Ad Operations Manager Job Description - Qualifications, Requirements & Salary Data | Digital Media Jobs

If you’ve ever interacted with an webpage or other type of digital media content, you might have seen an advertisement and wondered who’s in charge of which advertisements are shown in which places at which times. Look no further! Digital ad operations jobs are booming right now due to the huge amount of revenue flowing in the internet advertisement industry. For those proficient with online ad ops, becoming a digital ad operations manager is a great way to express those skills.


But what goes into digital ad operations? Which skills are required, what’s a general digital ad operations job description, and—crucially—what’s the expected digital ad ops salary? On this page we’ll give a general overview of what’s expected in ad operations manager jobs so that you can discern if this type of service matches what you can easily do.


Ad Operations Manager Job Description - Qualifications, Requirements & Salary Data


An ad operations manager is, simply put, in charge of doing everything it takes (from tweaking the design to doing research on the product and audience to analyzing the conversion rates for the client) to optimize a great internet ad campaign. Ultimately, the ad operations manager is the bridge between the people on the business end of the company and the programming and technology side.


This can represent a great opportunity for those capable of knowing the best of both worlds—but it can also present its own challenges. Below we’ll discuss a general job description, a typical day, and then delve into requirements and expectations.


Ad Operations Manager Description


Ultimately, an ad operations manager is in charge of leading a team of advertisers to produce and optimize the best possible campaign for their clients. You’ll be in charge of managing the relationships between your team members, addressing problems and implementing solutions, and supervising the output of their work to make sure that it matches the brief given to your team by the client or by higher-ups at your firm.


Interestingly, the term ‘ad operations manager’ is more of an umbrella term which may encompass several other job titles. If you’re looking at a job listing for ‘advertising manager’, ‘marketing manager’, ‘promotions director’, ‘marketing director’, ‘marketing and promotions manager’, or ‘ad executive’, those titles may all be referring to the same general line of work. Make sure you read the job description and review your own qualifications carefully to ensure that you know what you’re getting yourself into!


 What Do Ad Operations Managers Do?


As outlined above, it’s a lot of people management, interfacing with clients, and acting as the middleman between your tech experts and the business executives managing the relationship with the client!


However, here’s a slightly more itemized listing of what exactly it is that ad operations managers do:


  • Ad operations managers implement and schedule advertisement campaigns for a range of clients across a wide variety of industries and digital media platforms.
  • Ad operations managers take care of a team, which means listening to complaints and requests from team members, taking care of all of the inter-relationships formed, and making sure that all of the output from that team is stellar in nature.
  • Ad operations managers are also in charge of putting together and tweaking an overall budget for a campaign, submitting and defending it to upper management, and then making sure that the advertising team sticks to those numbers over the duration of the work period.
  • Finally, ad operations managers are in charge of analyzing just how an ad campaign did, looking at all of the data and metrics to determine audience conversion, and from that data making educated suggestions for how future ads might be optimized for best results.


 What Does a Typical Day Look Like?


The typical day on the job does vary depending on where your campaign is (whether it’s in build or it’s been launched, for example) and what needs your clients have expressed to you that they need filled. Your future day-to-day will likely begin with monitoring the input and output of your ad campaigns and communicating with your clients.


Making sure that there aren’t any issues with the campaign will likely be your number one priority! After that, you’ll be expected to solve any problems either instantaneously or before they happen, and anticipate the needs of client as far as where they would like their campaigns to go. A frequent question asked of current ad operations managers is simply how their job is possible! It does rely a lot on intuition, but being prepared and regularly taking the initiative are skills that will go far in this job.


Most ad operations managers report voluntarily going into the office before their scheduled hours so they can get a handle on the meetings they have that day, and to prepare any reports or deliverables that their clients may want. They also say that being an ad operations manager definitely isn’t just a 9-5 job, as campaigns may run globally and your clients will want around-the-clock support and data on them!


