Long before ads are seen by consumers, they require hours of creativity, focus, and manual work. Digital campaign trafficking is, at times, tedious, and the tag wrapping process can be subject to human error. Recognizing this challenge, IAS developed the Automated Tag solution, which automatically appends IAS verification once it’s activated by the client, significantly reducing the time it takes to get campaigns live. But don’t just take our word for it — we asked our partners to weigh in on how Automated Tag has made an impact on their workload and overall efficiency.
First, we spoke to Awlogy team members Ben Brodie (Director, Agency & Strategic Accounts) and Michelle Vuksic (Director, Performance Operations). Awlogy is an audience buying group that acts as a single point of access for all ad tech and innovative media needs for agencies, brands, and startups. Together, we sat down to understand how Automated Tag has helped the Awlogy team shift their time and efforts toward more meaningful tasks.
Can you tell us a little bit about what your typical day was like before IAS released Automated Tag?
Michelle: I spend my day looking after the accounts at a high level, working with new businesses, and helping out where questions come up about best practices or how we should use a tool or a platform. So it’s mostly my team that’s been using the Automated Tag tool. For example: Emily, our Senior Media Buyer, is the one that goes in and manages our campaigns. She’ll take campaigns from IO to the campaign wrap-up report at the end, where we’re giving insights to our clients based on how the campaign performed. So, she’s got eyes on everything from the beginning of the campaign to the wrap up of the campaign as well.
What are some obstacles you or your team has faced during that process, particularly working with third-party verification partners?
Michelle: I think the common thread is timing. Sometimes campaigns come in with very little time between when we receive the assets and tags and when the client needs everything to go live. And that’s pretty consistent throughout my career—You wait until the client sends you what they need and then it’s run as fast as you can to get it done. Verification can be a long process and, if it’s already been applied for pre-bid, then the post-bid step is most likely to get skipped to save time. That is, if it wasn’t required by the client, then it’s easy to focus on getting the campaign live and just use the tools we have in our platform. When there are expectations for verification to be applied, it’s definitely slowed down the process and can add another layer of stress.
Ben: Adding to that, I think many of the conversations that we have revolve around us being nimble, to adapt to changes clients make in their targeting data or creative strategies. A lot of the time, that means we have to retraffic tags a couple of times at the last minute and, although important, sending out tags to be wrapped for verification can cause delays that turn into fire drills. I always laugh because programmatic means “automated buying,” but there’s really nothing automated about it, it’s incredibly manual. The pieces like brand safety, especially with some of our larger clients, it’s super important, but that leads to Michelle’s point. You have 15-20 different steps during the setup process, and you’re running as fast as you can to hit what seems like an impossible go live date. Creating a seamless setup process to wrap tags is a big time and sanity saver. With the Automated Tag system in place, we now have something that allows us to be nimble and remove the multitude of steps that we have to account for in our day-to-day.
How has the Automated Tag beta with Google streamlined that process, and the likelihood of adding verification to campaigns?
Ben: To clarify, we’ve always used some sort of verification, but it’s mainly been on the pre-bid side. And in the past couple years, we used to apply your Firewall tagging quite a lot. From where I sat, Automated Tag has saved a massive amount of time, and it allows our traders to actually concentrate on setup strategy, versus reaching out to vendors. That’s constantly the push and pull that we’re always dealing with: how to remove some of those obstacles so our folks can focus on setting up campaigns the right way, and to be able to adjust based on changes that happen during the campaign. So, when we sat down with IAS and went through the new tag wrapping process, I was really pleased about how turn-key it was. If I’m remembering correctly, the tags were updated without having to implement each individual line item, which is an absolute pain, especially with some of these larger campaigns.
Michelle: I really feel like that’s the way it should be. I feel like Automated Tag is very natural in the setup process. I like that as you’re going through different tags, you can check the box and wrap it up. Having some settings applied on the back end is really, really effective.
Now that you’re using Automated Tag, what are some of the specific benefits you and your team have experienced?
Michelle: Normally, even the amount of time it takes just to prepare the tags, the client email, and then get everything gathered up to send out to a vendor to manage—that’s a lot of time. It gets disruptive to the trafficking process throughout the entire day. There are just so many extra steps that add up to much more time than just what the task is itself. Automated Tag is very easy to use, so it not only streamlines things now but also in the future when we need to train somebody to learn the process. I think moving forward, it’ll be a lot easier for new hires, who haven’t gone through any of the old verification steps, to incorporate that into our overall process.
Where are you now able to shift energy and focus, and what do you think will be the long-term impacts of using Automated Tag?
Michelle: From my perspective, there’s never enough time to go into campaign optimization or find opportunities within your campaign. On top of that, there’s always more to refine within a campaign, and that’s definitely where I prefer to have my team spending their time. When they’re not stuck sitting with the details of campaign setup, there’s a lot more they can do with their day. That’s what Automated Tag helps us achieve.
Ben: And I mean that breaks down to hours of time. It also captures something that you can’t really quantify. Getting off work at 6 P.M. versus getting off at 8 P.M. is a big difference in terms of quality of life. And what they don’t tell you at school is that advertising is not a nine to five job. It can be a brutal grind. These automated integrations make your job easier, allow you to live your life the way you should, and do right by the client. That’s huge.