Panache has unveiled Ad Flow, a new work flow tool for online video ads intended to streamline the process for publishers adding and approving new video campaigns. I got a short demo of Ad Flow from the Panache team and it looked intuitive and thorough.
According to Panache's EVP Cheryl Kellond, who was formerly a VP of Advertising at Yahoo, ordinarily this process is very manual and is based on home-brewed work flow tools which can result in a lot of emails back and forth among the publisher's team members. The result is that it can take up to 6 weeks and end up costing 25-40% of the value of the campaign with all the personnel time involved. With these delays, Cheryl said Yahoo sometimes had to turn business away because they couldn't process the ads quickly enough.
Though I've never personally been involved in this type of process at a major publisher, I have a glimpse into how complicated it must be from my own experience with VideoNuze's ads. First I receive sponsors' creative which was to have been developed according to published specs. Then I load the ads into my ad system and test them along a number of different dimensions. For one reason or another, frequently there are 1-2 rounds of revisions before they finally go live.
Even for a relatively simple site like VideoNuze which accepts Flash ads, though not video ads, there are a number of things that can cause deviations, resulting in delays for the campaign's start date. Mind you I'm not complaining, I've just come to understand that all of this is part of being in an ad-supported business.
With Ad Flow, the publisher's ad sales, ad product strategy, operations and creative teams can all monitor the step-by-step progress of new campaigns from initially being loaded through testing and to final approval. Rather than using email to monitor progress, everyone gets access to the tool for their specific tasks. Importantly, testing can be in the publisher's video player offline, which has been hard in the past. Ad Flow is another element in online video's foundation which will reduce the friction involved in getting ads live so that more TV ad budgets can be shifted to online video.
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