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Making better informed digital advertising decisions

Newsday

Newsday is a Long Island based print and digital publisher offering unparalleled coverage to a 1.2 million weekly audience and reaching nearly half of all households on Long Island, New York. Newsday has been honored with 19 Pulitzer Prizes for award-winning journalism and unsurpassed coverage of national, international and local news stories.

How Newsday seamlessly replaced Google DSM with CloudSense

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    For over 77 years, local businesses and nationally recognized brands have advertised their products and services to the affluent Long Island, New York market using Newsday. Today, Newsday has evolved into more than a newspaper, engaging its audience 24/7 and on the platforms of their choice: print, digital, data and experiential marketing.

    In 2016, Newsday began a project to transform its digital advertising solution from an Ad Operations perspective; the goal was to get all Business Intelligence into Salesforce. The project was conceived to deliver a faster more accurate service for advertisers, while improving Newsday’s use of digital metrics for advanced reporting.

    To deliver maximum visibility and efficiency, Newsday wanted to bring their digital advertising in line with their print advertising which they managed on Salesforce. By doing so, they aimed to make Salesforce the hub for all things advertising. To achieve these goals Newsday selected the CloudSense Platform to replace Google Doubleclick Sales Manager (DSM) and seamlessly manage their digital advertising through Salesforce.

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    The barriers preventing a seamless digital advertising process

    Prior to the project, Newsday’s digital advertising had been run on Google DSM for over 15 years. The soon-to-be-retired platform was unable to provide the reporting visibility and efficiency Newsday desired, leading to a set of challenges that disrupted the publisher’s provision of a seamless, auditable digital advertising process.

    James Kober, Newsday’s Senior Director of Advertising Product and Technology, was involved in the transformation project from conception, through to vendor selection and delivery. He outlined the critical challenges Newsday sought to overcome through the project.

    Inability to use digital metrics to be proactive

    Using Google DSM, most reporting requests were ad hoc and required someone with a high skillset that understood both reporting analytics and ad serving in detail to create digestible reports. Without the ability to quickly and easily create reports, or see metrics in real-time, Newsday were unable to use their digital metrics to make data backed decisions.

    James Kober made the gravity of this problem clear, saying, “the biggest challenge we faced was reporting on digital metrics and using those business insights to make proactive decisions rather than reactive decisions.”

    Inaccurate and slow reporting

    The second challenge centered on the speed and accuracy of Newsday’s reporting. The crux of the problem stemmed from the complexity of predicting digital ad revenue on Google DSM. The nuances of managing Google DFP, along with understanding the actual revenue versus estimated revenue, meant reporting was a complex, slow and inefficient process.

    “I was never happy with how immediate or accurate the reporting was and I never had access into the traditional pipeline for digital campaigns or, just as importantly, orders that were processed by the digital sales planning team but subsequently lost for various reasons.”

    Despite the complexity of these challenges, Newsday knew that by overcoming their digital reporting problems their digital advertising service would improve immeasurably – both for internal users and customers.

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    Newsday’s transformation goals

    To select the right vendor for their project, and ensure they could measure the success of their transformation, Newsday laid out a set of transformation goals.

    Gaining real-time, accurate insights

    Newsday’s first goal, as outlined by James Kober, revolved around solving the reporting challenges the publishers faced, “by getting better insights, in real-time, we’d be able to make better informed decisions regarding future strategy around the business.”

    Automation and precision

    The ability to automate reports and see metrics immediately without complex manual input was a key goal for Newsday. By using a single platform to track all advertising functions and cutting down the use of excel spreadsheets and email, Newsday also knew they would speed up their sales cycle and increase accuracy across their advertising. The audit trails provided by the CloudSense and Salesforce solution delivered another layer of precision.

    Making Salesforce the hub for advertising

    Newsday already used Salesforce to manage their print advertising. After improving on this area they then aimed to develop their Salesforce capabilities to manage the heightened complexity of digital advertising on Salesforce.

    The publisher wanted to make Salesforce the hub for all things advertising. In order to do this, Newsday started interviewing partners who claimed they could integrate with all things Google DFP, while processing digital sales plans in Salesforce.

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    A rigorous selection process

    Newsday underwent a rigorous selection process in the search to find a vendor that both understood the specific needs of the media industry, but was proven in delivering complex transformations.

    James Kober was involved right from the initial screening of vendors through to the go live in July 2016. This process included calls with organizations who had used the prospective vendors beforehand, interviews and demonstrations of case-specific technology.

