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How to Optimize an Ad Campaign on the Fly

At many larger agencies, the role of running an online campaign is fragmented. Typically it’s broken up between planners, buyers, traffickers, and analysts.

The problem with this model is who is going super deep on the account? This model assumes that optimization is simply about moving media and turning banners on and off at the banner server. Which begs the question: How are real-time decisions made? Do all these people have to meet to get a high-level idea of what’s going on in a campaign? How often do they meet or talk? Are they making real-time decisions? Candidly I have heard stories where optimization at some firms is more like run, track, report, meet, decide, and finally optimize. As opposed to real-time optimization, a more old-school see-what-happens approach is taken and many impressions and dollars are wasted in these protracted optimization cycles.

OK, I know everyone is going to say to clients: “Of course, we optimize real-time.” But do you really? If you have a fragmented team, is a lower level traffic manager with her fingers on the banner server keyboard authorized or able to kill a site, placement, or piece of creative? Or, does this person need to wait for the analyst to see that it’s not working, report that to the team, and then ask the buyer to cancel the contract or renegotiate the deal? That’s a lot of hops and meetings to do something as simple as cancel a site, placement, or piece of creative.

The only way I have seen this work is when all of these people are working together in a tight little pod where meetings don’t have to be scheduled to make decisions and inform clients of those decisions. One easy question to ask your agency if it has a fragmented media management team is, “Where do all these people sit in proximity to each other?” If the analysts are in another department, office space, or even floor away from the campaign managers, then it’s unlikely your optimization is real-time.

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