Early in my career, I worked in Videology’s Operations group and being new to the industry, I was often overwhelmed by the dizzying array of different technology tools used to plan, monitor, deliver, and report on an advertiser’s campaign. It was for that reason that I was so flabbergasted the first time an agency client asked us to print, sign, and fax an insertion order back to them; how could an industry so seemingly technologically innovative still rely on fax machines to transact business? Over the years, many companies with which we work have adopted more technologically advanced mechanisms for electronic IO signature, and as a SaaS platform, most of our business these days is based on a tech licensing model rather than on media transactions. Still, even in 2014, I routinely watch agencies and publishers using our platform that require physical IO signatures — leading to campaigns that launch late and waste time on the part of our clients. The death of the paper IO is still not quite here, and I’m not the first to complain about it.
We try to solve for inefficiencies like this daily on behalf of our clients with every release to our platform. Often lost in the conversations over “self service” platforms and the value of programmatic media buying is that the industry should not be developing automation just for the sake of automation; rather, the goal is to build tools that allow advertisers, agencies, and publishers to spend less time on low-level tactical work like IO signatures, and more time on strategic initiatives that improve the effectiveness and efficiency of advertising campaigns and media buying.
One of the most popular products we released this year was our “Simple Launch” module; it allows our customers to digitally approve IOs, automatically transcode creatives into different formats at the push of a button, and easily review setup and targeting before setting your campaign live.
Say your company launches 100 campaigns per month, and it used to take a planner 15 minutes per campaign to sign or chase counter-signed IOs. Using our automated IO approval, you’ve now freed up 25 hours per month that can be better used planning new and better advertising strategies for your clients. If you’re an ad operations manager that used to spend 15 minutes per campaign transcoding assets into FLVs, MP4s, and WebM, you can now transcode in one click and use those 25 saved hours to research the latest innovations in 3rd party tracking and verification. And if you’re a campaign optimization manager, you can sleep easy knowing you double-checked all the settings for your campaign, and it will launch correctly and on time – with no need for a make-good.
The ad tech industry is sometimes plagued by technological innovation that seems to be complex just for the sake of complexity. Technology vendors should be evaluated based on whether their product is saving you time, making you more efficient, and freeing you up to work on the types of strategic activity that cannot be so easily replaced by technology.