About the Series

Welcome to the Ad Ops Team Build vs. Outsource Series, where the experts on Playwire’s team give publishers an in-depth look at the ups and downs of building your own ad ops team or outsourcing one. 

In today’s entry, we tap Noah Forster, Playwire’s Senior Vice President, Product. Noah has been with Playwire for nearly 10 years. In that time, he has learned everything there is to know about the publisher side of building, managing, and leveraging a creative engineering and development team.  

Check out all the blogs in this series.

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Creative Teams Unlock Specialized Ad Units and Higher CPMs

The days of popping a couple of pre-built ad spots on your website and calling it a day are gone for publishers — at least, they’re gone for publishers who intend to bring in maximum revenue. The advent of additional platforms and types of digital advertising has opened up a new world of revenue opportunities for publishers

The problem is that these new kinds of ad units are complicated. Implementing even relatively simple video ads is going to take well-trained engineers and developers. But do you go out and hire a creative team to help you sell premium inventory, or do you outsource the work? That’s the topic we dive into below. Keep reading.

One of the most important things Playwire does for publishers is give them access to massive scale in an instant. You don’t have to build your ad ops team over years and invest hundreds of thousands of dollars. You simply sign up and start bringing in more revenue. Give us a try.

What Does a Creative Team Look Like?

Who would you have to hire if you wanted to build your own creative team? That will depend on your motivation for wanting to do your own direct sales. There are three basic situations that get publishers thinking about hiring creative engineers and devs:

  1. You have your own direct relationships with advertisers and want to leverage them into higher CPMs.
  2. You work with a third party for direct sales but want to make changes to your site or app to allow for newer, more valuable inventory, such as interstitials, leaderboards, and site skins. 
  3. You want to bring in the higher CPMs that come with video ads but don’t yet have video content to monetize. 

For any of those situations, if you want to build the team yourself, you will at the very least require a front-end web developer. This is the person who can actually make your site look the way it needs to look to accommodate new inventory, whether it’s sponsored posts, leaderboards, or video.

To create complex interactive, gamified, and shoppable units to sell directly to big brands who can pay top dollar, you’ll need more than a front-end web developer. You’ll certainly need at least one interactive dev, and you might need more than one.

If you’re getting into video, you might get really lucky and find one creative team member who wears enough hats and has a broad enough skill set to do occasional videos of relatively mediocre quality. But if you want lots of high-quality video content to monetize, you’re going to need individuals to fill various roles, including a video curator, a researcher, editors/producers, a motion graphics expert, and maybe a voiceover artist.

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Challenges of Building Your Own Team

We know what the team should look like now. But you’re not quite ready to hit the job boards looking for candidates. Here are some of the challenges of building your own creative team:

The Money Problem

Hiring all of the roles described above is a pretty big lift right out of the gate. You have the essential problem of finding these people and understanding whether they’re actually up to the task, but then you have the money problem. Developers are typically paid in the six-figure range, and video professionals aren’t far behind that. 

Even if you think you can afford all those salaries, you need to remember that major advertising campaigns ebb and flow heavily, and they tend to ramp up as the year progresses. That means you could have people on your payroll when there’s not much direct selling to be done. 

Meanwhile, you have the net 90 problem — many large buyers won’t pay you for up to three months. Can you keep paying everyone when you’re dealing with ebbs, flows, and quarter-long waiting periods for payment? Most small and medium publishers can’t.

Project Management

Now, say you have a target audience that advertisers want to reach and the creative team to build the high-quality ad creatives that advertisers are looking for, you may have to hire another team member that we didn't cover above. It’s a project manager. Advertisers are demanding — they are paying a lot of money for these premium campaigns, and they expect perfection. At the very least, that means no delays in launches and multiple rounds of creative asset approvals. 

On top of that, advertisers are sometimes waiting until a couple of weeks before launch to plan out these campaigns. That means you might be dealing with tight timelines. Even if you’ve got a great creative team, they will likely struggle to keep up with that kind of demand. That’s where a six-figure project manager comes in.

Joining the Conversation

Check all of the boxes we’ve presented so far, and you are left with one big box to check. You have to actually become a part of the conversation with the big buyers. And that is not easy to do.

You may be proud of your video content, for example, but how will buyers know it’s always going to be brand-safe? Unless you’re a large publisher, they probably don't know you. And your hiring of your own creative team is not reason enough for them to trust you. 

Should Publishers Outsource Creative?

That’s a lot of problems. Let’s talk about the solution: Playwire. We’re your outsourced creative team. Here’s how we solve all of the problems we have described:

  • The money problem. You don’t pay Playwire’s engineers and devs. We pay them. And you don’t wait 90 days to get paid by advertisers. We pay you and do the waiting on our end. 
  • Project management. We have our own project managers on our large team of experts. We ensure every part of each direct-sold campaign is on schedule, and we have the resources to handle tight deadlines and any kind of advertiser demand.
  • Joining the conversation. Playwire is already part of the conversation with major advertisers. Our Trendi video product is a great example. We create vertical-specific content for publishers and funnel it into our proprietary video player on publishers’ sites. Advertisers know us, and they know our content is brand-safe 100% of the time. We sell them Trendi; you get the sky-high CPMs.

Playwire: None of the Risk, All of the Reward

Even if you think you can pull it off — hire a creative team, deploy them, and get some ROI — you’re taking a risk. Thinking you can do it isn’t knowing you can do it. 

Why take that risk when you can get access to better talent, better creative assets, and better relationships with advertisers by partnering with Playwire? You don’t have to invest time and money to get access to enormous scale and all the engineers and developers you need to sell any kind of inventory you want. You just have to partner with us.

Ready to get started? Contact Playwire online today.

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