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Dealing With Burnout in Programmatic Part 1

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

Close your eyes and picture this, then think about how it makes you feel - what state of mind you're in.

You have a campaign launching in one hour.

Are you nervous? Confident? Stress-farting?

How worried are you that QA (was there even QA??) missed a mistake that could get you fired?

I don't know about you but this is a scenario I concocted and I'm still nervous thinking about it. It's very hard to trust that someone else will QA your work and do a good job, after all it's your responsibility if they miss your mistake (more on that in another post lol), right? Well have no, wait - less, fear my friend because this post is dedicated to helping you and your supervisors save your sanity.


For the Traders -

The next campaign that you build, build it from scratch as a template. If you don't have a build you're working on at the moment, perfect. Think through every setting and determine the best method for setup, you may not have even noticed options (particularly in YouTube where the type of creatives and targeting available vary based on settings you choose).

You probably didn't think too much about why you might choose Daily or Flight pacing, or set the video creative optimization this way, or what device bid modifiers to utilize in your last campaign because you were trying to get that shit DONE. Now's the time. Each campaign should build off a unified template with incremental improvements after each campaign if you learn something new. The difference between a good trader and a happy trader is standardization of work/deduplication of effort. I personally end up running a lot of campaigns where there are several Insertion Orders that are practically identical, beyond the audience so setting IOs up in a template campaign where you only need to duplicate then update through SDFs dramatically decreases build time.

Further, in my experience it's a waste of time to ask your DSP reps for significant help if you're working with a Google/YouTube team in DV360 ... however, if you're struggling there are DSPs where the support staff actually have access to the DSP. If your reps haven't personally admitted this in a call lately, I was a little shocked the first time I realized the people giving me strategy advice couldn't even see our account.

DSPs you could check out include The Trade Desk and Adelphic, if you need to be lower in min-spend Choozle is a good choice. Each DSP has it's trade-offs (TTD borrowed Spirit Airlines fee model, Adelphic is considered a 2nd tier DSP by many, Choozle is bare bones) but reviewing your agencies DSP usage with an eye towards workload management may tip the scales in a way you didn't expect. You may not have the authority to switch DSPs, but if you're struggling with your workload and tech fees are comparable you have the chance to get free trading and QA support from another DSP. I'd consider it at least.

*No DSPs have sponsored this post, but please reach out and sponsor us.

For The Supervisors -

Not to out anyone but you more than likely have someone who is struggling, and the signs could be right in front of you. Burnt-out traders (BOTs) struggle to do simple things like track their time, log expenses, or respond to emails before the end of the day. They can't manage their inboxes, and they may have stopped looking for ways to innovate at work - look for someone who used to be more involved and suggest experiments, but they've stopped doing that. This may sound kind of strange but traders who exhibit these behaviors are not likely bad employees, they might just not be getting support. Programmatic requires a level of attention to detail and technical expertise that requires patience and investment on the part of team managers.

BONUS For the VPs/C-Suites -

Manager and above need to be given fewer trading duties and be allowed to have their employees output be a bigger reflection of their success.

Are You Currently Burnt-Out?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Not currently, but recently/often

That's all for today, more to come in the next session of Dealing With Burnout in Programmatic!

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