AI Isn’t Coming for Anyone’s Job

Standfirst://Recognising the chasm between hype and reality

Like you, I was awed and a bit scared when OpenAI rolled out ChatGPT earlier this year. All at once generative AI burst onto the scene, making all sorts of promises (and prompting many to fear the loss of their jobs in the process). We were asked to picture a world in which generative AI would allow anyone with an idea but no skills to write a screenplay, along with the musical score to go with it. In fact, generative AI is one of the reasons why Hollywood writers are on strike today.
Closer to home, generative AI would replace what Paragon Digital Services teams do daily, setting up campaigns, analyzing results, optimizing audiences and targeting criteria in real time, as well as generating reports for clients.The challenge with these claims? To put it simply, they exceed the capabilities of generative AI. Before we go down a spiral of hysteria, let’s establish what generative AI actually is. As it happens, this is the perfect question for ChatGPT, and so I asked it:

The most important sentence in ChatGPT’s answer is “It uses deep learning models to generate content that mimics human-like patterns or styles.” Let’s dive into this a bit.
Generative AI, like all machine learning, must be trained on data. In the case of generative AI, that data is all the human ideas that have been created in the past. ChatGPT will predict what someone might say based on what people said in the past. And while it’s absolutely true generative AI can produce “unique and creative outputs,” it can’t guarantee that any of those outputs will be true or accurate as it has no way to verify its responses against external sources.
ChatGPT will be the first to say as much:

ChatGPT Can’t Keep Up with the Speed of Advertising
The other challenge with generative AI is that it can’t keep up with our fast-paced business environment. Let’s say you’re a brand manager for a home mortgage company, consider how much has changed since the pandemic years. In September 2021, mortgage rates were as low as 1%, and everyone, it seemed, was in the market for a new home, along with furniture to furnish them. It was a boom time.

What’s more, the Great Resignation was frontpage news, and every business, including warehouses, were offering signing bonuses to attract new employees. Now, less than two years later, we may or may not be in a global recession, mortgage rates are skyrocketing, and mass layoffs are the news of the day.
Marketers and advertisers must keep up with the speed of the market, and working with their teams, must be in a position to pivot as events in the world change. But generative AI is somewhat stuck in the past, as ChatGPT freely admits:

No one in marketing, product planning, advertising or just about any role should rely on data that was created prior to September 2021. ChatGPT is completely unaware of the changes in the media world that have occurred since its cutoff date. It’s ludicrous to assume it can provide guidance when planning ad campaigns that are relevant today.
To say that generative AI will replace human beings in campaign set up, monitoring, delivering and reporting on campaigns is equally ludicrous. Any strategy and report it delivers will be based on what people said in the past, and not on current conditions! That’s not to say generative AI will play no role in advertising. ChatGPT can help the ad creative side come up with three or four alternatives to ad copy, for instance. It can help copywriters distill a 75-word description to a 50-word one (although if you try this, expect to do a lot of editing).
The problem with the hype we hear about generative AI is that we’re expecting it to do what it hasn’t been designed to do. It can generate incremental improvements in ideas that already exist, to be sure. The giant leaps that represent true innovation or a truly novel idea, however, are still the domain of humans. We still need humans to create the germ of the idea, whether it’s identifying an audience to target, the best messages to engage them, the best places to reach them, and how best to interpret campaign results.
This is why Paragon Digital Services isn’t planning to replace any of our team members with seats of ChatGPT 4. And to be honest, I doubt OpenAI would recommend we so do.
AI Already Drives Much of 
Pundits tell us all the time that AI won’t eliminate work, it will simply change the way we work. We already live this reality within the digital advertising space. Google Search, programmatic, all of the tools we use daily leverage AI to execute campaigns at scale.
AI automates a great deal of analysis and decisioning, but AI still requires a human to supervise it, less it focuses on goals that are outside of the marketer’s objectives. This is why Paragon Digital Services teams still analyze results daily, and tweak targeting criteria and strategy on an as-needed basis to assure campaign KPs are met.
We are grateful that AI can assess millions of campaign impressions in a day, of course — we couldn’t scale digital advertising without it. But we must also be cognizant of the fact that not every decision that AI makes will be the right one for a campaign, and only a human can recognize when that mistake has been made and address it.
As an industry, we succeed with things like programmatic and dynamic creative optimization because we know the opportunities and limitations of AI, and adapt to them. We’ve allowed it to change the way we work for the better, and don’t expect it to do more than it was designed to do. If we want to use generative AI successfully, we must allow it to follow the same trajectory, and stop expecting it to do things it was never designed to do.
David Tyler is president, global sales and partnerships at Paragon Digital, a Dentsu International company

Author:David Tyler

Date:19th June 2023


Next Year All Brands Will Be Required to Migrate to GA4. We Can Help You Get Ready

GA4 is Here!

