Advertisements are everywhere. We see billboards when we’re driving down the highway, commercials during Sunday Night Football, and sponsored posts on every major social media platform from Facebook to YouTube.
Advertising is a paid form of public communication that’s designed to generate interest or promote sales. Organizations pay to display their ads in the hopes that more people will be aware of their brand and purchase their offerings.
They can take the form of a variety of media, like billboards, magazines, television, radio, or digital outlets. As technology becomes more and more ingrained in our lives, we’re seeing a huge surge in digital advertising. Digital ad spend in the US alone is projected to exceed $300 billion by 2025.
Advertising is just one of many elements in the marketing process, but it’s certainly an important factor when it comes to branding, awareness, and revenue.
What is advertising management?
Ad management is the process of overseeing and controlling advertising activities. It can usually be broken down into 4 key components:
- Target audience: Who are we trying to reach?
- Message: What are we saying?
- Media: What channels are we using to reach them?
- Measuring effectiveness: Did our message reach our audience and how did they respond?
Digital advertising is unique in the amount of data that it provides, giving us many ways to measure effectiveness. Organizations are able to track impressions, click rates, conversion rates, bounce rates, and many other metrics that inform them on the performance and effectiveness of a particular ad or campaign.
Advertising management takes into account these metrics to optimize ad strategy and get the most bang for buck.
Why do you need an ad management tool?
An ad management tool has the power to streamline many aspects of advertising, such as planning campaigns, sharing content, and running analysis.
Maximizing return while staying in budget
Due to its paid nature, advertising can quickly become an expensive activity. In fact, it’s the most costly promotional element that many companies will invest in. Therefore, media strategy should be carefully determined to maximize ROI. A bad strategy can easily take you over budget while producing subpar results.
Monitoring campaign performances across different channels
Many platforms like Facebook Ads or Google Ads provide insights for you to see if your ads are driving their intended goal. However, it can be difficult to compare performance side by side across platforms. The more channels you’re leveraging, the harder comparisons become. This is where ad management software comes in.
Centralizing ad data to bring a holistic view
Ad management software provides a centralized view of all of your advertising activities. You’ll be able to better understand how your ads are performing as a whole, as well as compare performance across different campaigns and channels.
Streamlining marketing operations for stakeholders
Effective communication with stakeholders is essential when developing strategies. Ad management software is a crucial tool for communicating advertising analytics, presenting findings in a readable and digestible format. Stakeholders will better understand ad performance to make more impactful marketing decisions.
Identify opportunities and detect anomalies
Ad management software can help businesses identify opportunities – like noticing channels with high engagement – or detect anomalies – like a sudden drop in conversion rates suggesting an issue with the landing page. Spotting these findings and responding appropriately is key to improving ad strategy and ensuring ads are performing as intended.
What to include
Which metrics to include in your ad management software may differ slightly depending on your business model and your business’ goals. Here are some common metrics to track. These can be broken down by channel, by campaign, or by other dimensions to compare performance and develop strategies for optimization.
- Cost per click (CPC)
- Conversion rate
- Bounce Rate
- Click through rate (CTR)
- Return on investment (ROI)
Tracking these metrics can help you make sure your ads are reaching the right audience, delivering a convincing message, and actually converting customers.
What tools to use
To build an ad management platform, we’ll need tools to help us accomplish two main tasks: consolidating data and presenting data. For these, we’ll turn to data processing tools and business intelligence platforms.
Data processing tools
The first hurdle is gathering data in one place. Since ad data is stored separately for each channel, it’s difficult to make comparisons. Chances are, each source formats their data differently as well, compounding the challenge.
ETL tools can be used to extract data from disparate sources, transform data, and load data into a data warehouse. With their help, your disparate data will be clean and centralized.
There are several kinds of ETL tools, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. They can generally be grouped into 4 categories:
- Enterprise software tools are the most robust on the market, but often come at a higher price.
- Open-source tools are usually free, but largely vary in ease of use and functionality.
- Cloud-based tools are efficient, but often only work within the cloud service provider’s environment.
- Custom tools built using programming languages are the most flexible, but require a lot of resources for building, testing, and maintaining.
When choosing the best tool to use for your business, keep in mind your budget, the complexity of your data, where you’re extracting data from, and the technical literacy of your team. These factors can help you determine which tools are right for your purpose.
