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I joined Matt O’Neill, President of Ad Monsters and his terrific Team this week, at their conference focused on online operational issues (

I have some previous history here, as an early Ad Monster from my time at, a few years ago now. But I’ve not been to one of these conferences in a while, but I know it’s a great place to find out what’s going on.

Recently, I’ve been mentoring new Start Ups in different sectors (gamification; social; mobile; e-commerce; email). However, I can also provide consultancy on people, revenue and process issues for digital businesses, and decided to attend OPS with a view to keeping my knowledge updated, particularly for digital publisher clients.

In Peter Slaughter’s session, Operations Director at The FT for 28 years, he said only his knowledge from the last three really counts now. I’m sure that he was vastly underselling himself. But, technology has changed and is rapidly changing his business and his role within it.

So what conclusions did I draw from the day?

Well the online business is even more complex and operationally intensive now, with additional revenue areas like Social, and new formats like Tablets and Smart Phones to take account of.

Rob Beeler, excellent Master of Ceremonies for Ad Monsters commented that managing display online could take between 20-40% of budget overheads, whilst takes TV takes 2%.

There are multiple suppliers to consider in multiple sector areas and additional services like compliance and verification (DoubleVerify).

No one talks about Search; Google handles that all very well on behalf of partners.

Mobile and Video are still nascent, but growing exponentially. Really interesting mobile presentation by Russell Buckley, CMO of Eagle Eye Solutions, and an inspirational Key Note Opening from Jonny Shaw of Naked Play, ripping up the marketing rule book for mobile advertising, everything is about play now. I see a few logistical problems translating this philosophy across multiple platforms.

There is great focus on display advertising, (real time buying or programmatic buying). Yet, outside of Facebook, banner display revenue is flat, and most good video content is sold outside of automated exchanges.

Great to see one example of updated serving systems presented by Ken Parnham MD of OpenX, and also to hear an Agency view from Richard Wheaton MD Neo@Ogilvy on how they manage the difficult process of display for their clients. Quality still counts.

It’s not just about ad inventory, data is valuable too now, but heavy lifting to manage and value this.

I heard about Yieldex, a technology product that improves the accuracy of forecasting and management of direct sales inventory.

Fru Hazlitt of ITV presented the great work they are doing with Apps, 2nd screens and deeper customer partnerships, but this is all at an early stage. No mention of ZeeBox and other apps launched recently, this will take a year or two to feed through, and it will be interesting to find out more about this later on.

I learnt about Facebook’s vast inventory. Their currency is people not impressions, (no pixels to measure this). Their sell through is low, so I bet they are disappointed that General Motors has announced that it is pulling out of Facebook display, the day before their IPO. Facebook sits operationally outside of other display measurements, as do other social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn.

Oh and Twitter Tweets are worthless if not seen within 15 minutes according to

Doubleclick, now owned by Google, is still an important player, but I did not get a sense yet of a seamless process solution across different platforms to support their publishers. So, a lot of hard work to hold together the operational cats cradle on an on-going basis.

It’s going to take a major game changer to streamline operational processes across online, perhaps with converging developments in TV/Internet, or something we cannot yet imagine!

There must be opportunity for consultancy in this area, and will think about revisiting this for Q4 kick off. 21st Century Growth Ad Monsters adconion Agillic amazon AOL apps aQuantive BallouPR BBC Online behavioural science Bladerston Capital blog-ola Bloggers blogosphere Bootlaw Brainient Brandcast Media BSkyB Channel 4 Charlotte Street Hotel Ciklum City Am Claire Paterson COADEC Codility CognitiveMatch com comscore inc Comufy Cowboy Ventures customers David Cameron digital Digital London digital marketing digital revolution bubble Doubleclick e-commerce Eagle Eye Ebay Email Eric Schmidt Erply EU cookie legislation Eyewonder Facebook FaceBook FCC Figaro Flattr Forrester FT Games General Motors generator global economic crisis Google Google+ Group M Professor Hargreaves Hulu i-level IAB IBC IBM SmartCamp independent Innovation Warehouse InSkin Media Inspire Conference IP ITV kinetise Launch 48 location targeting technology Luca Media martin sorrell MashUP* Microsoft Mind Candy MoshiMonsters Multiple channels Naked Play Neo@Ogilvy Netflix Now For The Long Term Ogilvy online danger online sales Online T's & C's online video Oodle OpenX Orange Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations Parag Khanna PatientKnowsBest people Policy Exchange; smart cities ; GLA; Catapault; Bristol Futures; UK Broadband: Camden Council; Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis Postmates process Propel London Proximity London PWC recession revenue Rory Sutherland Seedcamp Shuttle Sky SkyPlus social marketing ROI social marketing systems social media Social networks Soundcloud Spotify Start Ups Stephen Shakespeare Stradbroke Advisors Sunday Times Tech Hub TechCity Techcrunch techcrunch Tess Alps The Europa awards ThinkBox Timesonline TV Genius Tweets Twitter Uber UCL; Sharing Economy; Love Home Swap; unknown unknowns;;; UK Trade & Industry Unanimis Unicorn Club User behaviour VAST web security Webinar White Bear Yard wordpress WPP Yieldex YouTube Zeebox Zonerider