Ad Ops targets Melbourne

Posted by Megan Cronje On May 08, 2016

The first ever Melbourne based Digital Ad Ops Conference was held at the REA Headquarters on 2 May 2016. The conference is committed to developing and growing professionals working in Ad Operations. The event covered a range of relevant topics including Global Digital Trends, Ad Technology, Mobile, Programmatic, Viewability, Ad Fraud, HTML5 and Career Progression. There was definitely no shortage of expertise with a wide range of speakers from a number of platforms and publishers.

The afternoon kicked off with Jonas Jaanimagi from REA who welcomed everyone and then started speaking about global emerging trends. He talked about people, technology and processes and how they are all intertwined. Technology impacts everything that we do, people are the talent behind the scenes and the processes and rules are the way we manage all the bits and pieces. He talked about how quickly technology is becoming an intergral part of our lives as humans and gave a really quirky analogy of man vs machine with an example of a game of chess. And how the best chess games being played right now, are actually being played by computers. He then went on to speak about the noisy issues such as viewability and how we manage this as a body is a key variable.

Jonas also touched on current hot topics such as ad blocking, privacy and the age-old topic of ops and sales. He finished with the inspiring statement of “do what you love until it becomes what you do for a living” he said the most talented people are the ones who are obsessed. It’s about finding something that you’re passionate about and working hard towards what you want.

The next speaker was David Benjafield from Mediamath. His presentation covered the latest on programmatic. He stressed that programmatic is all about finding the right user, with the right message at the right time. He highlighted that understanding cross-device targeting is key to this. Advertisers need to understand that people do not engage the same way with different devices with the same intent. EG we may engage highly with a mobile app during the evenings, but we actually only make purchases during the day. That means, that advertisers could uplift conversions by pushing price point targeting during the day. Something that I think all of us could relate to, was his frustration with being served remarketing ads for a product that he had already purchased. We have the technology and data available to us for more relevant messaging, we just need to understand how to use it.

Scott Ries followed on from David with a less technical, more creative, take on mobile advertising. He urged us to not take a 728×90 dekstop ad and throw it on a mobile with a clearance spray mentality and hope that someone buys something. With the move to HTML5 we have an endless opportunity to engage in more dynamic and creative executions on mobile devices. Something I found very interesting, was the little fact that Scott threw in, about our consumption of mobile devices versus our usage of TV: It’s almost on par with mobile, coming in at just under 3 hours of usage a day, and TV just over 3 hours. And also, when we are watching TV, we are also using our devices. So, that means, that when we are connected to Wi-Fi, advertisers can target us with rich video executions that are more targeted and specific to each user. Mobile gives us opportunities to activate the senses, accelerate, touch, tap drag and spin. We have 7 seconds as advertisers to grab the users attention. So why do we try and take them away from their awesome cat video to come and interact with us on our own website?

Scott pushed the point that we can put as much as we like in our ads, so that the user can have a quick interaction, and then go back to what they were originally doing – like watching that awesome cat video. Instead of “click for more” we have the opportunity to put twitter feeds in ads, maps, call for quote, schedule a test drive, make an appointment and even invite a friend. As well as this we can Geotag, IP target and even schedule ads bases on the weather. At the end of the day it’s all about a relevant message. If it’s relevant to you, you’re more likely to buy that product. Imagine a world, where if every ad was relevant, we wouldn’t want or need ad blockers.

Next up we had a HTML5 panel. This was awesome because for a lot of us, HTML5 is still foreign. So it was great to be able to ask questions and learn about key terminologies. It was also really nice to hear, first hand, from experts about their experiences with the sudden change from Flash to HTML5. Topics covered in this panel included key words such as canvas, media query, Sprite sheet and minification. They also covered the topic of shared JavaScript libraries as well as industry standards in terms of file sizes and specs.

Tim Whitfield, the Director of Technical Operations at Group M gave an insightful presentation of Programmatic targeting for dummies. He used a case study that he recently conducted to study DSPs and some key metrics such as viewability, accuracy with data targeting, frequency, brand safety and invalid traffic. He finished off with the Monkey-Man-Machine mentality, Man thinks he is smarter than Monkeys, but the machine looks at man the way man looks at monkeys.
He then gave a quick update on the Adtech Australia finance update and scared us all with the ad-pocalypse and his predictions on how technology will change the processes that we know today.

The second panel was focused on career progression within ad ops. This is always really great, as it’s relevant to all of us and gave us opportunities to ask burning questions. Some of the topics covered included where to find talented people, sales versus adops, outsourcing, and how to become a better candidate for roles.

Jonas Jaanimagi finished off the day with a very inspiring speech about the importance of these sorts of conferences, understanding the impact of operations and commercial and how we fit in. He encouraged all of us to keep ever-evolving and gave us some great resources for reading. He told us to get curious, find out what we’re excited by and to network, network, network.

In conclusion, it’s awesome that the Ad Ops conference has made its way to Melbourne. This kind of event in our industry is rare and it’s always great to meet other people who actually understand what you do for a living. The content was valuable and relevant to the current industry trends.

Megan Cronje