Online publishers rely heavily on digital ad operations companies for revenue generation. After all, what good is a quality website if it’s not making you any money?

If your primary source of revenue is through advertisements and you seek the most cost effective option then the importance of DAO is even greater to you.

The digital revolution has not just arrived, it has well and truly settled in. Traditional communications channels have mutated, fragmented and diversified to create a spectrum of media experiences that give consumers unparalleled options and freedom of choice. – Cate Connolly, consumer insights manager, Universal McCann London.

What is Digital Ad Operations

Digital Ad Operations (DAO) refers to the systems and processes that support the management and delivery of advertisements through digital mediums. These are, but only limited to – websites, email banner ads, SMS, apps, etc.

DAO can also be considered as a department that is directly responsible for revenue generation thorough ad campaigns.

Ad Operations Aspects

Ad operations involve different kinds of tasks:

Trafficking: As the name suggests, it involves monitoring and delivery across ad exchanges, tracking 3rd party ad tags from different vendors, and also performing troubleshooting when necessary.

Scheduling: Timing of ads also plays an important part in the success of an ad campaign. Thus, some ads are made active for certain hours of a day, and others for different. For instance, special days such as holidays, weekends, etc. also contribute towards efficient Ad scheduling.

Image Source: wordstream.com

The graph above projects the CPA (cost per action/cost per acquisition) data of a certain B2B business. As it is noticeable, the CPA is lower during the standard business hours – 9 AM to 6 PM. However, other non B2B industries such as home improvement tend to get lower CPA during the weekends, the time when their target clients – the homemakers, are more active on the Internet.

Optimization: Ads needs to be polished, SEO optimized, and altered according to the trends and changing standards. There are many other factors that improve the CTC (cost to click) factor, which include the location of the banners itself. Depending on the layout of a certain website some spots on the pages may suit better for the ad displays than others.

Image Source: business2community.com

The image above shows how ad placement can make a big difference in optimization. However, the structure may not be applicable for all websites, as ads have to optimized differently for different websites.

Ad Publishing and Campaign Management

Good Advertising does not just circulate information. It penetrates the public mind with desires and belief. — William Bernbach, Agency Founder, Doyle Dane Bernbach

Successful ad campaigns demand careful planning, and calculated actions. The following are the basic steps for a good campaign:

  • Setting the Objective: Before starting anything it is important to have a clear goal associated with the campaign. Is it increased revenue? Is it brand promotion? Is it both? Unless this is established you must not proceed further.
  • Selecting Media for Message Delivery: There are a lot of platforms for reaching the target audience: email banners, social media, video content based websites, etc. Depending on the ad message the most suitable medium has to be decided.
  • Creating the Message: The entire campaign should be centred around one strong message, which also should be very clear.
  • Evaluating Results and Making Changes: Post the release of a campaign the results have to be analyzed, and used for reconfiguring the campaign.

Keywords and Optimization

With the multitude of websites rising in all kinds of niches today, it is becoming harder and harder to stand out from the rest. The same has also made keyword optimization super important for any ad campaign.

Say, if you are using Google Adwords for your advertisement campaign, then you can use the following optimization techniques:

Learning and Adapting: It is most unlikely for anyone to start with a perfect ad campaign. In most cases you will need to get back to the drawing board again and again. Suppose you started with this ad group:

  1. Cheap iPhones
  2. Low price iPhones
  3. Affordable iPhones
  4. Discounted iPhones

After a week you analyze the results and notice that the keywords “cheap” and “low price” have got the maximum click-rate. You can thus focus on them now. The new ad group could be something like:

  1. Cheap original iPhones
  2. New iPhones at Cheap prices
  3. Affordable iPhones for cheap
  4. Discounted cheap iPhones

Mobile Optimization

Mobile is the future, and there is no such thing as communication overload — Eric Schmidt (Google)

Mobiles have become the primary devices used by the people for accessing Internet. The mobile phone Internet user penetration is also increasing by each passing day.

Image Source: statista.com

This, it is important that you optimize your ads for mobile devices too, as they have smaller screens that won’t work well for large banner ads. A good way to optimize for mobiles is to use anchor ads that are provided by Google AdSense. These ads anchor to the bottom of the mobile screen when the user scrolls up or down.

Tools and Platforms to Use

To maximize revenue through your ad campaigns it is essential that you have a decent toolkit in place. There are a variety of powerful softwares and platforms that you can use, for free in most cases.

Video Editing Tools

Video ads are becomingly increasingly popular and effective, especially on social media platforms such as Facebook. In fact, since June 2014, Facebook has averaged more than 1 billion video views every day.

Thus, video ads should be an integral part of your advertisement campaign, and to make these ads you need tools.

  • Nutshell: It is a simple app that allows you to take three photos and convert them into a simple ad video.
  • Animoto: Animoto is a simple yet effective tool for video ad creation. It takes 3 simple steps to create one- 1) pick a style for your video 2) Add images, video clips, text, and a song. 3) Product the video, and optionally share it on your social media handles, or websites.

Video Tag Validators

You need a reliable video tag validator to ensure that your video ads function without any problems. For instance, Tremor’s Video VAST/VPAID Tag Validator allows you to test and verify the expected behaviours of a specific ad tag. You can use it for different kinds of video players, and compare banner ad sizes to optimize your website accordingly.

Google VAST Inspector

The Google VAST (Video Ad Serving Template) Inspector is a handy tool that allows you to verify your video ads. It allows you to enter the video URL to monitor its working.

HTML Code Cleaner

Incorporating ad snippets in your HTML code can make it look messy rather easily. You can thus a decent HTML code cleaner that will clean up your code in a jiff, making it more manageable. Some good options include DirtyMarkUp, HTMLTidy, etc.

Ad Networks Other than Google and Facebook

Most people know of only Google and Facebook when it comes to ad networks. However, there are a number of other excellent options too. Some of these are:

  • Yllix Media: If you are looking for a variety of monetization options, and a good CPM then Yllix Media is a nice option. It offers sliders, full page ads, mobile redirections, and many other options.
  • Media.net: If you are looking for something that looks similar to Adsense then Media.net is a great option. It is one of the most popular ad networks in the world, with over 500 employees under it.
  • PopAds: One of the reasons to choose PopAds is their good rates, for sure. Other reason is their quick setting of ads. Plus, they release payments for you on a daily basis, as long as the earnings are greater than $5.

Digital Ad Ops doesn’t have to be complicated. The key is to get a good understanding of all the aspects associated with it before you jump in with both feet. Once you have learned the basics of its foundation, you can easily make your way up from there.

This is a guest post by Anshul Motwani, founder and CEO at WittyPen.com, he frequently speaks on content marketing and advertising, has worked with multiple startups to help build and fine tune their content strategies, and also overseen ad operations and optimization in his previous ventures.