This past March, Google announced the long-awaited release of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) which promises a better way to measure various kinds of data, enabling businesses to identify unified user journeys across their websites and apps.

Google will begin sunsetting its previous solution, Universal Analytics, which means now is the time to upgrade. Writes Google:

All standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. Given the new Analytics 360 experience was recently introduced, Universal Analytics 360 properties will receive an additional three months of new hit processing, ending on October 1, 2023.”

Built for the Future

Why the switch? Consumer behavior has outgrown Universal Analytics, which was designed to understand user behavior as they surfed the web via their desktops. Cookies played a big role in their understanding. G4 eschews cookies, relying instead on an “event-based data model to deliver user-centric measurement.”

The other impetus is privacy. According to Google, GA4 is designed with privacy at its core. It offers more granular data collection controls so that you can comply with the privacy regulations of every region in which you operate.

What Can You Do with GA4?

According to Google’s announcement** , GA4 will allow brands to achieve key business objectives, including:

  • “Understand your customers across touchpoints Get a complete view of the customer lifecycle with an event-based measurement model that isn’t fragmented by platform or organized into independent sessions.
  • Measure engagement and conversions with business and compliance needs in mind With new country-level privacy controls, you can manage and minimize the collection of user-level data — like cookies and metadata — while preserving key measurement functionality.
  • Get greater value from your data. Machine learning generates sophisticated predictive insights about user behavior and conversions, creates new audiences of users likely to purchase or churn, and automatically surfaces critical insights to improve your marketing.
  • Easily activate your insights. Expanded integrations with other Google products, like Google Ads, work across your combined web and app data, making it easy to use Analytics insights to optimize your campaigns.”

** Above bullets quote Google’s announcement directly.

Let Paragon Digital Services Manage Your Migration and Beyond

You don’t have a lot of months to plan and manage your migration. Nor do you have a lot of spare time in your day to concentrate on all that migration will entail, now that you’re in the thick of the holiday season.

That’s okay. Paragon Digital Services teams are fully trained on GA4 and are prepared to handle your migration on your behalf. We will:

  • Migrate your data
  • Ensure GA4 is accurately deployed across your customer touchpoints
  • Activate the right data collection controls to ensure you adhere to all regulations in every region you operate
  • Train your staff on how to interpret your incoming data, or
  • Manage GA4 on your behalf post migration

Why turn over ongoing management to a partner like Paragon? We have the time and expertise to dedicate to parsing your GA4 data and analysis so that your teams can act on the insights contained in your data. We get that your teams already have their hands full, and won’t have a lot of time to focus on GA4, so we can do that task on your behalf, delivering reports according to your specifications.

For additional information about GA4 migration and ongoing management, contact Sujith to arrange a 15 or 30-minute call with Paragon Digital’s new client development lead.

Author:David Tyler

Date:1st December 2022


BPO to KPO: Thriving in the Age of Quiet Quitting

These days one can hardly click open any news source without seeing an article about “quiet quitting” — a phenomenon in which workers do the bare minimum of their jobs while they either look for more rewarding work, or save their energy for outside pursuits. Over one-fifth of the American workforce (21%) describe themselves as quiet quitters. The global advertising sector is no exception.

We’re not here to tell people how to behave in an office, of course. But if your job is to ensure that a digital campaign delivers results for your brand or your clients, quiet quitting is a challenge. Campaign execution takes 110% of a trafficker’s energy, whether it’s digital advertising, paid search, or SEO. There are countless placements to monitor, creatives to test and manage, reports to generate, and targeting strategies to assess and optimize.

Whether you’re struggling to find replacements for people who quit during the Great Resignation or are simply asked to do more with less, your basic challenge remains the same: You need domain expertise to succeed.

Outsourcing vs. BPO vs. KPO

Generally, when people think of engaging an outside company to help them manage a workload they give it the generic term: outsourcing. But the concept (and the benefits) are much more nuanced than the term implies, so let’s level set.

Outsourcing is a business agreement in which one company hires another in order to take responsibility for an existing activity performed in-house. In some cases, the agreement requires the client to transfer employees or assets to the outsourcing partner.

