Data Operations

The Key to Scalable Insights in Digital Publishing

Digital Media has undergone a fundamental shift where data now drives our understanding of inventory, demand, and profitability. This has put a premium on new tools and techniques to measure performance. Yet data complexity, volume, and engineering challenges continue to block even the most intrepid business teams. The emerging science of Data Operations (DataOps) has been evolving to meet this challenge, and publishers now stand at the crossroads of data and efficiency. Either you master your data so your business can evolve based on quantified insight, or your data will keep your teams in an ever-lengthening cycle of manual reporting.

This paper was written by the founding leaders of Google BigQuery (the cloud-based enterprise data warehouse used by many of the Fortune 500), who are now co-founders of Switchboard Software. With our extended team at Switchboard, we bring a wealth of experience building massively scalable and fault-tolerant data platforms. We've also worked with the largest publishers and agencies to implement real-time decision systems using cost-effective big data platforms, such as BigQuery and Amazon RedShift. This paper was created to help digital media professionals learn:

  • How Data Operations can unify and automate the measurement of monetization, inventory, audience reach and content performance in realtime
  • The most important data sources and formats publishers must tie together to create timely and accurate business KPIs
  • The best technologies to help you consolidate disparate data in a scalable manner, and the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches

Access to growing amounts of data should be an asset, not a liability. Publishers have an unprecedented opportunity to grow their business by taking a scalable, automated approach to managing their data. We hope you find this paper helpful and we welcome your thoughts and feedback at

New Data Operations Challenges in Digital Media

The data landscape for publishers is becoming increasingly more complex. Revenue is no longer driven by a single DFP instance to be managed by a lean AdOps team. Programmatic sales, mobile, and partner networks provide new revenue channels, but they fragment your view of inventory, revenue and yield. Advertisers may be willing to pay a premium to reach specific audiences, but only if they can be assured that those demographic groups are viewing their campaigns.

Revenue and AdOps teams are often burdened with requests to pull raw data manually and stitch that data painstakingly together into one-off reports. The intense pressure caused by the need for operational visibility creates a dangerous stumbling block. While at Google, we worked with some of the world's largest publishers and ad agencies to enable real-time insights from a rich mix of media data. We saw firsthand how difficult these data challenges can be.

Forward-thinking publishers know they need timely data insights to effectively grow viewer loyalty, satisfy advertisers and optimize yield. Publishers that do not use data effectively today risk being outflanked by more nimble competitors tomorrow, or drowning in a sea of disparate data—unless they have the right strategy and the right tools.

A scalable data operations solution delivers continuous visibility into critical KPIs like Sell-Through Rates, Campaign Delivery, and User Growth. These insights help you become aware of emerging trends, rapidly understand their causes, and use those insights to create new opportunities for growth and profitability. So, how can you use data operations to empower your publishing business?

The Path to Real-time Insights

Data Operations is an approach that combines processes for collaborative data management, tools for automation and monitoring, and a scalable architecture to ensure that data growth is an asset, not a liability. Take a quick look at the sidebar “What is Data Operations” to understand what we mean by this term.

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