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Ad Ops: A Digital Media Door Opener

Posted on January 13, 2015 in Industry Insight

Junior candidates interested in digital media want to go into so many different roles, but only find positions in Advertising Operations, or Ad Ops. Are all of the other positions taken? Does this mean these candidates aren’t qualified to be in digital media? Not exactly.
Ad Ops is a great place to start for someone who wants to get in to the digital media space. Here at TPR, when we do speak to these folks, a lot of them like what they are doing, but want to move into other functions within digital media.  These candidates will often times ask us what their Ad Ops skill set can be transferred to, and the answer is almost everything.
Ad Ops is really the universal language of digital media world. Without ad serving, there wouldn’t be any ads on the site!  Those with Ad Ops backgrounds are versatile, and can really jump into almost any role within the digital landscape.  The most common transitions are within the Account Management, Product Management and Yield/Inventory roles. Here’s how someone Ad Ops can transition into those roles:

Account Management
Account Management is the function that works with the clients post sale (after the seller has sold the campaign or services.)  They work very closely with the Ad Ops department, but are client facing as well. For someone who enjoys campaign work and is more of a people person an Account Manager role is a great fit as this discipline is a good combination of client facing and technical skills. This can be considered one of the easiest transitions from Ad Ops because of this position’s proximity to Ad Ops.

Product Management
The transition from Ad Ops to Product Management is a little more complicated. Mostly because it involves an aptitude for technical tools and a love of tinkering.  As a Product Manager, one is charged with creating a product, in our case an ad product, from ideation to execution.  This involves a lot of experience in how ads work and how they are trafficked.  As an Ad Ops person, you already understand the basic building blocks of how ad products work, and in this transition you now master how to create the product with all the technical tools that are associated with it. Product Management is a great place for problem solvers, and for anyone that likes to troubleshoot issues.

Yield and Inventory Management
Yield and Inventory Management is the function of the business where an individual makes sure that what the sales team is offering, in a RFP (request for proposal), is available and can be fulfilled with the current inventory. Whether at a Publisher, Ad Network, SSP or Ad Exchange these folks are traffic controllers and make sure that the right inventory is available and being processed. Yield is a great place for an Ad Ops candidate to really understand the economics of digital media because a Yield manager is dealing with the most basic economic principle of supply and demand.  In some ways they’re controlling the flow and pricing of the inventory.  This really speaks to the business-minded person starting in Ad Ops, and those that have a love for the economics of digital media.

Ultimately, Ad Ops is probably one of the best places to begin a career in digital media. Ad Ops exposes one to the ground floor of how the business works, and how to access the blueprints. After working in Ad Ops, a candidate has gained skills that makes them versatile, meaning they could go into any role that tailors to their strengths and passions within digital media.  A candidate seeking to advance their career can transition into so many different arenas of digital media with the knowledge of Ad Ops. It’s one of the core roles of digital media that can become a springboard to so many other areas in the industry. It’s a gateway to digital media.