Coming from an agency background, I've witnessed firsthand how difficult it can be to execute a complex digital ad campaign.
A typical media plan might include over fifty ad placements, running on various properties, in different sizes, with multiple creatives. Trafficking was never a simple process, but as ad technologies have evolved, the workflow has become even messier. Juggling between a media plan, trafficking sheets, and other campaign information in your emails is frustrating and leaves plenty of room for human error.
That’s why I was thrilled last week to announce the general release of Campaign Studio. This is a tool for ad ops, analysts and media planners. It’s the product of a lot interviews and hard thinking to answer the question, “How can we make ad trafficking better?”
Campaign Studio is a complete digital ad management platform. It allows you to create, manage and measure the impact of an entire campaign.
We built a workflow that takes your mental model of how you want your ads to run, and turns it into a live campaign. We combined that workflow with a graphical interface that is easy on the eyes, so you can easily see and understand what you are building. Then we topped it off with layers of performance metrics that are helpful both during the campaign and for post campaign analysis.
Beyond Spreadsheets to a Visual Interface
I think we can agree that most people prefer to use visuals to digest concepts rather than reading text.
Instead of spending time deciphering your campaign from a spreadsheet, Campaign Studio provides the information graphically. At a glance the interface shows:
What ads are running?
Where are the ads running?
How is my campaign set up to deliver across my media plan?
When is my campaign going live?
To do this, one of the first features we built for Campaign Studio was a site and media placement import. This sets up the campaign modeler with all of the elements included in the media plan: site information, placement information, creative size, start and end dates, and planned impressions.
Since so much of the current process exists as spreadsheets it seemed like a natural starting point. Once you get your information in place, you can define your market segments and model your campaign. With everything there in the interface, you can literally drag your ads around in your campaign to assign them to different segments.
Rethinking Ad Tag Management
Dealing with ad tags is another tedious process that we wanted to tackle. We ended up creating a smart ad tag that knows what creative to serve based on the model, which includes scheduling, dayparting, and A/B testing.
If you want to introduce changes—for instance, by changing the weighting on an A/B test—you can. The campaign’s ad tag simply follows your instructions on the very next impression served.
To make things even easier, Campaign Studio can generate all of your ad tags at the same time, based on how you have modeled your campaign. In many cases, you only need one ad tag per ad size. So if you have 100 ads with dimensions 300x250, 320x50, and 728x90, that would just be 3 ad tags for the bunch. In cases where you need a special ad tag for a particular placement, you can generate that too.
The previous process involved countless ad tags which had to be meticulously inserted into an ad server, so we view improving this as a huge win for ad ops.
In-Depth Analytics that Provide Context
Campaign Studio captures a lot information, all of which needed to be sortable and discoverable. To make it possible to bubble up insights we molded the data into an “organized hierarchy” which allows performance data to be sliced and diced across each aspect of a campaign.
The hierarchy is nice because you can see the big picture, or drill down into each level of information for more detail. For example:
How is my campaign performing overall?
> What is the best performing segment?
> What are the best and worst performing sites in that segment?
> Which ads running on those sites are have the highest and lowest interaction rates and CTRs?
Campaigns are complicated, and despite every effort we made to eliminate problems, people still can make mistakes.
So we built a campaign simulator. That way, before the campaign goes live, you can test it, and ensure the right ad will be served when a segment matches specific criteria, like date, site or placement. The simulator is a simple feature, but I love that I can create and publish a campaign with 100% confidence that it’s set up to run as expected.
During the Beta, when I asked a friend how he would describe Campaign Studio, he said, “It gives you back your time.” When he said that, I knew we had accomplished what we set out to do. It's hard to estimate just how many hours Campaign Studio might save.
We could never have come this far without help. I can’t thank our beta partners enough for their feedback. And I can't thank my team enough either. This has been an incredibly satisfying product to release.
To our customers: If you want to try Campaign Studio and aren't sure where to start, please reach out to me and I’ll help get you set up.