Ultimately, many of the current ad operations managers we spoke to said that they drink a lot of coffee and work a lot more than many of their peers. However, there are trade-offs: If you’re very good at your job, then the salary expectations can make your effort well worth your while.


Ad Operations Manager Qualifications


As you may imagine, the qualifications expected of such a high-powered and intense job are many. However, as with many jobs, the things most looked for among candidates are initiative and a history of providing quality work to clients! Beyond that, let’s delve into the specific job requirements most usually enlisted on ad operations manager job listings .


 Typical Education Requirements


As far as education goes, most future employers will be looking for at least a Bachelor’s degree in the management of business, with further education such as a Master’s or a Doctorate seen as a definite bonus. Any additional education undergone such as certificates or continuing education courses are definitely something that you should mention in your application!


Along with a significant amount of education, most employers will also be looking for a large amount of related experience to show that you know what it’s like to step into the shoes of a highly proficient ad operations manager. To this end, a typical benchmark is that a company would like to see that you have worked for at least two years in an advertising capacity within a firm or a company with a good reputation. However, if you’re applying to a larger job or hoping to work with a larger company, they may ask for you to have a year or two of specific advertisement management up your sleeve as well.


However, if you don’t have any of this experience or education but still feel like you have some qualities that would make you a strong match for this job, feel free to apply anyway! That sense of gumption and initiative is competitive and rare. Just make sure that you manage your expectations, and if you do get selected for an interview be very prepared to argue your case and back up your candidacy with as much proof as you have.


 Preferred Skills


One current ad operations manager reported that having some proficiency or at least familiarity with coding and programming languages (such as CSS or HTML) is helpful, because you will be helping merge technology with business. Therefore, being able to recognize and help tweak the coding will make your life a lot simpler—and up the value that you’re able to provide to your team.


As far as personality goes, a lot of clients will simply be looking for someone who’s a great team player and has a keen sense of humor. Being an ad operations manager can be a physically grueling job, and it definitely demands lots of collaboration and trust.


In a more itemized way, here are a few of the preferred skills that ad management hiring executives have reported looking for among their candidates:


  • A candidate should display a strong proclivity towards being highly organized
  • The candidate should have strong presentation skills
  • The candidate should be very familiar with basic computer programs—and, in some cases, more advanced computer programs depending on the specific role
  • The candidate should display an intimate and researched knowledge of the most recent news in digital media platforms and solutions, as one of their jobs will be to know the scope at which advertisement campaigns should run
  • The candidate should ideally have some background in advertising, and generally be able to tell a good ad from a bad one to better server the needs and aims of the client
  • As always, being a team player is definitely a plus! Future clients want to know that they can count on you as well as want to spend time with you!


Ad Operations Manager Career Outlook


One of the fantastic things about being an ad operations manager is that if you’re doing it well, you’re at the apex of a thriving industry. If you’re a good ad operations manager, you can go almost anywhere from there—whether it be technology, product design, further sales, or being one of the higher-ups at a booming company. Not only is it a great job in itself—it’s a versatile and sturdy stepping stone en route to almost any other kind of job you could imagine.


As far as the security of this specific profession goes, imagine a world without ads. Impossible, right? As the internet and our use of it expands, as the number of digital media properties shoots higher and higher, people will be seeking more and more to monetize the audience’s experiences of all of those properties. The number of ad operations managers to take care of all of the details regarding those campaigns will only be on the rise over the next number of years.


In fact, to this end, it was recently reported by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics that the number of jobs in this fields will definitely be increasing all the way through the year 2028.


Ad Operations Manager Salary Expectations


As always, the salary range varies incredibly based on the experience and skills you’re bringing to the job as well as the number of campaigns you’ll be working on, the clients with which you’re able to establish a great relationship, and even the reputation of the firm you’re working with—and the industries you’ll be working in. However, as a general ballpark figure for planning purposes, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that the most proficient and excellent ad operations managers can earn about $200,000 per annum.


However, as you might expect, that’s only the best—meaning, those performing consistently in approximately the top ten percentile of their field. The range can plummet all the way down to about 44K per year (or less) for those who perform in the lowest ten percent of their fields, with reported salaries running the entire gamut in between.