Business process outsourcing (BPO) involves the outsourcing of labor and other operational work to a third party to save money. According to Gartner, BPO is typically IT intensive, and is broken into two major buckets:

  1. Horizontal offerings, which Gartner defines as activities that can be “leveraged across specific industries”
  2. Vertical-specific offerings, which are tasks or functions that “demand specific industry vertical process knowledge”

Knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) is when companies outsource relatively high-level tasks that demand specialized knowledge or problem-solving to another company that has specific domain expertise in a particular matter. In other words, it’s the outsourcing of “core, information-related business activities.”

One can easily see a role for outsourcing, BPO and KPO within a brand, marketing tech platform, publisher or media agency, stepping in to take on key functions within the digital advertising end-to-end workflow.

Outsourcing ●       Campaign set up

●       Ensuring all creatives in all formats are ready

●       Testing creatives

●       Taking screenshots of creatives in live campaigns

●       Tag management

●       Generating reports

BPO ●       Managing programmatic platforms

●       Managing dynamic creatives

●       Creative support on provided design guides

●       Optimizing paid search and SEO campaigns

KPO ●       Campaign strategy and execution insights

●       Assessing publishers and channels

●       Publishers and channels relationship support

●       Experience based optimizing of campaigns

Finding the Right Resources

At Paragon Digital Services, we’ve long recognized the value of the talent pool in India. It’s why we have an extensive program to recruit and train people within India, and provide career paths that offer advancement. We provide all employees with extensive training, as well as the opportunity to earn certifications from all leading platform vendors.

Partnering with a company like Paragon Digital Services allows brands and agencies to reduce operational costs and streamline efficiency, while freeing up existing staff to pursue more meaningful work, such as meeting with clients and planning high-level strategy. It is the antidote to quiet quitting.

For additional information on all things Knowledge Process Outsourcing and Business Process Outsourcing, contact Sujith to arrange a 15 or 30-minute call with Paragon Digital’s new client development lead.

Author:David Tyler

Date:29th September 2022


Insourcing versus Outsourcing Ad operations cost comparison and analysis

AdOps is to marketing what plumbing is to homeownership: a task that’s essential to get right, and thus best left to the people who have experience delivering error-free work.

In terms of ad ops, outsourcing to a firm whose sole purpose is managing any or all aspects of campaign management can deliver error-free work save publishers, ad tech platforms, agencies, and brands between 50% – 70% in ad operating department costs.

Let’s break this down.

The Real Cost of In-Housed Ad Trafficker

According to, the average AdOps associate salary in the U.S. is $63,775. That sum is likely to rise given the very real Great Resignation. All over the country brands struggle to fill open positions, and many are resorting to sizable signing bonuses to lure staff to their ranks. And, marketing salaries are on the rise, some have grown by as much as 50%.

Besides, an annual salary is just the starting point, there are a lot of other costs involved with keeping full-time employees on staff. According to the Small Business Administration, “There’s a rule of thumb that the cost is typically 1.25 to 1.4 times the salary, depending on certain variables.”


Where do those extra costs come from? They start with payroll taxes, which are mandatory. A brand’s share of FICA, aka Social Security. That rate is 7.65% of the AdOp team member’s compensation up to the annual wage base, which is $132,900 in 2019.

Next, you’ll need to pay an unemployment tax to the State in which that employee works.

Now let’s talk about bennies, one of the most valuable recruitment tools available to companies when seeking talent. Unless you manage your 401(k) internally, the annual administrative costs per employee range from $750 to $3,000. And, of course, there are your matching fees, meaning your company contributes an amount that matches what the employee puts in until a cap is reached.

Then there’s healthcare. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average 2019 cost of insurance per employee for family coverage was $20,576 with workers on average paying $6,013 towards the cost of their coverage. They may be higher, depending on what you cover (dental and eye care cost more).

Now let’s talk about life insurance, which typically costs $.16 per $1,000 covered.  If like most companies, you offer a coverage amount that equals the employee’s annual salary, you will pay a $3,188 life insurance premium for your internal campaign trafficker.

Once they’re on staff you’ll need to supply them with the tools of the trade: a space to work, a computer, software licenses, communications fees, and other perks you may offer, like Pizza Friday, coffee, and snacks.

Those costs can vary, but for argument’s sake, let’s say you’ll pay for basic office software, which averages about $500 per year. Additionally, you’ll need to spend a week or two training that employee on your internal systems, and it could be a month or two before that employee is operating at full capacity.

