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How to Choose the Right Ad Operations Platform

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Written by Nick Pataro

Published: 01/29/2024

Are you shopping around for an ad operations platform for your business?

Every click and impression counts, collectively forming the backbone of profitability for publishers and ad revenue-based businesses.

And having a way to effectively manage, measure, and plan these actions can make or break your ad operations strategy. That’s where an ad operations platform comes in.

But with so many ad operations platforms on the market, how do you choose the right one? Start with understanding “why you need an ad ops platform” in the first place.

An ad operations (ad ops) platform is not just a tool; it’s a strategic asset that streamlines processes, optimizes ad campaigns, and sharpens your competitive edge.

In this article, we’ll guide you through choosing the right ad operations platform for your business. From publishers to advertisers, we’ll cover the key factors that should be considered before deciding.

What is an Ad Operations Platform?

An ad operations platform is a comprehensive suite of tools designed to manage and optimize digital advertising campaigns. It typically includes features such as ad serving, campaign management, reporting and analytics, creative management, and more.

This type of software aims to streamline the entire advertising process, from campaign planning and delivery to performance tracking and analysis. This saves time and resources and helps businesses make data-driven decisions for better campaign results.

Key Considerations for Choosing an Ad Operations Platform

Compatibility with Existing Systems

Ensuring a seamless integration with your current infrastructure is of utmost importance. It is crucial to thoroughly evaluate whether a potential ad ops platform can effectively and harmoniously work with the existing systems and processes that you have in place.

Taking the time to assess compatibility and consider all aspects will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your organization’s needs and goals.

Scalability and Flexibility

“Watch the little things; a small leak will sink a great ship,” warned Benjamin Franklin, and he couldn’t be more accurate regarding scalability.

The right ad ops platform grows with you, handling increased demand and shifting strategies without buckling under pressure.

But if enough small things – or things that aren’t quite right – with your platform go unresolved, they can quickly pile up and become a major hindrance to future growth.

For example, as your business grows, you may have to expand into new markets or incorporate different ad formats. Your chosen ad ops platform should be able to accommodate these changes and support new requirements, ad placements, and channels without causing any disruptions to your workflow.

Feature Set and Capabilities

Thoroughly assess the features of the ad ops system you’re considering. From inventory management to campaign optimization, ensure the platform meets your daily demands.

But that doesn’t mean the platform you choose has to have everything you need right out of the box.
A good choice of provider will be willing to work with you and your unique needs to develop custom solutions that address any gaps or challenges in their current feature set.

No two businesses are the same, and neither should your ad ops software. Trying to fit a round peg into a square hole never works out well.

Integration with Ad Networks and Exchanges

The platform should offer streamlined integrations with multiple ad networks and exchanges, expanding your reach and simplifying transactions.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but there are plenty of options out there requiring users to create elaborate spreadsheets or use other roundabout methods to get their ads where they need to be.

Don’t settle for complicated processes and manual workarounds that waste your time and cause headaches. Choose an ad ops platform with established connections to your frequently used ad networks, saving countless hours in the long run.

Data Analytics and Reporting Capabilities

Your data will always be your most reliable advisor.

Go for a platform that offers comprehensive analytics and reporting functions, giving you insights to execute data-driven decisions.

Ask if the platform offers customizable data and reporting options, allowing you to focus on the metrics that matter most to your business.

Understanding Your Needs and Goals

Assessing Your Business Requirements

Dig deep into your business operations to establish what you really need from an ad operations platform.

Does your strategy hinge on real-time bidding, direct sales, programmatic advertising, or a mix?

The platform you choose should cater to these needs aptly.

Identifying Your Specific Goals and Objectives

Your ad ops platform should align closely with your organizational objectives.

Whether it’s maximizing ad revenue or elevating user engagement, choose a platform that propels these goals forward.

Your ad operations platform should be a tool for helping you reach your business goals. Therefore, it should be flexible and adaptable, allowing you to pivot and adjust your strategies as needed – not the other way around.

If you find your planning restricted by the limitations of your platform, it’s time to reevaluate and potentially make a change.

Evaluating Your Budget and Resources

When it comes to budget considerations, it’s crucial to analyze and evaluate the best return on investment carefully.

Consider not only the financial resources available but also the human resources you are willing to allocate to your ad ops platform.

Researching and Comparing Options

Conducting a Thorough Market Analysis

Enter the market armed with knowledge. A robust research stage will underpin all subsequent decisions regarding your ad ops platform choice.

Gathering Information on Different Ad Operations Platforms

Don’t just scratch the surface; delve into the details of each platform. Make comprehensive feature comparisons, performance benchmarks, and evaluate ease of use.

Reading Reviews and Customer Testimonials

The experiences of others can be instructive. Seek out independent reviews and customer testimonials to gauge the effectiveness and reliability of the platforms you’re considering.

Requesting Demos and Trials

Experience beats speculation. Request demos and engage in trials to get a first-hand feel of the platforms’ capabilities and their fit for your business.

Making a Decision

Creating a Shortlist of Potential Platforms

Armed with research, narrow your options down to a shortlist of the most promising candidates that meet your criteria.

Evaluating the Pros and Cons of Each Option

Weigh each platform’s strengths against its limitations. How does each stack up against your strategic, operational, and budgetary needs?

Considering the Long-term Scalability and Future Needs

Future-proof your decision by thinking long-term. Will your potential platform match your business’s growth trajectory and evolving needs?

Seeking Feedback from Industry Peers or Experts

Consult with industry peers or seek expert opinions. Their insights can provide invaluable context and inform your decision-making process.

Implementing and Optimizing the Chosen Platform

Planning the Implementation Process

A well-planned rollout is critical. Develop a comprehensive implementation plan that includes milestones and timelines.

Training and Onboarding Teams

Human capital is your most valuable asset. Invest in thorough training and onboarding processes to update your team with the new system.

Testing and Optimizing Performance

Fine-tune your operations. Conduct iterative testing and optimize the platform’s performance to ensure you get the most out of its capabilities.

Continuously Monitoring and Improving Results

Stay vigilant and proactive. Regularly monitor the platform’s results and continually seek out improvements.

Getting Started with an Ad Operations Platform

Choosing the right ad operations platform is a dense task lined with significant decisions. Each step—from compatibility checks and feature assessments to planning and implementation—requires careful thought and consideration.

Your diligence in selecting a platform according to the guidelines we’ve outlined ensures that your final choice is not just adequate but a catalyst for your business’s ad revenue optimization.

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