Ankita Agarwal – Australia’s First Professional to Pass the Digital Ad Operations Certification

Posted by Lucy Halliday On May 19, 2014

We had a chat with IPG Mediabrand’s Ankita Agarwal – the first Australian professional to pass the Digital Ad Operations Certification (DAOC). Congratulations from all of us at IAB Australia. To learn more about IAB Certifications, click here. 


Congratulations for being the first person to pass the DAOC (Digital Ad Operations Certification) exam and gain the IAB Certification! How does it feel to be the first person in Australia to be certified?

Thank you! I’m thrilled to be the first person to pass the exam in AU. It’s also great for IPG Mediabrands to be the first agency certified by the IAB for adhering to industry standards and best practices in Ad Operations.

Why did you feel it was important to get certified?

The Ad Operations team at IPG Mediabrands was set up only 1.5 years ago and since then we have made significant progress in establishing best practices and improving internal efficiency. We are always looking for new and improved ways to better our processes. It was important to go one step further in passing the IAB certification exam. Our clients should feel confident knowing Mediabrands Ad Operations follows industry standards and applies best practice to all the campaigns within our portfolio.

Most people with 2 or more years’ experience can take the exam without additional training with the help of the self-study materials – how did you prepare for the exam?

That was one of the things I really loved about the exam. It was completely based on experience and my understanding of how the digital landscape operates. Fortunately I was able to leverage my own knowledge and expertise and it did not require too much studying outside of this. The sample tests were helpful as they provided insight on the content and nature of questions that were going to be asked.

Everyone who takes the exam has to sign a confidentiality agreement, so you obviously can’t discuss the exact questions, but how would you describe the exam content?

The exam is designed for Ad Operations professionals across the entire digital advertising industry (media agency, publisher, etc.) and questions were tailored for each field that Ad Ops professionals work in. My experience is from a media agency perspective, but some of the questions were focused on the publisher Ad Ops role that I was not familiar with. In saying that, most of the questions reflected the day-to-day tasks and issues that both sides face and taking the exam helps you realise how much you do know.

Did you feel the content reflected the realities of your duties and responsibilities and were a fair representation of what a seasoned professional in your field should know?

Yes. The content encompassed the entire campaign lifecycle and tested my knowledge in each phase. I appreciated the exam was not based on cramming from a text book, but more from the knowledge you have gained in your work experience. This made the exam so much more relevant.

Were there any topics you found particularly difficult?

I have an ad-server and media agency background, so I am not familiar with some of the tools used by the other stakeholders in the digital landscape. I struggled a bit with some of those questions. But having been a part of the industry and working closely with the technology does provide you with the know-how to answer these questions.

How are you planning on using your new Certification (for example, include in your LinkedIn profile, CV, mention in client meetings etc.)?

I will use the certification on all of my professional profiles eg. LinkedIn. It is also a great topic in client meetings to highlight our expertise in successful campaign management.

Would you recommend the Certification to others?

Definitely. As well as the formal credibility it carries, I think it also plays an important role in building an individual’s confidence when they realise how much they know in their field. As my team’s experience hits the two year mark, I will be encouraging them all to take the exam.

Any other comments about the IAB Certification Program?

I think it is a great initiative taken by the IAB on developing the Ad Ops certification. The digital landscape is becoming increasingly complex, with a growing number of dynamic campaign elements and new technologies entering the market. There is a perception of Ad Ops as the “back end guys,” but I see this drastically changing and Ad Ops playing a much more important role from the start of the campaign. IAB taking the initiative to develop this exam indicates and validates the importance of this area.

Lucy Halliday