Everything You Need to Know About Digital Ad Operations

April 6, 2022

In today’s world, almost all online publishers rely heavily on digital ad operations to generate income. Digital ad ops became especially relevant for publishers in the last several years when programmatic solutions are getting increasingly widespread. Even though programmatic ads platforms are able to automate many processes, implementing and managing them still requires a lot of manual work done by human experts. 

The concept of digital ad ops, however, remains relatively unknown and often misunderstood. This is why today we would like to talk about and explain which processes and activities are considered to be part of digital ad operations. 


What is digital ad ops? 


‘Digital ad operations’ (also sometimes called ‘online ad operations’, ‘ad ops’ or ‘programmatic ad operations’) refers to a variety of processes, systems and tools used for implementation, management and delivery of digital ads. Naturally, digital ad ops comprise all digital advertising technologies and formats, including programmatic advertising, video ads, banner and rich media ads, context textual ads, mobile ads, in-game ads, etc.

In everyday speech, ‘digital ad ops’, as a term is most commonly used to describe workflow processes related to the sales and delivery of online ads, software solutions and systems utilized to support all this, as well as people working in this niche. 

As you can see, ‘digital ad ops’ don’t have one strict definition. It can refer to everything related to planning, establishing, managing and executing the sales and delivery of advertising using various platforms and tools, such as DSPs (demand-side platforms), SSPs (supply-side platforms), ad exchanges, DMPs (data management platforms) and other parts of the ad tech stack.

Typically, digital ad ops within an organization are performed by a dedicated team or even department. Most commonly, digital ad ops teams/departments are required by online publishers, programmatic technology providers, digital ad platforms and SaaS solutions, ad agencies, and some other types of companies that are active in this field. 

The responsibilities of digital ad ops specialists typically include everything related to implementing, testing, running and managing technologies and solutions. Both on the sell-side and buy-side of digital advertising, of course. 

In this article, however, we are primarily talking about the sell-side. Or, in other worlds, what digital ad operations mean for publishers. 


What is part of the digital ad ops ecosystem? 


Digital ad ops companies, departments and teams are typically handling a large variety of tasks and objectives. Here are some of the main responsibilities of digital ad ops specialists.


  • Handling programmatic advertising solutions and ad servers.

Digital ad ops teams are responsible for all the technical aspects of implementing programmatic advertising solutions and serving ads on publisher’s websites. This often includes the need to setup and manage ad servers. 


  • Ad trafficking.

So-called ad trafficking is another major aspect of digital ad ops. It includes the processes of adding publisher’s ad inventory to various programmatic advertising platforms, setting up bidding prices and customizable elements, and other activities aimed to generate maximum impressions and clicks. Ad traffickers are also typically responsible for choosing the best user segmentation and targeting options, as well as measuring impression volumes, creating reports, etc. 


  • Troubleshooting ad operations issues.

Handing all kinds of problems and errors that occur in the process of seeing programmatic ads is also a responsibility of digital ad ops specialists. They are fixing technical issues such as, for example, digital ads slowing down publisher’s websites, ad placements damaging website UI, sudden drops in ad viewability, and so on. 


Keeping an eye on main KPIs and real-time ad sales reports in order to be able to quickly spot problems is also a part of this job. 


  • Ad sales process and ad revenue optimization. 

We just had a whole new article on ad revenue optimization posted. When it comes to digital ad ops, the optimization of ad sales and programmatic technologies is essential to many publishers as it is one of the key ways to maximize ad revenues. Digital ad ops experts need to perform various activities for ad revenue optimization. They include the integration of DMP (data management platforms), pulling inventories for RFPs, analyzing demand partners, running audience extension campaigns, testing new tags, etc. 


  • Demand management.

In the case of big and reputable publishers, who have high demand for their ad inventory from the market, demand management is another important part of digital ad ops. Demand management mostly includes adding and removing demand sources, communications with the demand side, keeping track of performance and so on. 


  • Yield management.

Yield management is also an aspect of digital ad operations that certainly should be mentioned. Even though probably only large publishers have designated yield management teams, the need to constantly look for ways to increase ad revenues is relevant to all publishers. In short, the activity of yield managers is focused on finding techniques and methods to boost revenue generation through digital advertising sales. 


In-house vs. outsourced digital ad ops 


We had a separate article posted on the differences between in-house and outsourced digital ad ops. Here’s a quick recap. 

Publishers typically have lots of responsibilities, especially if they run websites with massive audiences and millions of pageviews. In such cases managing various parts of ad tech stack and working on ads optimization can be difficult. And outsourcing ad operations is a potential solution to this problem. It delivers measurable results such as revenue growth and improved CTR. 

 When a publisher needs organizing and managing ad ops, the alternative to outsourcing this work would be hiring an in-house ops team, which can be expensive, so only relatively big businesses can afford it. The fact that programmatic advertising space gets increasingly complex and skill-demanding, many publishers prefer to outsource ad operations work to a third-party service provider. 


  • How to tell when it’s time to outsource your ad operations? 

How to tell when it’s time to look for an ad ops outsourcing partner? Let’s look at a number of factors that can be viewed by a publisher as reasons to do that. 


  • Problems with ad campaign optimization,
  • Large number of demand partners that are difficult to manage,
  • You feel the need to focus on content or some other core tasks,
  • Failed to achieve an efficiency and ad revenue boost without external help,
  • Technical challenges are destructing and tiring,
  • Failed to find talent for an in-house team,
  • Need access to advanced ad tech solutions,
  • Maintaining an in-house ad ops team is too expensive.


Final words 


Some of the above-mentioned challenges sound familiar? Then maybe it’s time to outsource the ad operations to professionals and focus on your core income-generating activities. 

pubGENIUS’ ad ops specialists are well-versed in the best practices and trends of the industry. We will make sure that your websites are optimized and your ad inventory is set up and operating with maximum capacity at all times. 


Get in touch with pubGENIUS Team to get free consultation 🙂