Find Your Ad Operations Manager Job


The information contained in this guide will be of great use to you as you figure out your next steps—congratulations for making it this far! Feel free to use all of the resources on Digital Media Jobs to make sure that you have all of the information you need to make one of the biggest career moves you may ever make.


Be sure to visit the Job Listings page to see if there are any ad operations manager jobs in your area to submit a quick application to! Good luck!



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Google Display Network (GDN) GDN is Google’s ad network of AdSense publishers, accessible via Google Ads (formerly AdWords). GDN is one of the largest, easiest, but simplest ad exchanges, making it a good choice for those who are new to the industry, or who only want to run basic programmatic marketing campaigns. Experienced Programmatic Traders will typically avoid GDN since its options are limited, however, compared to more modern DSPs. Demand Side Platforms (DSPs)   DSPs offer advertisers access to a wide collection of the available display, video, native and mobile inventory in real-time. In addition, many DSPs offer more advanced programmatic advertising technology, such as geofencing and IP address targeting capabilities, as well as access to a large bank of third-party data providers. Leading DSPs examples include The Trade Desk and DV360. Typically, DSPs are a better option for more advanced campaigns with restrictive or specific targets. GDN vs DSPs GDN has basic audience and content targeting capabilities, but the DSPs have additional targeting capabilities and sophisticated optimization tools. With more targeting options, advertisers using DSPs are typically better able to reach the exact group of people who will respond to their marketing efforts, making DSPs more effective than GDN. GDN isn’t bad though, it’s just better for small advertisers with limited budgets, while DSPs are best for large advertisers who require advanced targeting capabilities and greater reach. Using GDN & a DSP Simultaneously One thing virtually all programmatic trading experts agree on is that it’s best to NOT use both a GDN and a DSP simultaneously, as there are problems to running both systems at the same time, including: Inability to Control Frequency Capping – When running both GDN and a DSP, it becomes impossible to effectively control frequency capping, which can be a big problem as this is an effective way to reduce waste, avoid audience burnout and negative brand associations related to over-exposure. With a single DSP, it’s possible to cap frequencies, but with more than one DSP, or a DSP & GDN, frequency cannot be easily controlled. Multiple Bids on the Same Impression – DSPs participate in auctions for placements, and the highest bid wins each impression. If two DSPs are used to bid on the same audience (or cookie pool) then there will be competing bids from the same advertiser on the same impression, meaning advertisers using two DSPs, or DSP and GDN, will be bidding against themselves, needlessly driving up the price of each impression. Attribution Dilemma – Using more than one DSP, or a DSP and GDN, makes attributing and ROAS determinations much more difficult, especially when targeting a limited audience (like with a retargeting campaign). It’s likely that both DSPs will have ad exposures to many of the same converters, but only one will receive credit for the conversion. This makes it difficult to determine which platform is performing better, due to the randomness with which attribution gets assigned. Reach – Running two DSPs, or a DSP and GDN may lead to a slight increase in reach, but most top DSPs have access to nearly all of the same inventory, so the incremental increase in reach is probably not worth the other negative issues outlined above. Note: GDN has less inventory than the top DSPs (discussed below) and niche DSPs like Amazon are an exception, with exclusive inventory, but in general, all of the top DSPs have enough reach that advertisers don’t need to worry about running two platforms at once. For all of the reasons above, we recommend picking a single DSP and running with it. If you’re not happy with the results of the campaign, and want to try another DSP, it’s best to pause the existing campaign before starting up again on a new platform. Reach DSPs are superior to GDN when it comes to reach, since they can access hundreds of exchanges/suppliers such as PulsePoint, OpenX, AppNexus, Sonobi, Rubicon, PubMatic, PMPs and others, while GDN is limited to primarily to just the Google AdSense network. One example where DSPs are almost guaranteed to be superior to GDN would be running a re-targeting campaign, where you serve ads to customers who have already visited your site, but who have not yet converted. In this case, you’re working with a relatively small targeted population of valuable potential converters, so you’ll want to reach as many of those individuals as possible, and typically, a DSP will give you much more penetration into that audience than GDN. Any time programmatic traders are running retargeting campaigns, campaigns targeting a small geographic area, or campaigns