internal processes and communication.
To help organizations facing hiring challenges, we put together the top 3 skills to look for in the ad ops individual of the present, as well as the top 3 skills of the future.
3 Key Ad Ops Skills to Look For Today
Today’s ad ops all stars are dedicated to ensuring that campaigns are run optimally. This relies on extensive skills around data organization and analysis that helps them fix issues that would slip by the untrained eye. However, the best ad ops talent is able to look beyond spreadsheets to streamline workflows and collaborate with others on maximizing revenue.
1. Analyze Data in Real Time AnalysisExecuting campaigns, optimizing placements and fulfilling ad quality requirements. All of these daily tasks require ad ops professionals to synthesize data and make decisions based on what they see. The quicker and more easily that they can do so, the more smoothly your organization can operate its advertising business.
2. Scrutinize Workflows to Build Better ProcessesA key issue for ad ops teams and publisher organizations is how time consuming essential tasks can be. Manual reporting, spreadsheet management and site optimizations take hours of time each day to complete, limiting what the team can accomplish on a strategic level. Ad ops superstars are not only able to traverse these limitations, but to also design more efficient ways to get this portion of the work done so that they can move onto more revenue-generating initiatives.
3. Collaborate Instinctually with Other RolesWhile many ad ops job descriptions ask people to optimize campaigns and revenue within their own department, the most skilled of them can take this a step further. Product, engineering and sales teams benefit from a proactive collaborator in the ad ops role, as they provide needed data transparency and context that empowers other initiatives. In many cases, these departments “don’t know what they don’t know” when it comes to advertising data. Top ad ops professionals know when the data they’re seeing can lead to collaboration opportunities elsewhere in the organization.
3 Skills to Prepare for the Future of Ad Ops
Ad ops is always changing based on the tools, advertisers and platforms that are introduced to the industry. While there is immense value in the pioneering skills that make ad ops successful, leaders must also consider the skills that will allow their department to be agile moving forward.
1. Ability to Manage Automated ProcessesMany ad ops teams are limited by time. Custom data tables, manual reporting methods and in-house software have allowed ad ops professionals to remain agile in a changing ecosystem. Need is rising for many of these processes to be automated. As ad tech grows in complexity, the best teams will work to free up their time spent updating spreadsheets to accomplish more revenue-generating goals. Future-thinking talent must be prepared to evaluate tech stacks and optimize them toward automations and ease-of-use.
2. Putting Complex Data Into ContextThe data that ad ops sits with each day is extremely important to the entire media organization. Colleagues in sales, engineering, product, and leadership all benefit from access to this data, but only when it’s customized for their role and KPIs. Talented ad ops teams can put their data in context for various different groups, powering more informed decision-making processes. Individuals should be able to translate complex data sets and insights, adding context for those that need it.
3. Act on Strategic InstinctsThrough both software and process improvements, ad ops people will need the ability to step back and see things at a higher level. There are many moving parts, data points and optimization opportunities to consider each day, making it important to see the signal through the noise. From there, ad ops needs to be able to explain opportunities and challenges to members of other departments through data that’s presented with necessary context. This makes sure your entire organization is better positioned to spot trends over time, to better analyze buyers and maximize campaign revenue.
The evolution of ad ops is happening across the industry as software and processes shift. Core skills must evolve with the industry without losing the core competencies teams rely on. The importance of ad ops as those individuals closest to your advertising data will only continue to grow. By considering both modern and future skill sets in their talent search, leaders can ensure that they are building the best advertising operations department possible.
What have you learned about ad ops skills that people should know about? We want to hear from you!