Ad operations are facing a pressing need for evolution. With the current complexity of programmatic advertising, including multiple demand sources and components, the landscape of digital ad sales is a new and often-ruthless frontier. In many ways, the complex media industry calls to improve the approach from digital advertising sales professionals.
These eight challenges in the ad sales process can compromise online publishers’ edge, efficiency, and, of course, overall success in the media market.
1. Too Many Repetitive Processes
A lot goes into the process of selling ads and managing advertising operations, but when your teams aren’t in line, you can find yourself with double the work. Instead of assigning the various elements of a successful sales cycle at random and hoping things work out, take careful control.
Managing customer relationships, curating and customizing media inventory, and organizing order records can easily get redundant, leading to exhaustion, frustration, and, worse, booking and billing issues.
When you automate and consolidate many of these basic tasks, it’s far less likely to duplicate steps or waste energy.
2. Poor Time Management
Running a digital ad sales software is a fast process, and time-wasting can potentially cost you significantly. Without strategic time management, it’s easy to get bogged down in the minutiae and let the important details slip away.
To make the most of each opportunity, ensure time management is a priority. The most crucial elements in customer relationship management, as well as order, billing, and inventory management, should take top priority.
Make sure your teams are on top of what counts rather than what doesn’t emphasizing your key objectives to avoid compromised opportunities, excessive errors, and, ultimately, lost revenue.
3. Low Tech Skills
The nuts and bolts of ad sales software can be overwhelming, but it’s key for those on every team, from sales to finance, to understand the back end of the ad tech environment. Technology essentially drives every element of the process, with standards, prices, and costs for publishers, advertisers, and agencies fluctuating on a near-daily basis.
When those in charge of managing ad stacks fail to understand the mechanisms, they essentially just scratch the surface of the system they operate without a deep understanding of the ins and outs. A superficial knowledge leads to fragmentation and poor performance, potentially compromising transactions.
4. Ignoring the User Experience
Digital ad operations is evolving quickly, and it’s not always easy to find time to objectively evaluate past campaigns before the next one begins. However, failing to do so can obscure obvious issues in the user experience, compromising a big part of your process.
When they ignore past mistakes, advertising operations and sales managers make the same errors, over and over again in their digital ad sales workflow Even though timelines are tight, take time to review the user experience after each campaign to ensure future endeavors are as successful as possible.
5. Managing Too Many Ad Tech Systems
For many in ad operations, the debate rages: is it better to manage different ad exchanges and servers, CRMs and ERPs and third-party software or is best to work out of one system? While the answer can vary based on a company’s objectives, too many operations end up working out of different systems unnecessarily.
According to the IAB’s Internet Advertising Revenue Report, the volume of digital data being created on the internet is increasing exponentially. Every year the online universe doubles in size with many estimates indicating a 50X growth between 2010 and 2020.
When employing too many systems that need strategic alignment and coordination, publishers miss out on the opportunity to streamline the process. This can, unfortunately, leave sales and billing teams scrambling to connect the dots, creating a needless and potentially costly logistical issue.
6. Lack of Accountability
Policy means a lot these days, particularly with the inception of new standards and regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The ever-increasing need for number and figures to fight back against ad fraud requires publishers to be transparent and accountable in real time, but many fail to do this in fear of wasting resources and potentially losing an edge.
The lack of overall communication within the industry can be a significant detriment, particularly for those who rely on outside sources for support. For example, Google’s recent ad server snafu left countless publishers in the dark. While understandable, this isn’t an excuse. Businesses without their own back-end fixes in place, as well as timely reporting tools, can end up in hot water when these issues arise, resulting in an increased risk of problems as a result of a steep lack of accountability.
7. Dynamic Inventory Uncertainty
With dynamic inventory, quantity, quotes, pricing, and other variables are constantly changing in real time. When publishers and advertisers fail to identify the reasoning and the outcome of such changes, a litany of issues can arise, leading to problems with orders such as booking errors and a lack of good explanation of the numbers that advertisers and agencies can understand. When miscommunications are severe, this can eventually lead to customer churn.
Despite the many aspects of digital ad sales that create a diverse, competitive, and hard-to-follow process, there are opportunities available to minimize challenges. It’s possible to enhance and justify the value of each ad dollar spent with add-ons such as:
- Ad tracking software
- Business-focused analytics applications
- Easy-to-understand quotations, and billing tools
8. The Value of Impressions
It’s easy to think that every campaign is a winner, but the reality is often very different. However, due to the fragmentation of the online landscape, it’s increasingly difficult to come up with measurable outcomes.
- In order to avoid low-quality deals slipping through, advertisers, agencies, and publishers need to align KPIs with operational needs, growing trends, and industry demands, according to IAB Europe.
- Employing the power of cross-media and cross-device analysis is key, both on the buy-side and the sell-side, to gain a better understanding of how digital works in combination with other channels.
Without taking these kinds of steps, it’s impossible to know the value of what you’re trying to accomplish.
Greg Bright, Director of Digital Strategy of the Albuquerque Journal, told the International News Media Association (INMA) about the value of consolidating customer data moving to build a single customer view solution. He suggests keeping in mind that publishers solutions “must be repeatable and generally, that means software driven.
Understanding the Impact of a Digital Ad Sales Software
A lot can threaten the process to run a digital ad sales software, but awareness can make all the difference. By understanding the impact of even the smallest movements on your approach to ad sales, it’s possible to overcome these disruptions to maintain your edge.