Let’s start with a question. Do you still rely on your gut to predict if you’ll achieve your sales goals this month or deliver a certain number of impressions based on a set target? As a seasoned sales professional or ad ops guy, you know the gut can’t always be relied upon – but insights based on data can.
This is where inventory forecasting comes in. In a dynamic environment with constant changes in demand and supply chains, accurate inventory forecasting can be a valuable tool for publishers and advertisers.
Inventory forecasting uses upcoming events, trends, as well as past data, to estimate the level of inventory needed for the future. Also known as demand planning, forecasting can bridge the gap between profitability and unused impressions. When used correctly, it helps your sales or ad ops teams better plan for potential trends, optimise unused inventory, price correctly and avoid wastage.
With physical objects, it is easy to measure and track inventory. You know what you have sold today and how much is left to be sold tomorrow. Digital inventory, on the other hand, is far more complex. Optimal delivery requires one to consider several factors, including available inventory, the type of inventory, and its price. Inventory forecasting answers many of these questions, delivering actionable insights for sales.
Traditionally, salespeople without direct access to ad servers have found it hard to estimate their available inventory, which is a crucial input into pricing strategies, discount strategies, packaging and bundling.
Inventory forecasting gives sales teams intelligence on their available inventory and targeting sets before making the sale. This can help them make ‘better’ sales that lead to higher fill rates, lower inventory wastage, and direct revenue impact.
To effectively run an ad campaign, ad ops teams must know what inventory they have available for each targeting set. Ad ops professionals also need to know which campaigns to prioritise, or how to optimise ongoing campaigns.
Inventory forecasting gives ad ops teams the insights they need to prioritise and optimise campaigns to ensure optimal delivery, and therefore revenue. Ad ops professionals can save time and money by speeding up inventory management and eliminating human errors like double-booked inventory. Real-time data insights and automation help increase accuracy through the different ad ops stages. Another essential benefit for ad ops teams is the ability to make data-backed decisions. For example, better insight into historical advertiser trends can help create product bundles to achieve better returns on underperforming inventory.
Several factors can impact the demand for inventory, either directly or indirectly. Seasonal or market fluctuations or unplanned events can affect demand and supply. Since many businesses run on a month-to-month cycle, they can make reasonably accurate forecasts on a monthly level, but can also use longer forecasts with a little more caution.
Inventory forecasting has been used by publishers and advertisers for some time now. Voiro makes this powerful tool more accessible to ad sales and ad ops teams. Today, a campaign can be run on multiple ad servers. For example, display ads on one server and video ads on another. Voiro operates on a multi-ad server system and can run the forecast simultaneously across ad servers, saving time and ensuring optimal usage of inventory.
At the end of the day, optimising inventory is key to campaign success. Inventory forecasting converts ad server forecasts into actionable insights for sales and ad ops teams, helping businesses sell better, optimise campaigns more efficiently, and create better strategies based on their audiences.