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3 Tips for Ad Ops and Media Teams to Overcome Ad Spend and Revenue Decline in 2023

Several industries have taken a financial hit recently and businesses have been forced to pivot and adapt their operations; the Ad Ops industry is no exception. For six months, ad spend has been uncharacteristically down, forcing Ad Ops teams and Media Planners to re-evaluate their strategies. According to Forbes, unique obstacles for contributing to the decreased ad spend predicted in 2023 include the “lack of cyclical events like the Olympics, FIFA Men’s World Cup, and U.S. midterm elections,” as well as Apple’s new privacy features which constrain tracking consumer behavior on social media. 

3 Tips for Ad Ops and Media Teams to Overcome Ad Spend and Revenue Decline in 2023

Focusing on ad spend and making sure you are delivering impressions in full are crucial elements to not only maintaining but increasing your revenue. Without these, companies are forced to lay off employees to keep their business financially sound. So, the question remains: how can media and ad operations companies adapt to the current state of reduced ad spend? 

1. Make sure your Ad Ops, Sales, and Media Planners are in sync 

It’s all a symbiotic relationship that depends on having the right inventory that will deliver in full as you optimize it and continue the cycle. That doesn’t work if your teams are out of sync. Without each team communicating with one another and operating at the same high skill level, there are bound to be mistakes and misunderstandings that cost you revenue. 

Ad Ops  

Ad Ops is the back-end of Media Planning. It’s already been sold and laid in, so Ad Ops teams must then deliver on it; however, your Ad Ops team needs to be really experienced to do this correctly. They need the sharpened expertise to look at all the different placements, minimize those acting poorly, and maximize the ones performing well. 


With Ad Ops on the backend and Media Planners on the front end, the Sales and Ad Product teams work midstream to ensure you have the inventory to sell. Oftentimes, issues arise when the Sales team begins pushing the “hot inventory,” only to learn afterwards that the media company doesn’t have it available. To accommodate the error, you are forced to turn to costly third party options, drastically decreasing your margins. 

Media Planning

From a Media Planning perspective, you want to avoid playing catch up. If you fail to follow your audiences to new platforms, you risk losing out. To accomplish this, ensure you’re working with the Ad Ops, Sales, and Product teams to find all of the avenues in which you can reach your audience on all their screens. That way, when you pull the media plan together, you’re confident the messaging will be delivered to the target audience. 

2. Optimize campaigns properly by capturing every bit of the spend 

“You sold X and you only delivered Y and the delta between the two is a makegood and that’s the problem.” – Todd Handy, SEBPO, CRO 

When spend is down, it’s of the utmost importance to capture the entire spend and ensure that your team delivers in full. In other words, avoid makegoods. If your team falls short on delivering impressions promised and must pivot with makegoods, you are inherently pushing your revenue out until the following month, which hurts the specific team member, the manager, the company, and even the market. Avoid that ripple effect and client disappointment by doing everything you can to deliver on what you promised. 

This is where your Ad Ops team comes in; the team needs to be composed of all-stars. As soon as the campaign begins, they are looking to deliver their impressions in full by researching every avenue and placement possible to optimize, whether that’s a podcast, streaming video, et cetera. Ad Ops teams must have an impeccable eye for spotting campaigns that may be underperforming or overperforming, in addition to the skill and adaptability to adjust so they never miss their mark and avoid makegoods.

3. Keep up with increasingly fractured audience trends

There seems to be a new social or streaming platform popping up every few months. From TikTok to the recent surge in podcast popularity, there is no shortage of varied media environments. This means Media and Ad Ops companies need to become more conscious of consumer behavior evolution and stay on top of their target audiences. Otherwise, they risk losing out. You need to be curious and open-minded about all the screens in front of your audience, to the point of asking, “should we be developing something for VR and AR?”

At the end of the day, it’s about predicting where the audience will be and preparing for that; otherwise, you will consistently find yourself playing catch up when the audience shifts. That’s why you have influencers like Charlie D’Amelio with millions of followers on TikTok  — she was where the audiences were and tapped into them . . . and her new media empire is truly a media company. Just not the media company we are used to thinking about. So, essentially, you’re letting an eighteen-year-old kick your butt every time you turn away from new audience avenues. 

Stay on Top, Stay Vigilant, Stay Relevant in Media 

With these three actionable strategies in mind, you, as a media or ad ops company, can begin to maximize the opportunities waiting just within reach and proactively adapt to industry trends in these changing macroeconomic conditions. Now is your chance to overcome the industry obstacles to optimize every bit of ad spend properly and generate more revenue in 2023. 

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