Key Points

  • An ad operations team requires a suite of specialized tools to streamline the processes of collecting data, evaluating ad performance metrics, ensuring optimal campaign delivery, and rectifying a variety of issues.
  • Ad ops tools, like those built right into Playwire’s RAMP Platform, aid in monitoring, diagnosing, and adjusting campaigns, thus optimizing performance and achieving scalability.
  • The most effective tools enable continuous monitoring of campaign metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), helping teams to make prompt and effective adjustments.

It’s a poor craftsman that blames their tools. But, if you’ve ever had to try to unclog a toilet with a screwdriver, you know this old proverb often falls flat.

Imagine walking into an auto shop where the air is heavy with the scent of oil, the echoing clangs of metal, and all around you are master mechanics.

Each mechanic has a specific task and specially designed tools to tackle it.

No professional would dream of handling the intricate and complex challenges of auto repair with only a hammer, would they?

This same philosophy applies to advertising operations (ad ops). Like a well-stocked mechanic, ad ops teams need an impressive suite of specialized tools — each one serving a specific purpose.

Just as a mechanic relies on their gear to diagnose, repair, and optimize, ad ops professionals lean on an impressive arsenal of tools to navigate the complex engine of digital advertising.

Whether you’re brand new to the world of advertising or just looking to upgrade your toolbelt, here is what you need to know about the best tools ad ops teams use to run a well-oiled and effective advertising campaign.

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The Engine Room: Why You Need Ad Ops Tools

Just as the engine is the heart of a car, ad ops is the driving force behind digital advertising efforts.

Without the right tools, though, it’s like using a stone hammer to work on a Ferrari. 

It’s possible but entirely inefficient.

In today’s digital ad space, advertisers and publishers are expected to deliver results at turbo speeds. To get this right, real-time monitoring and action is key. This includes:

  • Collecting data
  • Evaluating campaign performance metrics
  • Ensuring optimal campaign delivery
  • Rectifying issues that come up

Ad ops tools play a critical role in the timely management of these tasks. They help automate the often tedious processes and provide crucial in-the-moment data to enable surgical precision in diagnosing and adjusting campaigns.

Relying on manual processes in a fast-paced environment is like trying to use a horse and buggy in an octane-fueled drag race.

But these tools do much more than just get the job done. They optimize performance, achieve scalability, and help your team outpace the competition.

With your average consumer spending five hours a day consuming media, with 84 minutes of those five hours spent exposed to digital ads, finding an edge in advertising isn’t a privilege, it’s a matter of survival.

Ad ops tools are the key to unlocking that advantage.

The Ad Ops Toolkit

Picture a mechanic without their tools. Seems quite ineffective, right?

Now, imagine an ad ops team without the proper tools. That’s equally as bleak. 

While you can get a lot done with good ol’ Excel and a mountain of data, the right tools will streamline the process and shave off a significant amount of time spent — opening up your team to focus on more mission-critical tasks.

To help you grasp the power of ad ops tools, here are a few tools that can help your campaigns run smoothly.

Google Ad Manager

A great option in terms of their ad operations capabilities is Google Ad Manager, aka the Swiss Army Knife of ad ops tools.

It can feel like a cumbersome process when you first dive in, with seemingly hundreds of levers to pull and buttons to press. But once you master it, it can be a tremendously useful tool for any ad ops team.

Even so, it's still a very manual process. If we look at reports, we might find hundreds of different ad units running in a campaign. Let’s say 20 or 30 aren’t doing so well. Removing these ad units needs to be done one at a time — unless you have Playwire’s RAMP Platform’s internal tooling API.

This feature of the RAMP Platform speeds up the process, taking a ten-minute task and turning it into a ten-second one. Let’s dive a little deeper into RAMP’s ad ops capabilities.

Playwire’s RAMP Platform

It’s no surprise that we are partial to Playwire’s proprietary platform, RAMP, which is well-equipt to handle any and all ad ops task under the sun.

RAMP’s dashboard provides a bird’s eye view of all your campaigns and is packed with a number of key ad revenue-altering features. Think of it as your superhero utility belt, filled with all the right gadgets.


(Click to enlarge image)

It’s what Batman would use if he ran ad campaigns instead of chasing villains. 

RAMP identifies intraday which campaigns are falling short of their impression goals or underperforming, providing our team of ad ops professionals the data they need to attack critical issues the moment they appear.

In other words, Playwire partners are effectively gaining their own campaign-monitoring superhero.

Automation Tools

Another great feature of the RAMP platform is the fact that it can automate common repetitive tasks. 

Let’s look at this from a publisher’s perspective. Let’s say they want to run their own reports to track pacing and performance. What follows is an arduous process of sifting through each individual ad unit and making necessary adjustments.

That is a lot of manual Excel work, often time-consuming, meticulous, and demanding.

Automation tools take care of the manual work, sifting through data and light speeds. Automated reports are the conveyor belts, speeding up the process and making your ad ops run as smoothly as a factory production line. By some accounts, marketing teams can free up 15% of their time leveraging the power of automation.

Additional Single Purpose Ad Ops Tools

In addition to the more comprehensive ad ops tools noted above, there are a number of smaller more singularly purpose solutions available within the ad tech industry that can help simplify managing your ad ops internally.

From viewability measurement tools to mediation partners and everything in between, there are tools to handle almost every individual element involved in managing your ad operations. 

So, if you’re looking to keep your ad ops management in-house, consider reviewing our extensive list of tools and solutions currently available to publishers within the ad tech ecosystem.

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Tracking Success: Understanding Ad Ops Metrics and KPIs

Imagine an auto shop’s diagnostic tools. They troubleshoot issues, read engine codes, and monitor a vehicle’s performance.

In ad ops, these diagnostic tools are the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) of a campaign. Different advertisers will prioritize different metrics.

Most campaign issues are either pacing or performance related. 

Think of a race car needing to complete a set of laps in a set timeframe. If the race doesn’t finish based on current speeds (campaign delivery), we need to adjust the accelerator (campaign settings).

At Playwire, we use RAMP as our diagnostic system, helping us get a clean snapshot of campaign performance so we know exactly which campaigns need attention and which settings need to be adjusted.

But, depending on the advertiser, the metrics we watch can vary greatly. Some metrics, like viewability and inbound traffic, are fairly standard to monitor. From there, it gets a bit less uniform, though. 

Take a video ad campaign. One advertiser might be more worried about video completion rates (VCRs), while another might focus on click-through rates (CTR). It all depends on the advertiser and specific campaign. 

Much like an auto shop, ad ops requires continuous monitoring and daily adjustments. By watching the right metrics and using the right tools, you can ensure your campaigns run as smoothly as a well-tuned race car.

Ad Ops and Playwire: The Perfect Match

To bring our auto shop analogy home, imagine an ad operations team as your highly skilled team of mechanics and Playwire's suite of ad ops tools as the state-of-the-art equipment they use. 

Together, they form a powerful combination that can diagnose, adjust, and fine-tune your advertising campaign's performance to perfection.

At Playwire, we believe in using a scalpel instead of a screwdriver. Our precision ad optimization, coupled with a persistent patrol-like monitoring system, equips us to deliver successful ad campaigns. The perfect match to ensure your campaigns aren't just cruising but flying. 

To learn more about Playwire and RAMP, be sure to connect with the team today.

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