Business intelligence tools
Once the data is prepared, there still needs to be a way to access data and create dashboards, reports, or data visualizations to effectively manage ads. BI tools provide a way to access data as well as to display relevant information in easily digestible formats.
As with data processing tools, there are many BI tools on the market, each with a different set of features. With so many options, choosing the best tool for your business can be a difficult process. However, no matter what industry your business falls under, there are some common considerations that can be used to help you come to a decision. Here are some questions you can ask to guide yourself:
- Who is doing the building? Some BI tools are more friendly towards non-technical users, while others require more technical expertise. Think about who will be building out your solutions and your available technical resources.
- Is your data already clean? If your data still needs to be transformed, consider a BI tool that has transformation capabilities. Some tools make it easy to build a dashboard, but already expect your data to be clean and transformed.
- Where is your data stored? Some tools facilitate easy connections to databases, third-party platforms, and APIs, while others may have a more complicated process or none at all. Make sure your data source is supported by your BI tool.
- How crucial is customization? Most companies want a BI solution that integrates seamlessly with their current data operations. That may mean the need for more customizable options.
- Who is viewing your report? Some BI tools are more scalable than others. Scalability allows your insights to be more accessible to others in your organization. You may want to share insights across departments, with customers, or with external partners to drive business. Scalable options with user management can help manage and improve distribution.
These questions can help you find a solution that fits your business needs and complements your current business model.
How Acho can help you create custom ad management software
Acho is a low-code data application development platform that provides you with all tools necessary to build your own custom ad management software. The platform has the capability to easily connect to your data sources, transform and clean your data, and build custom applications on top of it.
Let’s dive a little deeper and explore how Acho can be a solution for ad management.
Advertising activity produces an abundance of data from many different platforms. Businesses may also be using their own data warehouses or Excel spreadsheets to manage their data. Accessing data in many locations can be difficult. Acho has built-in tools to extract and transform data, wherever it’s located.
Acho offers many methods to connect to data. There are connectors to a variety of data sources that can be used to consolidate your advertising data.
- If your data is already housed in a database like PostgreSQL, MongoDB, or SQL Server, you’ll be able to retrieve the relevant tables to use in your application.
- If not, there are 100+ native third-party integrations to platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook Marketing, YouTube Analytics, and Instagram. These integrations are made simple. All you need to do is log in to your account.
- If you find that your ad platform is not currently supported, you can also retrieve your data using the universal API connector.
- You’ll also be able to upload data that’s stored in flat files, like Excel or CSV.
Gathering your data from disparate sources is pretty straightforward, no matter the location of your data. There are also different ways to connect data as well so users can easily choose between self-hosting, cloud warehousing, and replication.
Acho also comes with built-in tools for cleaning and transforming the ingested data. With many no-code, built-in SQL actions, as well as a SQL editor for more freeform queries, users can deliver tables of any desirable format with an automated, robust pipeline.
Acho’s pipeline means that logic changes can be implemented with fewer moving parts and less stress compared to other ETL tools. When changes are made to the pipeline, those adjustments will automatically be applied downstream, creating a seamless process for transforming your data.
These tools function as the ETL layer to consolidate, integrate, and process data in order to prepare it for application building.
Acho’s App Builder provides a low-code environment to build custom web apps. These applications can be built to do everything that traditional BI software can do with more customization, better scalability, and greater functionality.
Here are some highlights of the App Builder that make it a good alternative to BI tools:
- Drill down, filter, and write back. All BI tools have the capability to drill down or filter data. Acho takes it a step further by allowing users to write back to databases or third-party platforms. What does this mean for your ad management? You’ll be able to pause campaigns, change budgets, and send emails directly from your ad management application.
- Highly customizable drag-and-drop features. Many BI tools, especially those geared toward business users, have drag-and-drop features. However, features on other tools can lack customizability. Acho’s features can be customized to your liking, enabling users to build any application they can think of. Applications can be built to fit your business’ model and unique ad management needs.
- For builders of various technical experience. Creating a web app often takes up a lot of development resources. The low-code environment of Acho’s App Builder allows individuals to quickly build an application without the nitty gritty technical knowledge.
- Granular access control. When distributing your ad management software, you may want to control who in the organization has access to which data. With granular access control, you can set who has access to which applications, which pages within the application, and even specific elements within it.
These applications work to deliver executable insights to your team and allow you to take immediate action.
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