Managing ad monetization is a big deal. Understanding how many networks an app actually need in order to max out its earning potential is the first challenge. Then there’s automation, which is covered by most of the mediation platforms. However, it doesn’t stop here. Deals and relationships cannot be solely managed by the mediation platforms, so working directly with the ad networks is mandatory.
An account manager, or success managers, as they are sometimes called today, are the working force behind every successful monetization network. They take upon themselves to manage each client with care, address any issues or complaints they might have and generally speaking keep them around for as long as they can. The general notion is that it they are not important in the business value chain and cannot really control the numbers.
That notion is false in most cases. Truth is, success manager can mean the world to your business. Here’s how:
Avoid losses – is there any motivation for an ad network to ask you to pause their traffic at any point? The answer is Yes. The ‘smart’ ad networks know – when a dramatic decrease happens in certain GEO’s, for any reason, they should alert the client before he finds out on his own. An alert will lead to either pausing or lowering this specific ad network position in the waterfall, thus preventing immediate loss. All ad network suffer from fluctuations (drop in demand, technical issues, seasonality, etc), and most publishers are aware of that. When the alerting ad network’s eCPM goes back to normal, so should their position in the waterfall. This requires a lot of trust between the companies, and what I’ve called ‘friendship mode’ in the past. Bottom line – this kind of relationship can save you thousands of dollars per month, especially when dealing with over 3-4 networks.
Note: Not all ad network will be willing to be so transparent, but sometimes your account manager will be, regardless. This will not happen without a very close and personal relationship.
Find hacks – This is the very essence of account management – those little things that trick the system and/or the algorithm and stretch out company guidelines (without breaking them), in order to maintain good performance. Any network has vulnerabilities, and a good account manager will be able to not only recognize them but also work around them. Some will get you to invest in certain GEO’s to increase eCPM in other, important GEO’s. some will ask you to create artificial ad requests just for their algorithm to ‘consider’ you as a big publisher (and deliver high eCPM yielding offers). Each networks has it’s own hack, and those are sometimes in account executive’s discretion.
Note: using inside hacks is usually the results of not only a close relationship (which is mandatory), but mainly of resourceful account management that followed this solution through. It requires intelligence and some sort of cooperate courage. If you’re account manager doesn’t possess these characteristics, maybe it’s time for a change.
Scale up – ever implemented an SDK without any questions? What about mediation? Ever witnessed a reporting error, or a problem in ad serving? What about delay in payments? Now, you may claim that all these issues are rare, at least for solid ad network. I tend to agree. So why the account manager’s main responsibilities are connected to these problem-solving issues? The account manager was rebranded as a success manager to better reflect his main responsibility – scaling up.The truly good account manager should pitch you with a fresh monetization ideas once or twice a month, based on his experience – changing the Call-to-action button, layout, color, ad locations, frequency, new GEO, etc. About 10%-20% of those ideas are actually doable. Some are too complicated, most are plain wrong – but it can still worth gold for you, if even one of them actually worked out.
Note: this one’s on you. Tackle your success manager with the things you want to achieve and maintain a frequent relationship make sure they understand you’re open to hear and explore every idea to improve results. Be prepared to become a beta tester in some cases, and don’t fear failure. Always stay ahead of the game, never behind it.
These are the essentials for every ad network. These essentials are usually a direct result of a person working behind the scenes, not an automated machine. Still, the question remains – how do you trigger that kind of positive behavior with the account managers you work with? The answer is simple, yet time consuming – you keep them close to you. You talk to them often. You turn them from a LinkedIn contact to a friend. You care about them and acknowledging their hard work. Sounds out-of-place, right? Probably. Nevertheless, it’s the best business decision you’ll make when you work with ad networks. A good account manager will probably be good to anyone, but most account managers will be great and provide real, measurable value to accounts they actually care about. In the ad monetization business, some things even the best algorithms just can’t provide.