The Career That Keeps On Giving

  • There’s no such thing as guaranteed employment, but digital ad operations comes pretty close. Plus, you get to become a member of a secret society! Cool, right?!

I’ve taught many classes throughout the years on ad operations. At some point in the curriculum I go off script, get on my soapbox and pontificate on why I think this is a great career. There are several reasons for this.

You will never be obsolete. You will live in an environment that keeps changing and will continue to change. It may be hard to see that if your perspective is the here and now, but looking over the last 20 years, here are just some of the innovations we’ve had to adopt and learn.

  • Creation of the first publisher-side ad servers
  • Adoption of agency 3rd party ad servers and the “redirect”
  • Introduction of contract management systems
  • Definition of the ad impression
  • Rich media and video
  • Digital video pods and commercial ad breaks
  • Syndication and media rights management of video
  • The rise of programmatic advertising, SSPs, DSPs and header bidding
  • Adoption of viewability, verification and demo metrics
  • Landscape of OTT devices, which continues to shift
  • Dynamic Ad Insertion
  • Addressable media

You will be challenged to stretch your intellect and expand your problem-solving capabilities. Your day will fly by. You will never look at the clock and ask, “when will this day be over?” Instead, you will look up, see it’s 6PM and ask, “where did the day go!?”

You are more important than you think. Not a single dollar of contracted revenue can be fulfilled unless you in ad operations do your job. You are gatekeepers, making sure that inventory, pricing and contractual terms will enable your company to achieve its revenue goals.

There is the opportunity for career growth. There are a lot of places to go in ad operations besides planning and trafficking. Inventory and yield management. Data analysis. Project management for ad platforms. In fact, the savviest employers will make sure you rotate from one position to another, which helps build your levels of experience and value.

There is upside that is significant, and unexpected. Whether you call it ad operations, media operations or revenue operations, it’s the lifeblood of any company. And if you are working for a start-up, you’re not exempt from upside. Just ask any early stage employee at Google or Facebook. So, while you’re engaged in a stimulating job and getting paid well, you may find yourself with some unexpected benefits as well.

You are part of a secret society. Ever tried explaining what you do to friends and family? You work with internet businesses and software. You manage campaigns, you work with ad code. You’re involved in managing workflow. You get paid good coin for that. But it’s still a little nebulous to the uninitiated. So be it. You work with peers with a secret language and skill set. A secret society.

For all these reasons, if you are interested in being consistently challenged, are a geek for technology, have a moderate OCD streak, and hate boredom – this is a career that might be for you. It’ll be around as long as you want to be.

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