There’s another hidden cost that is quite substantial: turnover. Over 30 million people left their jobs from January to August 2021; that’s one out of every four workers. As it is, AdOps is viewed by many employees as an entry-level position, a stepping stone to bigger and better things. And in this day and age, poaching is incessant, so you can expect your newly hired AdOps trafficker to receive competitive offers from headhunters once his or her training is complete and has gained some experience.

So what will it cost to replace a new hire? According to the Society for Human Resource Management, in 2017 the replacement costs for digital media advertising can reach as high as 50% – 60% of the employee’s annual salary. But again, if the Great Resignation continues unabated, you may need to factor in a signing bonus.

Efficiency Gains from Outsourcing

There are also efficiency gains to be had with an outsourcing partner. Take Paragon as an example. Our teams currently support 50 brands, publishers, agencies, and platforms with some or all of their ad operations.  And we have expertise with over 150 technology platforms, tools, and solutions.

Thanks to this deep technical platform expertise and broad client list, we can generate a 20% – 30% efficiency gain when we take over AdOps work from a client.

Intangible Benefits of Outsourcing

Finally, there are numerous intangible benefits to outsourcing, beginning with less distraction that stems from high turnover rates. When an ad trafficker quits, other employees need to step in to do that work until a replacement can be found. That’s a heavy burden.

Equally important, when you free up your employees from the mundane, but highly demanding, campaign trafficking work, you can reassign them to more strategic, and personally satisfying roles that promote client satisfaction, grow revenue and strengthen your partner ecosystem.

Refocusing your employees to the more satisfying work is a virtuous cycle of benefits. Turnover is lower, you can keep that earned knowledge in-house instead of losing it to a competitor, and all the costs of recruiting can be put towards acquiring new customers. Get in touch if you like to know more.

Author:David Tyler

Date:3rd May 2022


Why Paragon is a great place to work

In 2018, LinkedIn made headlines when it announced the stunning results of its research into the impact of employee training on employee happiness. According to LinkedIn, “employees who spend time learning at work are:

  • 47% less likely to be stressed
  • 39% more likely to feel productive and successful
  • 23% more ready to take on additional responsibilities
  • 21% more likely to feel confident and happy

As it turns out, the more you learn, the happier you become.

2018 also happened to be the year that we founded the Paragon’s Digital Academy, although we knew the impact of training on employee outlook well before LinkedIn released its research. We understood that the digital marketing and advertising industries were undergoing rapid change, and that in order for our teams to thrive, they needed to feel confident in their skills level, and that the agency had their backs. We do.

So we invested in them. We launched the Academy in order to provide learning and development opportunities to all of our employees. Our goal is to inspire and upskill our teams in critical areas, such as client communications, language, email and telephone etiquette and all aspects of MS Office. We also provide extensive training social media marketing to campaign management, programmatic advertising, display and all the other tech capabilities needed to excel in this field such as data and insights, reporting and business intelligence.

We’re proud that to date, 1,311 employees have graduated from the Paragon Digital Academy. We look forward to many more graduations in the years ahead.

Why employees stay at companies (and at Paragon!)

According to LinkedIn’s Workforce Learning Report, 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in helping them learn. This makes a lot of sense to us. No one wants to feel overwhelmed at their jobs. We all need to feel valued, and to know how to work well with fellow employees and clients. An employee who feels like a fish out of water is an employee at risk for quitting.

Not surprisingly, our employees are happy to work at Paragon, and while some amount of turnover in every company is inevitable, our employees are reluctant to leave. They know that we give them opportunities to grow and learn, and to acquire skills that will advance their careers over their lifetime.

Apply here if growth is important to you

We’re always looking for smart, curious and compassionate people. Don’t worry if you have a skills gap; we launched the Paragon Digital Academy so that we can recruit people like you who have the ambition to succeed and – importantly – want to look forward to coming to work every day.

Get in touch to learn more about career opportunities with us.

Author:Ajanta Anand

Date:2nd March 2022


The growing importance of CTV

Much has been said about the way COVID-19 drove 10 years of ecommerce growth into just 10 months. But COVID-19 had a significant impact on many aspects of the economy, marketing and advertising included.

Take television advertising. Digital TV viewing shot up, and advertisers strove to meet them there. But rather than make big bets on the annual Upfronts, where marketers purchase huge and costly inventory buys, advertisers turn to programmatic buys of connected TV. The TV landscape will never be the same again.