focused on reaching a niche audience, using a DSP will typically produce better results than GDN. Inventory Availability DSPs distinguish themselves by having more premium inventory, whereas GDN inventory is primarily sourced from AdSense for publishers, which could include a lot of lower quality sites. Many large, established publishers such as CBS and The New York Times are on DSPs, but these types of premier brands are often not found on GDN. GDN is typically considered a good basic or beginner place for advertisers to start testing campaigns, just like Google AdSense for Publishers is considered a good place for publishers to start testing ad placements on their sites. Large and established publishers almost always eventually navigate to making their inventory available on the open exchange or through Private Marketplaces instead though, away from Google AdSense and GDN. Inventory Quality DSPs can buy the inventory across all value levels, whereas GDN is open auction only and includes many smaller publishers who cannot qualify to sell their inventory elsewhere, including Google’s premium exchange. This means that advertisers are probably getting a lot of “bottom of the barrel” inventory from GDN. In comparison, with DSPs, advertisers are able to set up deals that provide access to higher-quality inventory higher up the food chain, which typically leads to better converting traffic. CPC Vs CPM Pricing GDN gives advertisers a choice as to how to pay, but even though advertisers will be invoiced on a CPC (cost-per-click) basis, the yield management algorithms inside GDN are calculating an effective predictive CPM when deciding where, and how often, to serve each ad. In contrast to that system used by GDN, nearly all inventory purchased through DSPs is made available for real-time bidding on a CPM exchange, including Google and others. This tends to make pricing more attractive on DSPs than GDN. Targeting & Optimization Capabilities GDN has basic audience and content targeting and optimization capabilities, but DSPs have additional targeting and optimization capabilities. With more targeting and optimization options, there is a better chance for advertisers to reach the exact group of people who will respond to their ads, increasing the ROAS of the campaign. GDN is limited to location and language targeting, keyword targeting, device targeting and retargeting, whereas DSPs offer all sorts of additional options. DSPs have advanced capabilities, such as the ability to locate and target current and desired customers based on specific demographics, interests and their purchase intent, audience frequency caps for excluding users based on the number of impressions they have been served (across media, channels, and identity spaces) and advanced algorithms to adjust and optimize bids and budgets. 3 rd Party Data GDN does not have third-party targeting capabilities, meaning that you are reaching relevant users on  GDN only. With DSPs, you can target based on demographics, interests, topics, and even seek out users currently interested in a specific product or service through display and search.   Brand Safety/Ad Fraud/Audience Verification DSPs have fraud protection and brand safety controls that are integrated with leading third-party verification providers.  In contrast, GDN only offers Google Ads-only brand safety controls, without third-party integrations. GDN also doesn’t offer any transparency, so it’s virtually impossible to conduct impression-level analysis to determine what is performing well, and if that performance is real, or potentially fraudulent. GDN does self-grade the inventory that they are selling, but this isn’t transparent either, and GDN’s reporting is also only available through Google Ads, which further limits transparency for performance. Basically, DSPs offer much better options for brand safety, fraud prevention, and audience verification. Creative Options Google Ads: Image, Text, HTML5, Dynamic Creatives and Video Ads. Display & Video 360: Image, Rich Media, HTML5, Native, Video Ads and Dynamic Creatives. Pick the Right Platform for Your Campaign As this post established, simpler campaigns may be better suited for GDN, whereas more sophisticated campaigns are going to perform better on DSPs. When determining which platform will work best for you, you’ll have to review the differences outlined above, weighing the pros and cons, and deciding which system is in your best interest. But when it comes to deciding between running on the GDN vs. DSPs, typically, DSPs will win out thanks to their more-modern, more-sophisticated targeting, optimization and reporting capabilities.
