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Advertising operations (ad ops) is the engine of every media organization’s planning and sales functions. With nearly 45% of companies taking a digital-first approach to business, ad ops is more critical today than ever, and building the right ad ops team is paramount in an online publishing company.

Ad ops teams help deliver the high quality, personalized experiences that today’s content consumers crave, enabling publishers to build loyal audiences. In their day-to-day work, ad ops professionals also manage the technical side of setting up campaigns and measuring their performance.

Running a strong ad ops team comes down to having solid leadership skills. When you care about your team and customers, and give your team the autonomy to make decisions based on what’s right for the customer), success will follow. 

In this blog post, we’ll cover 5 keys to getting it right as the manager of an ad ops team, from hiring staff to managing burnout to creating a truly collaborative team that impacts your entire media organization.

The role of an ad ops team

In an online publishing company, ad ops teams manage and deliver digital ads for advertisers across various ad exchanges. Their objective is to prioritize both the audience experience for consumers who see the ads, as well as generate the highest ad revenue possible by analyzing multiple aspects of each ad.

“A competent ad ops team will contribute greatly to your business by ensuring the ads you’re investing in are productive in attracting potential customers. To facilitate this process, ad ops teams will monitor their ads around the clock to ensure that all systems are working as intended and to make changes if needed,” according to this article by Publift.

Over the course of my career, I’ve been lucky enough to build, manage, and lead some excellent ad ops teams, both in the breakneck world of dotcom startups and the equally demanding realm of established major publishers. Today, I interact with numerous ad ops teams as part of my role at Lineup Systems.

During this time, I’ve seen-”and experienced myself-”the stress, burnout, and conflict that can occur when ad campaigns aren’t performing well. However, when your ad ops team has the support of your organization, the team becomes a well-oiled machine flowing with positive energy, and that’s when the great work happens. 

As an ad ops manager, it’s essential to consider your team’s position and role within your media company, how you can maintain and improve relationships within your team and across departments, and how you can facilitate alignment around perspectives and processes. Ad ops teams are often the gatekeepers to successful digital media plan fulfilment, and it’s important to manage your team to that profile so their work will be valued across your organization.

5 tips for building an all-star ad ops team

  • Hire the right people

People with natural collaboration and “plate spinning” skills will always prosper in an ad ops role. However, if you’re building a team from scratch, start by finding someone who can be your right-hand person when times get tough. This individual should project calm energy, have a no-nonsense attitude, and be able to rally the troops.

  • Foster camaraderie and teamwork

Most of an ad ops team’s success depends upon how the team members work together. The culture you create can make or break your results. If your team is working from home, try having a virtual coffee break to catch up on what’s going on in one another’s work and personal lives.

  • Make it easy for your team to be efficient

Efficiency is everything in ad ops. With so much to do in so little time, the best thing you can do for your team is make it easy for them to understand what their priorities are on a given day. Clear communication is key, as is having the right technology to support you.

  • Help your team avoid burnout

Commit to the service level agreements you provide your advertisers, without exception, and praise and appreciate success so your individual team members feel valued. Ad ops teams can get 99 out of 100 tasks correct, but everyone will notice the one mistake they make, and it’s your responsibility to mitigate those situations.

  • Create and maintain mentor/mentee relationships

The ad ops function can have a high churn rate, so make sure the people on your team are teaching and learning from each other in equal measure to keep them engaged in their work, and feeling motivated and connected to your organization’s mission.

Give your ad ops team the backup they need

Don’t let legacy technology slow your ad ops team down. With a modern advertising order management solution like Adpoint, your team can leverage advanced functionality to optimize the sales delivery process. Adpoint will free up your ad ops team’s time to focus on campaign performance and keeping customers happy.

Neil Rigby

Neil has been with Lineup since 2011, where he worked in the deployment team and as digital SME, before becoming the OMS & Digital Product Manager, bringing his considerable experience to the role.