The pandemic & TV viewing and advertising

Like all trends in digital advertising, the great shift in TV viewing is 100% driven by consumers. They decide when to watch their favorite shows, and on which device to watch them. Gone are the days when people gathered in the family room to watch appointment TV.

That trend went into hyperdrive during the pandemic. With out-of-home options constrained, the 2020 lockdowns prompted consumers to watch a lot more TV. Binge-watching entire seasons of shows became the new national pastime: digital TV viewing minutes shot up by 25% from Q1 to Q2 2020, just as lockdown orders hit..

And, in a very short period of time, the consumers were introduced to a slate of new streaming services: discovery+, Peacock, HBO Max, Paramount+, Apple TV+ and Disney+. Restless consumers added those services to their Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video subscriptions.

Within the ad-tech industry, we differentiate between linear TV, CTV, streaming and advanced TV. To the consumer, however, it’s all just TV.

Consumers weren’t the only ones who embraced CTV during the pandemic. Advertisers, unsure of where to find their viewers, migrated from linear TV to digital. CTV allowed them to test publishers, often smaller and experimental ones, measure the results, and optimize their media plan on a weekly, or even daily basis. That’s game changing.

Digital = performance campaigns

For a long time, TV was seen exclusively as a brand-awareness channel, one that can reach tens of millions of consumers in a very quick time. The challenge is that one was never quite sure if those ads were seen by the right consumers, or if those consumers took actions as a result of seeing an ad. Put another way, two cornerstones of digital advertising — measurement and attribution — were largely unavailable to TV advertisers.

But CTV obliterates those constraints. In addition to removing the pressure of placing big bets at the Upfronts, all the benefits of digital advertising — testing channels, measuring results and optimizing as spend in real time — now apply to the TV channel. And that, says TVSquared CEO Jo Kinsella, makes CTV a performance channel. There’s data to backup Kinsella’s claim: According to research Hulu and Telaria, 82% of DTC shoppers will take action after seeing an ad streamed across CTV

What’s interesting is the way in which CTV democratizes TV advertising. Smaller companies, like growing DTC brands can now get into the game. Rather than invest millions in a campaign as was once required with Broadcast TV, marketers can test the waters with a much smaller budget.

And they can use their tried and true strategies for that testing. For example, eMarketer reports that about 60% of CTV impressions are purchased via programmatic channels. That’s about $2.37 billion.

Challenges of CTV

Connected TV still faces some challenges, however. To begin, it’s a highly fragmented market. Let’s say I’m a shoe brand and I want to target women aged 25 to 45. In the pre-digital world, I’d turn to Nielsen’s who would tell me which shows or properties will allow me to reach my target audience. Today, my target audience may watch those same shows on a computer via a streaming service like Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, via cable and a Smart TV, or from any one of the affiliates that distribute that show. How do I reach them at scale?

Another challenge is measurement. Sure, digital impressions are countable, but every media buyer uses a third-party measurement company to ensure the number of ads they paid for were actually delivered as promised.

Measurement is more difficult, as TV studios rely on service-side ad insertion (SSAI) for ad delivery. SSAI knits ad spots into the content of the show itself in order to thwart ad-blocking software, which works by blocking ad calls to an ad server. If the ad is integrated into the content, there is no ad call. But it also makes it difficult for advertisers to know if their ads were actually displayed, leading to a new kind of walled gardens.

That challenge is being addressed, however. In fact, over the past few years we’ve seen the rise of multiple TV consortiums that bring together all the major players in the ecosystem to tackle the challenges of CTV. After all, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, which is why they’re working together to develop a set of standards for buying inventory, measuring campaigns and calculating attribution.

Paragon’s CTV services

We provide a full range of CTV services to clients to ensure ads are displayed correctly and meet your expectations:

  • Precise QA testing of ad creatives to ensure all campaigns meet technical specs, and perform as they should on devices
  • Campaign setup, including troubleshooting campaign delivery issues and providing recommended edits/changes for peak performance
  • Pacing and performance reporting
  • Quality check AVOD channels to ensure the content quality and ad delivery aligns with your legal guidelines and brand standards
  • Partner integration support
  • Exceptional account management

Get in touch

Connected TV is an exciting new channel for advertisers of all sizes. It combines all the benefits of medium – site, sound and motion – with all of the advances of digital. If you haven’t considered adding TV into your media mix before, now is a good time to start. CTV has lowered the barriers of TV advertising, allowing more brands to reach their audience in this highly engaging channel. Paragon can help you launch successful CTV campaigns. Get in touch.