What is Lead Scoring and How Does it Work? When it comes to acquiring new customers, most businesses focus all their time, money, and effort on one of two processes: acquiring leads or nurturing leads. Tons of resources are poured into lead generation activities (e.g., marketing, advertising, blogging, etc.) or lead nurturing activities (e.g., sales calls, email follow up sequences, etc.). In other words, most businesses either focus on what happens before someone becomes a lead or what happens after they become a lead, but what about the process in the middle? Many marketers and even businesses don’t even know that lead scoring exists, which means that the process of selecting which leads to pursue, and which to ignore, often goes overlooked entirely. For businesses that get very few leads, this is fine. However, businesses getting hundreds or even thousands of leads per day need to have a process in place that allows the sales team to prioritize which leads to pursue. It’s important to realize that not all leads are created equal. Some leads are cold and at the top of the funnel, while other leads are at the bottom of the funnel and are literally ready to buy right when they’re submitted. Still other leads won’t even be in the funnel at all, like those sent in by researchers or bloggers just poking around, and would be a complete waste of time to chase down. This is why it’s so important to have a lead scoring system to handle the sales process. Having a system that assigns numerical values to leads in such a way that will allow a sales representative to go after high-quality leads and disregard low-quality leads will result in better time efficiency and more revenue in the long run. That’s where lead scoring comes in, and that’s what we’ll explain to do in this post. What is Lead Scoring? Lead scoring is the process of assigning values to your leads so that you can label those that are most likely to convert and those that are not. This way, you’re able to prioritize which leads your sales team will contact next. Without a lead scoring system, leads would be chosen one by one which is fundamentally flawed because many of those leads will end up being a dead end and a huge waste of time. Having a lead scoring system is an extremely valuable tool for a business since it helps improve the efficiency of the company’s sales team, generates more revenue, and helps prevent the sales staff from experiencing burnout.   Better time efficiency means no time is wasted on bad leads, and no time wasted on bad leads means higher conversion rates and more revenue for the company. Additionally, since the sales team can see what characteristics and attributes make a high-quality lead, they can relay this information to the marketing team, which should help improve the overall marketing strategy too. With improved marketing, the leads coming into the sales funnel will be even more qualified than they were before, making the marketing and sales process easier, faster and more profitable for the company. How Does Lead Scoring Work? To give a prospect a lead score, you must first come up with a point system with rules. This point system is at the heart of lead scoring and what ultimately allows you to know which prospects are hot and which are cold. The first step in creating a point system is looking at past and present customers. Look for commonalities between customers—the attributes that they all share or the common actions that these customers took just before becoming a customer (e.g., a download, a click, a form submit, etc.).   The next step would be to assign a numeric value to each of the attributes you have chosen to be good indicators of potential customers. There are different ways to assign points to attributes, but to keep it simple, one way would be to add a higher amount of points to crucial attributes that all customers share and fewer points to those attributes that occur less frequently in customers. Three Types of Scoring There are three main ways most systems and organizations score leads. The first one is demographic scoring which is when you score a lead based on the data you have collected on the lead submitter. For example, people who live in a certain location or those that are a certain age would receive a higher score. This way, you can ensure that those who fit your target demographic will get prioritized. The next type is behavioral scoring. With behavioral scoring, you score a lead based off of how they interacted with your website or business. Using behavioral scoring, you might award more points to people who have visited multiple pages of the site, people who have visited the pricing page, people who have downloaded a brochure, etc. Lastly, there’s negative scoring which is where you deduct points based on attributes that would automatically disqualify someone from being a good lead. For example, you might want to deduct points from leads who have visited the employment page, or who did not include either a phone number or email address on the lead form they submit. Having a system that utilizes these 3 different types of scoring will allow you to qualify and rank your leads more accurately.   