Project

The Publisher Desk website

The Publisher Desk (TPD) manages online ad space inventory for hundreds of online publishers, selling their inventory through various supply-side platforms (AdX, OpenX, Taboola, etc). When TPD came to us, they had an existing portal for customers to view ad campaign performance data and some simple admin functionality. They wanted to improve this portal, for both their customers and their employees.

The project goals were:

• Build a beautifully-designed client-facing dashboard
• Automate the ingestion and management of daily data to reduce operations overhead
• Add additional dimensions by which the metrics were imported and broken out
• Add admin functionality so TPD team members could view and evaluate the data

They considered some off-the-shelf solutions, but none of these solutions could handle all of the disparate data sources. So they had to find a partner who had experience with both data extraction, organization, and management, and the design and building of intuitive, non-cumbersome dashboards.


Process

The Publisher Desk screens

The legacy dashboard was based on a wrapper around Google Sheets and had a simple design. Daily performance data was manually copied-and-pasted into Google Sheets by members of TPD’s team. With over 20 data sources from different platforms, this was a labor-intensive task to perform by hand every day. The legacy dashboard also had limited functionality for exploring the data more granularly (by geo and device, but not ad size, type, etc).

We built a backend system to automatically connect with various supply-side reporting services and gather data via either existing APIs or site scraping. We also set up seamless data importing from the services that provided automated CSV/XLS email reporting.

While we built the backend system, our design team worked closely with TPD to collaboratively design and build a beautiful front-end dashboard with charts, filters, and controls to let both customers and employees drill into the imported performance data.

We ran a strict agile process throughout the project, focusing on lots of design iterations on the dashboard and close collaboration with TPD’s team to ensure we understood the online advertising domain so we could easily and efficiently pull the correct data from all of their various sources just as their employees did previously.

As AE got more familiar with the domain and continued working with TPD’s team, they defined the requirements based on what “was possible”. The requirements came from both TPD’s internal team and TPD customers based on what they wanted to see.

We also gave TPD options on how we could approach a certain feature or concept in order to minimize cost and maximize results. Giving them options allowed them to make evaluations on their end and come back with how they wanted to proceed.

Technologies we used:

Sketch
Sketch for all logo editing, product design, and icon creation
Invision
Invision for creating prototypes and sharing flows
Lumen
Lumen for building the back-end data management platform
AngularJS
AngularJS for front-end web implementation
Gulp
Gulp for automation of the build system
Heroku
Heroku for site deployment

Results

For TPD’s customers, the new dashboard gives them greater clarity into their ad inventory performance. These insights will help TPD and their customers make better decisions about what ads live on their sites.

Internally, TPD’s team now spends less time manually gathering, calculating, and sharing data with their customer base. This extra time allows them to focus on their core offerings: content monetization, audience development, and integrated ad technologies. They also have a dashboard that they can look at every day to see the “state of the business” instead of scouring through a multitude of Google Sheets.

“AE transformed loosely disparate concepts into a visually appealing product that added significant business value. They helped us see what was possible from a product standpoint based on the data we had. The perfect team for any project at the intersection of web development and data analytics.“

Jeff Misenti,
CEO,
The Publisher Desk

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