Author:David Tyler

Date:21st February 2022


The opportunities of retail media

Retail media is red hot these days, enjoying 27% YoY growth. According to eMarketer, advertisers spent an eye-popping $23.92 billion in 2021 in the U.S. alone. This year, retail media advertising will go as high as $41.37 billion in 2022.

Source: eMarketer

It’s no surprise that advertisers are investing more in retail media; it makes sense on a lot of levels. Let’s take a look.

First, what is retail media exactly? Web properties like,, and Amazon are more than mere ecommerce sites; they’re robust marketplaces that attract hundreds of millions of consumers each year.

Consumers visit these sites when they want to:

  • Research products
  • Make an actual purchase

For brands, retail media presents ideal opportunities to introduce new prospects to their products, and to influence their buying decisions. In other words, retail media is terrific for both awareness and performance campaigns.

The impact of privacy regulations + browser restrictions

By now you’re probably tired of reading about privacy regulations and the death of the cookie, but the truth is, marketers will need a new way to reach and engage consumers. Retail media is a great alternative. Why?

Traditionally, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies have relied on third-party retailers to sell their products directly to consumers. Retail partners were the ones to collect the consumer’s first-party data, not the product manufacturer itself. As third-party cookie tracking goes away, brands without vast pools of first-party data are at a disadvantage.

Enter retail media. These big retailers know a great deal about their customers, and can help brands target shoppers who are likely to be interested in a specific brand or product. What’s more, they have developed sophisticated tools and audience segments to help brands home in on their ideal consumers.

All brands offer multiple ad options, including display ads and sponsored products.

What’s more, when brands advertise on a retail media site, they can use first-party data to measure the success of their campaigns. The retailer can provide reports that tell marketers the number of customers they’ve reached, and whether or not those customers went on to convert.

Retail media advertising platforms

Retailers offer more than inventory, however. Many now offer the technology brands need to reach target users. For instance, Target’s digital ad platform, Roundel, partnered with an ad exchange to offer programmatic advertising, and has rolled out an attribution tool that’s available to marketers who spend $75,000 over a six-week period.

Walmart Connect and Lowe’s One Roof Media Network offer similar functionality.

Don’t miss out

Many say that retail media will become the dominant advertising channel for advertisers, thanks to the abundant availability of first-party data for targeting purposes, along with the ability to reach consumers who are actively researching products and forming opinions about brands and measure campaign effectiveness.

Should your brand include retail media as part of your media budget? A large number of consumers rely on retail media to learn about products. If you’re not there, those consumers may never have a chance to learn about your brand. Get in touch – we’ll be happy to discuss with you further.

Author:Sarah Chapman

Date:14th February 2022


Should you in-house or outsource campaign management?

Planning for 2022

Right about now, many organizations are tweaking their 2022 business plans, looking for opportunities to lower costs without sacrificing revenue. In executive suites the world over, leaders are looking for ways to lower costs and reallocate resources in a way that supports revenue facing account management, sales and partnership resourcing requirements.

It’s natural to assume that in-housing your digital ad campaigns is the best way to lower costs, and build expertise among your ranks. The IAB reported last year that 69% of brands have brought some or all of their programmatic campaigns in-house, although not all have in-housed their complete operations.

If your company is a publisher, agency, brand or tech platform, you may be wondering whether outsourcing generates enough cost savings to meaningfully reallocate to account management sales and partnership efforts. The answer depends on your unique circumstances. Here are three factors to consider.

Labor cost

First, organizations need to consider their “recruitment costs”, which in 2021, according to HR associations, costs around $4,000 and takes about 42 days. Once the new hire arrives you’ll need to spend time and money training the employee on your systems. In some instances, training will require certification from a third-party, which means it may take several months before an employee is fully up to speed and contributing.

Ongoing salaries are another factor to consider. Employee salaries, per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, represent 61.7% of an employer’s cost. In addition to salaries, US companies must  pay specific employer taxes for their employees (e.g. Social Security, workers compensations), which, per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, cost an average of $20.50 per hour per employee. On top of that, there are employee benefits, (which, on a $70,000 salary can run more than $17,000. (Source: BeeBole), hardware and software costs, communications costs, office costs, etc.  An employee supporting ad operations work who is paid $70,000 salary actually cost their employer in the $125,000 – $145,000.