    “We initially spoke to numerous experts about CloudSense’s reputation and were impressed with the successes they had achieved, particularly in the communications industry. Next, we spoke with the Financial Times in the UK around CloudSense’s advertising credentials and received some great feedback.”

    CloudSense supplied genuine knowledge and a consultative approach

    Having gained enough confidence to bring in the CloudSense team for a consultation, Newsday were quick to realize the CloudSense team understood the digital advertising sector and were impressed with our consultative approach.

    Having used Google DSM for over 15 years, Newsday’s digital team were understandably cautious to make a switch in platform. However, James Kober emphasized that the Newsday team were impressed with CloudSense’s media experts’ ability to speak the language of digital ad ops team, “they not only talked the talk but listened to and understood everything they said. The CloudSense team quickly proved themselves not only able to run a project, but knowledgeable about the complicated word of digital ad ops and its accompanying technology.”

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    Managing Google DFP from Salesforce with CloudSense

    Newsday use the CloudSense platform to manage their digital advertising across desktop, mobile and apps. Almost every digital advertising order is now initiated and fulfilled in Salesforce using the CloudSense Platform.

    “We have over a 1000 digital products in CloudSense when you go across desktop, mobile and apps – that’s infinitely more complex than print.”

    Using CloudSense, Newsday’s sales planners can now create orders using keyword and audience targeting directly from Salesforce. Sales planners are required to make changes on orders regularly – CloudSense’s order management functionality makes it simple for them to retract lines, change dates and alter quantities directly from Salesforce to Google DFP, giving them full control over the whole process.

    Approval flows & automation

    Built in approval flows mean all ad orders are automatically checked and approved before going to Google DFP, ensuring both their accuracy and availability. After ads are processed in Google DFP, CloudSense brings the delivery data back into Salesforce, giving the Newsday digital team visibility and precise metrics.

    Opportunities are automatically updated in Salesforce, providing auditability and comprehensive error logging ensures mistakes aren’t overlooked. This virtuous approval loop is completed with customers being sent an email for final approval to ensure there’s a full audit trail of action and delivery using CloudSense’s Click Approve technology.

    CloudSense provides Newsday with joined up bookings, keeping all their data and information in one place. This improved visibility ensures Newsday’s reporting and delivery is more accurate, faster and fully auditable.

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    “By getting digital advertising insights, in real time, we can make better informed decisions regarding future strategy around the business”

    The project has provided Newsday with the advertising hub they desired. Using CloudSense, Newsday can now manage their digital advertising seamlessly through Salesforce.

    The impact on the publisher’s advertising has been ‘transformative’, delivering a key set of reporting capabilities Newsday had been told was unachievable. In James Kober’s words, “some people told us we’d never get there – but we did.”

    Tracking digital ad revenue in real time

    Newsday can now track their advertising revenue as and when each order is added to Salesforce, James Kober emphasized just how much of a step forward this is, “it’s a monumental, game changing shift that we can see the digital revenue update in real time as the sales planners are adding the orders. No one had previously been able to accomplish that.”

    Making better informed decisions

    The real-time availability of advertising metrics enables Newsday to see the wider picture around their advertising. There are no uninformed decisions taken, Newsday can use data and sales pipeline metrics to back up the direction they take with digital advertising.

    “Without CloudSense, we wouldn’t be able to make informed decisions around our sales pipeline or report in real time. We’d be back to ad hoc reports in DFP and comparing those to the billing system of record and waiting till the end of the month to close out for everyone to get the numbers.”

    Visibility of ad performance across the business

    By enabling Newsday to manage their digital advertising alongside their wider advertising functions on Salesforce, CloudSense has given Newsday visibility across their entire advertising process. They can now share metrics company-wide as well as targets and daily reports.

    “We have a report that goes out every morning at 5am called Advertising KPIs. DOMO (Newsday’s data warehouse) automatically extracts the data from Salesforce and sends the reports for digital and print advertising, all the digital intel is sourced from CloudSense. I’m not sure many newspapers, or even many companies, can recognize revenue in real time.”

    Key benefits

    To conclude, James Kober summarized the 3 key benefits CloudSense has delivered Newsday:

    • Complete, real-time visibility into the publisher’s digital pipeline

    • Accurate business intelligence as to why campaigns were won or lost

    • A single version of the truth, with everyone in the organization looking at the same numbers.
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“Without CloudSense, we wouldn’t be able to make informed decisions around our sales pipeline or report in real time.”

James Kober, Newsday’s Senior Director of Advertising Product and Technology