In-House vs. Outsourced Ad Ops. What to Choose?

July 6, 2021

Outsourcing ad ops is quite a common business practice today. It allows companies to be more productive and cost-effective by entrusting certain processes and operations to third-party firms specializing in this field. 


We know that digital advertising is quite a chaotic and ever-changing market, so it should come as no surprise that outsourcing digital ad operations is getting increasingly popular among both publishers and advertisers. 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. 


Today we are going to take a look at several key aspects of ad operations outsourcing. The goal is to provide you with basic knowledge and information to help you make this decision. 

What is digital ad operations? 


Clearly, ‘digital ad operations’ is quite a broad term. It refers 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


Ad operations teams collaborate with their clients, publishers or advertisers, to manage all the processes related to ad campaigns, in the publisher’s case obviously aiming to maximize the ad revenues (without damaging user experience). 


Here are some of the most typical responsibilities of an ad operations team: 


  • Ad inventory audit


  • Ad performance optimization


  • Demand management


  • Yield management


  • Preventing invalid traffic and other potentially damaging activity


  • Ad trafficking


  • Vendor management


  • Billing and technical operations


  • Campaign performance analytics and reports


Benefits of outsourcing your ad operations 


There are multiple reasons publishers are outsourcing their ad operations. Here are some of the most significant benefits of such a decision. 


  • Low costs and better ROI compared to in-house ad ops team. 


In most cases it is considerably more expensive to hire full time ad operations specialists in-house. Hiring full time staff is often more difficult and time-consuming. It includes recruiting the right candidates, onboarding, training and other stages of the hiring process. There are also additional costs associated with risks of hiring a wrong candidate, unexpected termination, and etc. 


Outsourcing ad ops teams often delivers better ROI by providing specialized expertise and knowledge capable of boosting a publisher’s ad revenues. 


  • Improved efficiency and reduced workload. 


Outsourcing ad ops is also a great way to save time and reduce the number of tasks your team has to deal with on a daily basis. Reduced workload can improve efficiency and greater productivity as each team member has more time and energy for other types of work. 


  • Technical expertise and reliable professional knowledge. 


Reputable ad ops outsourcing firms usually employ highly experienced programmatic ads experts, traffickers, and campaign managers who already have worked with many clients previously and possess first-hand knowledge and expertise of latest tools and practices in the industry. This can significantly boost the technical quality of your ad operations. 


  • Continuous monitoring and revenue optimization. 


If your ad operation tema is large enough, then most likely they require constant monitoring in order to timely react and eliminate arising issues. Outsourcing companies typically provide 24/7 monitoring and coverage, as well as continuous optimization of your ad inventory. 


  • Full control and trackability. 


Most ad ops outsourcing companies provide their clients with timely reports containing comprehensive data which can be used to improve and make adjustments in your general strategy or implement new solutions and approaches. 


Outsourced vs. in-house ad ops 


When it comes to choosing between outsourcing your ad operations and having an in-house team doing this work, both approaches come with their set of pros and cons. Having an in-house ad operations team could provide you with a number of benefits as well. Such as the ability to support even a highly intensive work with lots of deals coming through multiple advertising platforms, agencies and exchanges. 


Despite that, today even large publishers and advertisers maintaining some in-house teams still occasionally use outsourcing ad ops companies as a way to get access to specialized expertise and additional resources. 


Talking about running your ad operations using an in-house team exclusively, here are a few major disadvantages and risks of this approach. 


  • Delays and slower processes.


Various hiring processes, from initial recruiting to onboarding and training, can take a lot of time, months typically. It can significantly affect the work of an in-house ad ops team. 


  • High costs.


Naturally, maintaining a team of full time employees could end up being a heavy financial burden for a company. Especially considering that digital advertising operations typically include a number of time-consuming regular tasks which need a number of specialists to perform.  


  • Difficult to find and keep talent. 


With the ‘talent gap’ widening all across the technology industry, ad tech is not an exception. It can be difficult for a company to find, hire and keep qualified and expertised employees for a long enough time period. 


Is it 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. 


  1. Problems with ad campaign optimization


  1. Large number of demand partners that are difficult to manage


  1. You feel the need to focus on content or some other core tasks


  1. Failed to achieve an efficiency and ad revenue boost without external help


  1. Technical challenges are destructing and tiring


  1. Failed to find talent for an in-house team


  1. Need access to advanced ad tech solutions


  1. Maintaining an in-house ad ops team is too expensive



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 🙂