There are other soft costs that are harder to calculate. Lost Opportunity Cost comes to mind, that’s the cost to the organization when people who are customer acquisition or existing customer growth facing spend a portion of their time doing routine, repeatable tasks like testing creatives, chasing creatives, setting up a campaign, reviewing campaign results on a daily basis.

Talent shortage in the Great Resignation

The Great Resignation is real, not a figment of your imagination. Beginning in April 2021, 11.5 million American workers quit their jobs. Of those still working, 48% told Gallop that they’re actively looking for other work.

The marketing and advertising sector has not been spared. A survey of 423 marketers and agency employees found that 63% plan to change jobs or careers this year, 40% demand flexible hours, and 100% – every single respondent! – said they would not consider a job that didn’t offer the option to work from home.

Tempting talent to your ranks is getting more expensive. It’s an employee market, and brands across the world find they need to pay more to entice people to work for them.

Retaining talent, especially those with the highest skillsets, is just as challenging There is nothing more upsetting then watching your top talent walk out the door, after all the efforts in recruitment, training, etc.

You can pay steep recruitment costs, and pay to train new hires, provide the latest and greatest employee benefits but there is more than a slim risk that they’ll be open to new opportunities that may arise. Employee poaching is here and on the rise.


Continuity is the final consideration and it’s an urgent one, due to the above mentioned Great Resignation. You can have a stellar employee executing and optimizing your campaigns, but what happens if he or she resigns or retires? Not only will your campaigns be interrupted while you recruit, hire and train a replacement, but you’ll lose the “institutional” knowledge of that employee. As the employee manages campaigns, he or she garners detailed knowledge of which channel works best with which type of product, as well as strategies for getting the best price for media. It can take years to recover that kind of insight.

Outsourcing partners, on the hand, are all about continuity; it’s our raison d’etre, so to speak. We put processes in place to document all knowledge gained with every campaign, so that there are never any interruptions of continuity.

Which option is right for your company? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss with your further.

Author:David Tyler

Date:31st January 2022


A look back on 2021, and a peek into 2022

If we thought 2021 would settle down after a tumultuous 2020, we were wrong. The business world is still reeling, this time from a labor crunch that’s affecting everything from supply chains to restaurant service.

It’s a time of great uncertainty for many companies: each month more than four million US workers resign. Those resigning are mostly mid-career workers, and they take with them the skills that keep a company going on a day-to-day basis. Complicating matters further, 48% of employees surveyed by Gallop say they’re actively looking for another job, putting business continuity at risk.

How are companies pivoting to adapt to these post-pandemic challenges? Paragon Digital Services has a unique perspective on some aspects of labor shortage, as our teams are asked to step in and fill gaps as they arise.

Here our observations gathered over the past year, and what we see in store for 2022.

Outsourcing fills in skill gaps 

Outsourcing various aspects of business operations has been on an upward trajectory for more than a decade, but the pandemic has accelerated the trend.

As workers reevaluate their priorities and assess how to achieve a work-life balance that’s right for them, hiring managers are panicking. It’s not uncommon to see $5,000 sign-on bonuses offered for entry-level positions and warehouse workers. And the fear that once they invest in recruiting, those workers will be lured away by a competitor.

In 2021, companies engaged outsourcing partners as a stop-gap measure, but that fix is increasingly seen as more of a permanent solution, or at least until such time when recruiting costs come down a bit. Those who hope to eventually bring functions back in-house are keen to work with outsourcers who can transfer skills to newly hired employees.

In-housing plans slowing down or put on hold

Prior to the pandemic companies have been bringing various marketing activities in-house, but those efforts have slowed down. In-housing is proving expensive and its rewards are harder and taking longer to realize, prompting many brands to hit the pause button. “Many advertisers are being more selective about how they want to work with agencies and are prioritizing flexibility and capability over scale and stability,” write Kimeko McCoy and Seb Joseph in Digiday.

Many companies are continuing their push towards in-housing, but they want to focus those efforts on the strategic work, and leave the more technical aspects to outside experts like Paragon’s trafficking teams. Some see this approach as a strategy to retain employees who want more interesting work. For others, candidates with the needed technical skills just aren’t available in their areas, so they have no choice but to outsource.

Enabling full-time employees to focus on strategic work is a good way to combat the Great Resignation, as many people have quit in order to pursue jobs that give them a greater sense of fulfillment.

Operations still seen as prime outsourcing candidate

Business process outsourcing (BPO) has been on an upward trajectory for the past 20 years and is showing no signs of clowning down. In 2022, the global BPO market is valued at $232 billion, and will grow by 8.5% each year until 2028.

