A Guide to Ad Operations for Publishers

Brock Munro
February 18, 2021
April 8, 2024
A Guide to Ad Operations for Publishers

What is Digital Ad Operations?

Digital Ad Operations is an umbrella term that encompasses all systems that enable you to establish, plan, execute and improve ad campaigns. An advertising operations team brainstorms ideas to run creative digital ad campaigns for multiple publishers. 

Generally, an Ad Operations team manages and delivers digital adverts using ad exchanges, ad networks, ad servers, DMPs, and SSPs

From establishing floodlights to developing triggers for Google Tag Manager, ad operations teams collaborate with publishers or marketers to manage advertisements depending on which side you work in. The main task of ad operations is to generate the maximum potential ad revenue without hindering user experience.

There are several ways to achieve this, whether through private marketplaces or by establishing direct deals. Team members of Ad Operations use various digital marketing techniques such as creating banner ads, incorporating rich media ads, text advertising, and optimizing for Google search ads.

What Does an Ad Operations Team Do?

Ad Operations (Ad Ops) teams have many different roles in their day-to-day job activities. Their duties mainly revolve around the traffic volume and performance of online ads and ad campaigns.

The Ad Operations team's job is to ensure that all aspects and key indicators of an ad are analyzed properly. Each ad has the best possible chance for success.

 If you're a web content publisher, a competent Ad Operations team will contribute greatly to your business by ensuring the ads you're investing in are productive in attracting potential customers.

To facilitate this process, Ad Ops teams will monitor their ads around the clock to ensure that all technical operations are being performed as intended, and then make changes if needed.

Key Responsibilities of a Digital Ad Operations Team

Whether your Ad Ops team is going to engage with single or various accounts, there are a few key responsibilities that all Ad Ops professionals have to keep in mind. These include trafficking, scheduling, campaign optimization, demand management, and yield management.


The trafficking process requires an ad trafficker to run an ad campaign with the help of an ad server. Ad Traffickers' primary function is to increase ad referrals to publishers' websites.

Trafficking for online ads consists of tracking and delivering ads across multiple ad exchanges, monitoring third-party ad tags from various vendors, and fixing any technical problems that stop them from completing the task as well.


All competent Ad Ops teams recognize the importance of an effective schedule for online ads. Posting an online ad, for example, at a particular time of the day when your target demographic is most likely to engage with it, is the name of the game here. Ad Schedulers launch digital ads on pre-fixed schedules. They set advertising agendas to deliver relevant content on various platforms within specific time slots. This ensures that it reaches the target audience.

Another aspect that Ad Ops professionals have to consider when scheduling ads is special occasions, holidays, and other seasonal events, which can be leveraged in advertising campaigns.


To ensure your ad campaign has the best chance of success, Ad Ops teams work to optimize your ads so that they can draw the most attention from your potential customers.

This includes checking your ad's content to fulfill SEO requirements and deciding where to place the ads based on location and keyword search. 

These elements will impact the cost-per-click factor, which determines the value an ad is adding to your business.

Demand Management

Demand management is another aspect that Ad Operations teams need to monitor regularly. Many large publishers will typically have sizable sales units that are tasked with generating potential sales and other leads.

Ad Operations teams play an important role in managing the demand that the sales teams generate, and their duties involve:

  • Dealing with contractual matters.
  • Negotiating on behalf of the publisher.
  • Following up on agreements to ensure they are being fulfilled.

Yield Management

Yield management requires Ad Operations teams to analyze and streamline all aspects of online advertising operations to minimize costs and maximize profits.

This can include redesigning the layout of a website with Ad Ops tools to make the ad space more prominent to users. Ad Campaign Managers ensure that online advertising campaigns achieve their objectives. They coordinate online Ad Ops between an ad agency and a publisher.

Role of SSPs and DSPs

SSP is short for the supply-side platform, and it provides Ad Ops teams with a convenient way to sell their ads to the best ad network without any hassle. Similarly, DSPs or demand-side platforms perform the same function for ad buyers.

Softwares, Tools and Platforms to Use 

Suppose you want your Ad Ops team to work to their full potential. In that case, you need to provide them with a comprehensive toolkit, which will help them generate revenue for your company via your ad campaigns.

