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Tags: Programmatic, Publisher, Header Bidding, Ad Serving, Relevant Yield

Updated: November 14, 2023

Increasing revenue streams from digital advertising and commercialising media are challenging and exciting tasks requiring creativity. Although every publisher's journey is unique, successful teams are united by their ability to focus on the most essential and business-critical factors.

The industry is in constant flux, facing challenges such as changing trends, technological advancements, the end of third-party cookie support, evolving privacy practices, and increasing demands for more ecological practices. These factors require special attention and resources in addition to daily routines.

There is ample work to be done in developing digital media, media sales, and advertising operations.

Considering the challenges in the field, it's essential to pause and reflect on your team's methods of operation. How can an innovative and sustainable approach to digital media sales be created to generate new opportunities and strengthen your brand's position in the market?

This text explores ideas to help you free up resources, focus on sustainable strategies, create a testing culture, and invest in your experts. We believe that prioritising these factors will assist in building a successful future in digital media sales.


How do you free up resources in ad operations and media sales?

Ad operations play a key role in supporting online media sales and execution and are crucial to managing online advertising and sales. Typical tasks for the ad ops team include trafficking ad materials, ensuring the technical functionality of online advertising, monitoring campaigns, optimisation, and reporting.

With the increasing use of automation and artificial intelligence in online advertising, ad operations have shifted from operational work to more of an expert task. Previously, challenges were often due to human factors, but now, they are more related to system functionality and management. The nature of the work has become more technical, emphasizing problem-solving skills and the ability to find solutions to challenges from various sources.

Media sales have evolved in a similar direction. Sellers should be able to focus on sales and find the most effective and cost-effective solutions for advertisers to showcase their products and services through well-functioning advertising solutions. Creativity and innovation are essential when looking for customised ways to make advertisements stand out.

When time-consuming manual tasks are automated, resources are freed up for essential sales tasks and creativity. For instance, tracking programmatic advertising purchases by advertisers, monitoring the performance of different sales sources (direct, deals, programmatic), and reporting should be straightforward, with information readily and uniformly available to all who need it.

Thanks to artificial intelligence, automation, and technology, work in ad operations, development, and media sales decreases and becomes more efficient, and the likelihood of human errors also significantly reduces. Various systems can also enable tasks requiring more technical expertise, such as changes in programmatic demand partners, to be performed by individuals whose technical knowledge or coding skills would not suffice for manual execution.

The optimal approach identifies all opportunities for streamlining processes and directing resources towards more productive activities like development and innovation. This way, ad operations and media sales can collaboratively create a thriving and efficient digital advertising ecosystem.


Sustainable strategies in media sales?

In media sales, sustainable strategies have become vital as publishers strive to respond to modern environmental and societal challenges. Sustainability in media sales means not only considering environmental aspects but also long-term strategies that remain relevant despite changes in the industry, such as the phasing out third-party cookies.

Publishers are actively seeking new ways to increase digital advertising revenues. New trends and innovations come and go. Sometimes, separating the wheat from the chaff can be challenging when considering what is truly beneficial, what is worth testing, and what to implement.

An effective way is to learn from those who have already made similar implementations. Practices such as server-side integration, mobile application monetisation, and contextual targeting to increase the value of the ad inventory can offer valuable insights. But even more important is to create an environment where such approaches can be easily tested and implemented without undue effort.

Adopting agile methodologies at a strategic level is essential for many players on the sales side, including publishers and sales partners. Achieving agility requires all stakeholders - from ad operations and revenue optimisation to C-level leadership and the sales team - to have the necessary information and opportunities to act and make decisions based on data.

Utilising data also enables a more straightforward assessment of the impact of changes and helps decide whether they are sensible or if other approaches should be tested instead.


How do we create a testing culture in media sales?

Successful digital advertising sales require continuous development and an innovative mindset. Each media environment is unique, and many factors affect advertising revenues. It is essential to understand that methods that work in one environment may not be suitable for another.

To find the best practices, it is helpful to follow industry trends and leverage the experiences of others, but the best practices are often found through one's experiments. This is particularly true in programmatic advertising, where even small changes can significantly impact revenues. However, it should be remembered that revenue development is a continuous process and testing and implementation of new trends should be done continually.

Increasing advertising revenue should be a common goal for the entire team. It is crucial to give technical freedom to ad operations and yield teams to be creative and develop new approaches.

A continuous experimentation and testing culture helps team members evolve into experts capable of elevating the business to a new level. This requires creating an environment where experimentation and testing are accessible and innovative ideas can flourish. Publishers' control over their demand sources (SSPs) is crucial in advertising and sales management. The more control there is, the better and easier it is to test and fine-tune advertising services and optimisation strategies.


How do we invest in experts in media sales and programmatic advertising?

Continuous development and staff training are crucial to success, especially in programmatic advertising sales. It's important to understand that tools alone are not enough; knowledgeable staff who understand the capabilities of these tools are also needed. Continuous staff training in the latest technologies and trends is central to promoting sustainable media sales. This way, teams can work more effectively and produce more innovative solutions.

Independent working is also crucial to developing media sales and programmatic. The more control publishers have over their systems and processes, the better they can react to market changes and make quick decisions. Independence enables flexibility and speed, especially in small but significant changes.

This does not preclude using external partners but emphasises the need to balance internal expertise and external resources. Partnerships can add value but mustn't limit the organisation's flexibility.

When staff can utilise and apply tools independently, the organisation remains competitive in the rapidly changing digital advertising environment. This approach improves current performance and ensures readiness for future opportunities.


In summary

In digital media, success requires constant vigilance and the ability to anticipate future trends. The digital advertising industry is evolving rapidly, so industry players must always be one step ahead, identifying new technological opportunities and creatively harnessing them. Building sustainable growth in digital media means actively testing and applying new technologies and trends to stay at the forefront of competition and respond quickly to changing market demands.

Fortunately, not everyone relies solely on their expertise. Relevant Digital has been focused on helping publishers increase their digital service revenues through expertise, data, and technology for over a decade. Along the way, we have helped develop the websites and sales of over a hundred media partners, so our expertise and experience are exceptionally broad. Independence is important to us, and we always strive to carry out development projects technology-detached.

We want to offer publishers and their sales partners tools and support for more independent work and reduce their dependence on external actors. If you'd like to learn more about our services, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Suvi Leino
By: Suvi Leino

Responsible for marketing and communications at Relevant Digital.


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