Advances in SaaS, platform as a service and infrastructure as a service give companies a lot more flexibility to outsource some or all of operations to a partner.

Looking ahead to 2022

So what’s ahead for outsourcing, particularly as it applies to the media industry?

We’re likely to see hybrid models, with companies looking for outsourcing partners willing to take on a portion, but not all, of their workloads. Companies want partners who can augment, not necessarily replace, their internal teams.

Outsourcing engagements will start out small, but will increase as clients see tangible benefits. This is a trend we see currently, and expect it to continue, especially as managers strive to provide more meaningful work for their employees in order to retain them.

If the Great Resignation continues at its current rate, outsourcing will become an important strategy to maintain business continuity. In some cases, outsourcing partners will be asked to perform more niche work.

Rising recruitment costs, higher salaries – along with the scourge of luring trained away from current positions with competitive offers – may lead more companies to seek outsourcing partners as a more permanent solution.

Get in touch today to learn how we can help you transform your ad ops as we head into 2022.

Author:David Tyler

Date:7th December 2021


Language isn’t a barrier to success

Cross border sales are booming

According to eShopWorld (ESW) data released in August, 2021, cross-border sales are booming. Facing reduced access to stores, global shoppers are turning to ecommerce, and a good portion of them (46%) are buying directly from international brands online. Over half of millennials (52%) are actively buying from brands outside of their home countries. Like a lot of pandemic-induced habits, this isn’t a new trend, but it’s one that has been greatly accelerated by lockdown orders.

Over the past ten years, the barriers to cross-border selling have been coming down. All of the standard ecommerce platforms – Shopify, Magento Commerce, BigCommerce, WooCommerce – have streamlined cross-border sales. Merchants can easily display products in local languages and currencies by leveraging out-of-the-box features.

Meanwhile, a host of entrepreneurs have been busy developing platforms and solutions that streamline the workflows of taking orders and delivering products to customers, regardless of where they live. By selecting the right partners, merchants can offer Amazon-like delivery service.

For instance, allows website visitors to browse and purchase products in their local currency. It also automatically calculates duties and taxes, and offers logistics. ShipStation is the facto partner for multinational merchants, offering order management, landed-cost calculations, branded shipping, volume discounts and more.

The gap: digital campaigns

While the ecommerce platforms and third-party plug-ins can make any mom-and-pop shop look and act like a multinational corporation, there’s still a critically important piece missing: campaigns. You may be able to take an order, charge the correct price, pay the appropriate taxes and deliver a product to a consumer’s door who lives halfway around the world from your headquarters, but how are you going to inform that customer of your products to begin with?

The importance of speaking the local language in campaigns

There’s a story that makes its way around the internet on a fairly regular basis about a Chevy Nova marketing debacle in Latin America (no va means ‘doesn’t go’ in Spanish). The story is a myth, but it’s an instructive one.

All marketers should pay very close attention to the language used in every market where their ads will appear. It’s all too easy to send the wrong message to a market due to language barrier. Fortunately, language isn’t a barrier for Paragon Digital Services and our teams. Every day we help multinational brands execute their performance and brand-awareness campaigns in markets all over the world.

Paragon multinational campaigns by the numbers

  • 44,000 campaigns. We deliver an average of 44,000 campaigns a year across 70+ markets with an accuracy rate of 99.9%, 100% campaigns were delivered on, or before, the deadline.
  • 68+ languages. We work with clients and stakeholders who, combined, speak more than 68 languages. We get the nuances of local languages, and can ensure multinational campaigns don’t fall flat due to poor language. All of our team members are conversant in English, so you’ll have no trouble explaining what you need to them.
  • 17 different departments. We don’t handle just one type of campaign, we handle them all – paid social, paid search, display, programmatic. We’re your one-stop-shop for your global campaigns.
  • 70+ markets. We can help you reach your audience wherever they are, be it in the US, LatAm, EMEA, MENA or APAC.
  • 50+ global brands. Global brands trust us, and rely on us to execute their campaigns accurately and on time and budget. There’s no better endorsement than turning over a media budget!
  • 5000+ unique brands. We’ve launched a wide variety of campaigns for brands that span many sectors. Whether you’re a DTC, B2C or B2B brand, we can help you reach your exact audience.

Ready to take advantage of the modern, post-pandemic consumer’s enthusiasm for global shopping? Get in touch and we’ll help you deliver successful, multinational campaign.

Author:Rekha Patil

Date:2nd November 2021