Automated reporting for sell-side agencies using Google DoubleClick for Publishers-A data warehousing approach

 In Digital Business Intelligence, Marketing ETL

At LVMetrics, a core tenet of our vision is to enable digital marketers to improve their operational productivity as a first step towards advanced media optimization through more effective use of digital data warehousing. In this pursuit, we actively identify and develop mini-offerings that help address real life challenges for Advertisers, Publishers and Agencies alike.

This post is aimed at Media agencies supporting the sell-side. Companies who manage media on behalf of multiple publisher clients. The use case outlined forms part of our wider data warehousing offering using Google DFP and serves as a great example for how agencies can significantly streamline their client reporting and internal financial performance measurement using simple but effective data integration.

The Challenge

Google’s  Double Click for Publishers is a popular publisher Ad Server Platform that provides the mainstay of Ad Operations for the who’s who of Media Publishing business. Of particular interest are sell-side agencies who use DFP (typically DFP Premium) to manage accounts for multiple media clients. Some of the larger agencies regularly manage upwards of 150 clients as part of an active portfolio and effectively managing this for optimal financial returns can be a scary nightmare without effective automation. Here is why-

A third-party agency that manages multiple clients would typically use staff emails (usual Ad Ops staff) that are added to multiple Google DFP Accounts (one per client). Given that all reporting and optimization within DFP is at the Account level, there is no easy way to prepare consolidated reporting for the portfolio without pulling out data from multiple accounts and doing a whole lot of uncouth(frankly depressing!) and low value data cleaning/merging. Productivity apart, there are a tonne of other optimization opportunities that are completely missed given the siloed reporting structure. Some pressing questions that can not be easily addressed would include-

  • Who are the most profitable clients and how does their profitability trend over time?
  • Account level impression count (total, filled), missed revenue opportunities (snapshot, trending)
  • Which accounts are the biggest gainers/losers in terms of ROI?
  • Do certain networks perform better for certain type of clients?
  • What concrete data (impressions/clicks) can be obtained to develop better pricing leverage with Advertisers?

Quite clearly, the potential for data driven optimization at the portfolio level is immense.

The Solution

As with most products in Google product suite, DFP provides an awesome API for data-savvy marketers to build bespoke integrations and streamline their overall business performance. Advanced Marketers with the necessary client volume may look to build a full fledged data warehouse using this API but even smaller agencies can benefit tremendously from simple API integration and reporting automation. A conceptual solution here is to use ETL to loop through all accounts associated with an email and extract key data points into an intermediate storage engine using the DFP API. A partial list of data points that can be extracted using the API can be found here

This storage layer can be fully customized for agency specific requirements. All sorts of data transformations can be applied at this stage and the entire process is completely automated for periodic (typically daily) extraction of data from DFP. With data extracted into the data warehouse, a Business Intelligence tool (e.g. Tableau, Qlikview, Pentaho, Jedox etc.) could then be plugged into this data layer to offer on-the-fly reporting from across client portfolio. Alternative, ETL can be programmed to simply generate consolidated Excel outputs or PDFs for executive consumption. All sorts of bespoke reports can be automatically generated for consumption by the agency’s sales, ad operations, finance and other teams

The solution becomes even more appealing given its extremely low capital investment requirements and quick implementation times through use of cloud based technologies. With the right skill sets, agencies could be up and running in under 2 weeks with a fully automated business intelligence solution that allows them to perform basic to sophisticated analysis on their client portfolio performance. Of course, the same underlying technology capability could be used to build intelligence around individual accounts rather than the overall portfolio. The use cases for leveraging data are truly infinite

Are you a sell-side agency looking to gain better insight into your client portfolio? Contact us today to discuss your requirements

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