How to Find the Important Attributes A lead score model needs a set of rules that tell you when to add points to people with certain demographic and behavioral attributes. But how do you know which attributes to award points to? First, try asking your sales team. Since your sales team is constantly in the trenches, actually interacting with your leads before they become customers, they usually have valuable insight as to what type of attributes indicate that someone will become a customer. Next, you could ask your advertising department. It’s no secret that advertisers must deliver the right message to the right people, otherwise, their advertising efforts will have been for nothing. To do this, advertisers have a predetermined set of attributes that they use when they’re configuring their targeting settings just before launching a digital ad campaign. Viewing your advertising department’s targeting settings just might give you the insights you need to discover those important attributes that you can assign points to. You also might be able to find important attributes from your marketing department. Like the advertising department, the marketing department also has a target market—a set of attributes—which they hone in on when they deliver their creatives, content, and collateral. Looking at the marketing department’s targeted demographics can reveal hidden attributes that might not have been obvious at first. Additionally, you could ask the customers themselves since their inner thought processes are something that no marketer could replicate. Although surveying your customers is more time consuming, it might be worth asking them why they think they became customers or when in the sales cycle they knew they would become customers. You could do this by interviewing your customers, sending them a questionnaire, or by sending them a poll. Lastly, you could also check your analytics, which is ripe with valuable insights on your customer’s demographics, interests, and behavior (all three types of lead scoring data!). Running an attribution report can uncover which marketing activities convert leads into customers. You could also check which pages of the site leads have viewed before turning into customers or which pages visitors viewed before turning into leads and use this info to assign a higher score to leads that have viewed those pages. How is it Done? There are a few different ways of lead scoring, however, some methods take longer and are less effective than others. The first way of doing this is manually, although almost no one ever does it this way anymore as it becomes too time-consuming. Another method is using a data mining technique called logistic regression. For this method, you must build a formula (typically in excel) that takes into account all of the customer’s attributes and analyzes how they interact with one another, which in the end, will determine the probability that a lead will convert into a customer.    And finally, there are some automated approaches that do all of the heavy lifting for you. For example, some email autoresponders have a lead scoring system already built into them, with a few examples being Active Campaign, Get Response, and Drip. But even that isn’t as effective as another automated lead scoring method called Predictive Lead Scoring. Predictive Lead Scoring In an ideal world, your lead scoring system wouldn’t be static, but instead should be a living, breathing thing that changes as the market and your customers change. The criteria and attributes that make a good, high-quality lead might not even be the same from month to month—this is especially true for businesses that are heavily influenced by seasonality. This is why it’s recommended that you constantly need to be making tweaks to your scoring system so that it stays as accurate as possible. But this can quickly become too time-consuming, stealing the time you need to dedicate towards other elements of running your business. How can you automate the lead scoring system tweaking process and essentially “set it and forget it”? The answer is predictive lead scoring. Predictive scoring is an AI-based scoring system that uses machine learning to look at thousands of data points to see which attributes indicate hot leads. The scoring algorithm is constantly evolving, automatically making tweaks, updating itself, and sorting your leads to ensure that those most likely to convert remain at the top of your sales funnel. Admittedly, predictive lead scoring isn’t the right tool for every business. Because the sorting algorithm needs a large number of data points for it to work, predictive lead scoring is best suited for Businesses that have thousands of customers. If you’d like to try out predictive lead scoring, some popular lead scoring tools are MadKudu, Infer, Mintigo, and 6Sense. What Should You Do? No matter what lead score software or method you do end up choosing to use, the important thing is that you try something other than treating every single lead as being equal, as that’s an incredibly inefficient way to handle sales. Lead scoring is incredibly powerful and the truth of the matter is that most lead-based businesses could benefit from implementing a lead scoring system of some sort, even if it’s incredibly simplistic and done entirely manually. If you’re looking for ways to increase lead conversion rates, improve sales rep productivity, save time and money, and improve profits, then you need to look into lead scoring! About The Author Darden Faulkner is a freelance writer and product reviewer living and working in Irvine, CA. He enjoys long walks on the beach, learning everything he can about Google products, and has just discovered Twitter!  Follow him over on Twitter  for the latest life updates
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