Learn, unlearn and relearn – what it’s like moving from agency to ad-tech

Thinking of making a move from working agency side to an ad-tech company? Or just wondering what it’s like on the other side of the fence? A recent recruit to Crimtan, Rahila Nadir who made just this move shares what they’ve learned from the experience.

I assumed it would be an easy transition

A few weeks ago, while others filled pubs to watch the McGregor Vs Khabib match, I decided to write about digital advertising – my transition from agency side programmatic to ad-tech programmatic.

I moved to Crimtan about 10 months ago and assumed it would be an easy transition. I had worked in a programmatic trading role for more than 18 months, and thought the only difference would be that instead of trading on the agency side I’d be trading on the ad-tech side.

However, while my agency experience certainly helped with the actual trading, I quickly realised that the opportunities and challenges were completely different. Here are some of the pressures, challenges and opportunities I have faced.

Performance pressures – learning the ropes of ad-tech

Crimtan is primarily a performance partner, focusing on its own tech rather than white labelling others, and works closely with agencies to deliver on their clients’ KPIs.

Once I started working WITH an agency instead of FOR an agency, the first biggest challenge I faced was that I was not only working towards a client’s goals, but also towards the agency’s goals.

For this to be an effective relationship, the agency and the partner need to work together, plan and deliver on realistic expectations, goals and KPIs. In my time at Crimtan, I have realised that the most effective partnerships come from a strong three-way relationship between the agency, client and Crimtan.

The new challenges and opportunities I’ve faced

Next, I asked myself: “who is my competitor?” Am I competing against the bigger players in the market, like Google, other ad-tech partners, the publishers that may take my budget, or is social media performing better?

This was never a consideration when working on the agency side. But on the ad-tech side, you are trying to out-perform all the direct and indirect competitors.

As well as challenges, moving to the ad-tech side has also opened up new opportunities. And the first one is the ability to get my hands dirty. Crimtan would be a partner to an agency when it can offer complimentary services to an internal trading desk. This has provided me with an opportunity to thoroughly understand what our DMP, DSP and DCO were capable of.

I’ve learned the effective ways of using first-party audience segments for prospecting, concepts around pre-targeting and the benefit of clever creative – what message to send to what audience at what time. I believe that by working on the ad-tech side, I have been able to refine and specialise within this area of buying because of the autonomy that comes with such a company.

Working at Crimtan helps me to stay ahead of the curve

Any new developments in the digital landscape impact Crimtan, which means that we as a business need to be proactive, instead of reactive about them.

A good example is the GDPR. If I’d been working on the agency side, I wouldn’t necessarily have realised how important it was to ensure I had a thorough understanding of GDPR.

But, having been an Crimtan, I realised it was my responsibility not only to understand, but inform agencies and clients about the complexities and impacts of the new regulation. I call this staying ahead of the curve because working on the ad-tech side, you are directly responsible for any changes that impact the digital landscape.

What does all this mean for you?

To summarise it all, although my trading knowledge was completely transferable, the challenges and opportunities I have encountered moving to the ad-tech side have been completely different.

Ten months in, I can say that my knowledge in programmatic has expanded and I have been able to see both sides of the picture. I can’t pick which experience I value more, as I believe my agency experience prepared me for my current role at Crimtan.

So, if you are thinking of moving to the ad-tech side, be prepared to expect new challenges but also to learn about the new opportunities that come with it.

Want to find out more about a career in the ad-tech side of programmatic? We’re always looking for talented people to join our team. Please get in touch on our careers page.