What Is An Advertising Management Platform?

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Managing media kinda sucks. 

By that we mean the tasks of planning, trafficking, monitoring and reporting on campaigns is too manual, tedious and prone to error. 

As you can tell, we feel pretty strongly about this. We’re a media team who cut our teeth doing all this stuff ad nauseum. And we decided to come up with a better way (which we’ll get into a little later).

In fact, for about 10 minutes last fall, we toyed with changing our company mission to “Make Managing Media Not Suck.” We tossed that, but the kernel of inspiration it came from lives on in everything we do. 

The fact is that the problem is larger than managing media. It’s the whole bloated buy-side of the ecosystem (everything to the left of “Ad Exchanges” in this graphic).

Overview of the digitial advertising landscape for What is Advertising Management Software article
For a more visceral experience, check out the LUMAscape graphic (which is only Display). It’s not really anyone’s fault it ended up this way, but it’s the world that media, ad ops, data and analytics teams live in.

These teams make advertising work — they actually get ads in front of eyeballs, measure performance and communicate what happened. In doing all this, they’ve become one of the most overworked and underappreciated groups in the industry. 

What they need is a process and technology that is set up specifically for them to manage not just media, but the whole buy-side advertising process. What they need is an advertising management platform.

An advertising management platform is technology that streamlines and centralizes the processes of planning, executing, monitoring, optimizing and reporting on campaigns. 

To understand its place in the industry today, we need to understand where things stand right now.

 

Three of this industry’s problems:

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1. Data Daze

Put simply, there is too much data to get a handle on. Analysis paralysis is a daily reality for many teams. In fact, a direct quote we’ve heard from one agency is:

“It’s ironic that we have so much data it’s limiting our ability to analyze it.”

We call it the Data Daze, which is when there’s simply too much data to handle effectively. What is that data doing if you can’t analyze it? What’s the point of collecting it? You start to run on autopilot, collecting data for data’s sake.
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2. Fragmentation

This is a complex industry. There is a constellation of tools, technology, services and platforms teams need to run a modern cross-channel campaign. This fragmentation not only produces the deluge of data mentioned above, it sucks up a ton of time by forcing teams to sift through it all.

Another direct quote we heard from a mid-size agency is:

“Reporting is 1% of my job that takes up 50% of my time.”

Reporting is the act of bringing all these disparate data sources together to articulate the story of the campaign. The fact that every piece of technology is siloed and often speaks it own language makes this a sisyphean task. 
Criss-Crossed Bandaid Icon for Hodge-Podge Solutions in Advertising Management Software article

3. Hodge-Podge Solutions

The industry hasn’t been sitting on its laurels. People have been trying to solve for these issues. The problem is that they’re often half-measures or way too cumbersome. The result is a hodge-podge of solutions cobbled together by teams that need just one more solution to clear their latest hurdle.

Often they land on a couple solutions, like Google Sheets in conjunction with expensive tools like Tableau. One direct quote we heard from a large international brand:

“We just settled into Google Sheets. We probably don’t realize how time consuming and inaccurate it can be. Inaccuracies are almost inevitable… We just turn [our campaigns] on and hope it works.”

So, we’ve got two big problems and no good solution. Where does an advertising management platform fit in?

 

What is an advertising management platform?

 

As outlined above, advertising management platform is technology that streamlines and centralizes the processes of planning, executing, monitoring, optimizing and reporting on campaigns. 

Implemented correctly, an advertising management platform will solve the data daze and fragmentation using its core feature: the ability to connect and normalize all data. 

By doing this, the advertising management platform centralizes the processes and technology required to run cross-channel campaigns. It will also help take stock of your tech stack to eliminate the hodge-podge and simplify your workflow.

OK let’s break that down a bit. What does this actually mean for the day-to-day of a modern media professional?

 

  • First, the advertising management platform helps you structure your campaign and its flow of data so you have a handle on it all from the start. We call the campaign architecture.

 

  • Second, you hook up all data sources into the campaign architecture. The advertising management platform breathes life into the campaign by automatically connecting, aggregating and normalizing all the disparate data sources for apples-to-apples comparisons.

 

  • Next, it visualizes this massive amount of data in a way that’s easy to understand and act upon. Monitoring and optimizing performance become not only real-time, but proactive.

 

  • Lastly, it provides the opportunity and tools to proactively communicate with all stakeholders. With everything set up for success from the start and with all data already normalized and visualized, crafting reports is perhaps the easiest part of the whole process.

 

An advertising management platform is much more than a data visualisation or reporting tool, it’s a framework to build campaigns, teams and even organizations around. 

Let’s get into why this is the case and how an advertising management platform works.

 

The prerequisite: applying a method to the madness.

 

An advertising management platform provides a framework all other tasks are built around. It organizes campaigns in a way that it’s easy to understand what’s been done, what still needs to get done and what has to wait.

There are three things an advertising management platform introduces to your campaigns that aren’t direct steps in the process, but nonetheless have a huge impact on performance.

Campaign Architecture Icon of Branching Boxes for Advertising Management Software article

1. Campaign Architecture

Campaign architecture is how your campaign data is structured. An advertising management platform ensures all your data is structured to roll up seamlessly from the most granular creative level up to a holistic campaign view (and even beyond). 

Dashboard Charts Icon for Intuitive Visualizations in Advertising Management Software

2. Intuitive Visualizations

Of course, it’s not enough to automatically gather and structure your data well, the advertising management platform needs to visualize it in a way that’s easy to understand. In a glance, you should be able to understand where things stand, where they’re headed and what to do about it.

Clipboard Icon for Prioritization in Advertising Management Software

3. Prioritized High Value-Add Tasks

And once your understand those two things, you can start prioritizing tasks. Throughout the life of a campaign there are certain tasks that have a larger impact on performance than others. We call these high value-add tasks and they’re fairly easy to spot in an advertising management platform thanks to proper campaign architecture and intuitive visualizations. 

 

Together, these three allow you to apply a method to the madness. From here, you can start the real work of managing your advertising.

The digital advertising industry presents great opportunity to those who can properly leverage it. Unfortunately, it’s near impossible to do so with the amount of data and the solutions traditionally relied upon.

Advertising management platforms are a new breed of technology specifically tailored for the management of modern advertising by the teams that do it day in and day out. In short, it makes managing advertising not suck.

 

This is the first in an ongoing series published every Friday for the next few weeks all about advertising management platforms, its place in the industry and the solutions it provides modern marketers. Subscribe below or schedule a demo today to learn more.

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