You can choose from a wide selection of platforms and programs to meet your requirements.

HeaderBid Expert

This toolkit is a downloadable Chrome plugin that lets you view the list of header bidding partners engaged on the website page. This will also be utilized to see how much time each partner has to bid for inventory and to incorporate management strategies to maximize this timeframe for effective sales.

Google Publisher Console

The Google Publisher Console toolkit is a Google Ad Manager debug framework that can identify distribution-specific errors by inspecting line items. The audit involves testing page latency, ad tags, demand efficiency check, and delivery speed.

Video Tag Validators

You need a trustworthy video tag validator to ensure that your video ads run smoothly. For example, this toolkit called the Video VAST/VPAID Tag Validator by Tremor helps you to validate and check the anticipated behavior of a particular ad tag. You can utilize it for various types of online video advertising and measure banner sizes to customize a webpage appropriately.

Google VAST Inspector

The Google Video Ad Serving Design Inspector, or VAST Inspector, is a helpful tool that helps you to review your video ads. It helps you insert a video URL to track the performance of your ad.

HTML Code Cleaner

HTML Code Cleaner is an essential tool for Ad Ops professionals. Integrating online ads into a website's HTML code can detract from the layout and presentation of the website if not careful. You can use a trusted tool such as DirtyMarkUp or HTMLTidy to clean up HTML on your website and make your ads more presentable.

What are the Basic Steps Required for a Good Ad Campaign?

If you want your Ad Ops campaign to be successful, here are the four basic steps you need to follow:

  • Establish a clear goal
  • Decide the media channels on which to publish the campaign
  • Center the campaign around a singular idea or vision and with a good understanding of Ad Ops tools
  • Gather post-launch feedback and make improvements

In-house Ad Ops vs. Outsourced Ad Ops

In-house Ad Operations consist of a team responsible for the overall inventory of the website or publisher. Many of their strategic objectives and planning processes are formulated to consider the site.

Even so, when it comes to working with other ad platforms, ad exchanges, and ad agencies, advertisers end up receiving support from external agencies for Ad Operations as Outsourced Ad Operations sometimes have additional resources to bring advanced tactics to the table. 

For the ideal mix, often several medium and large-sized advertisers may be involved in both in-house and outsourced Ad Ops. In-house Ad Operations can provide publishers with day-to-day confidence and streamlined processes. At the same time, outsourced Ad Operations can maximize revenue by opening the publisher's doors to stronger demand. 

Different websites with large revenue streams can also get frustrated when handling the consumer base. In such a situation, the publisher may split their traffic between external agencies, which lets them generate their revenue streams efficiently while maximizing each impression.

When Do You Need an Ad Ops Team?

When you have massive amounts of concurrent users and wish to collaborate with numerous demand partners in the digital advertising industry, it's best to get an Ad Ops team to help you reach the desired goals. Ad Ops specialists are adept at handling things for you so that you don't have to worry about it. You can choose to create your own in-house department or offload it to seasoned project partners.

The preferred option depends on how a publisher operates and other factors like technological limitations, broader company objectives, and market insights and knowledge. Usually, a publisher aiming to improve consumer engagement and produce high-quality content will benefit from collaborating with an ad operations team.

Some advertisers may employ an in-house team to manage assured programmatic campaigns and an outside team to market the remaining inventories on free ad exchanges. 

Wrap Up

In today's world, the advertising industry has shifted its operations towards the digital advertising space, which is constantly evolving. Advertisers are now using new ad tech to increase their revenue generation and expanding into new spaces, such as mobile advertising, video advertising, email display adverts, and more. Online publishers will want to consider leveraging ad operations techniques to optimize their ad campaigns for success

If you’re making more than $2,000 in monthly ad revenue, contact us today to learn more about how Publift can help increase your ad revenue and best optimize the ad space available on your website or app.

Grow with us

Grow your business with a sustainable, long term partnership. If you're making more than $2,000 in monthly ad revenue, contact us today to boost your revenue with our all-in-one solution.
Laptop screen with web page open

Success Stories