Raptive Voices: Meet Jian-Ning Wong, Principal Product Analyst
Welcome to Raptive Voices, where we highlight the talented team members who work to propel our creators to new heights.
Meet Jian-Ning Wong, Principal Product Analyst. Jian-Ning is part of the team behind Raptive’s stellar ad code. He told us how small wins compound to create huge RPM increases and how creativity fuels the data science that brings in revenue for Raptive creators.
Tell us about your role as the Principal Product Analyst on Raptive’s ad code team.
The ad code team writes the code that puts ads on our creators’ pages, and we’re constantly running tests and making improvements. I oversee data analysis for all A/B tests we perform. Before we push any changes out we want to understand what a change will do and make sure it’s doing what we intended, both for revenue and user experience. We test our changes on small groups of traffic so we know what value we’re delivering to our creators.
How did you get into data analytics?
I’ve always been into analyzing things, using logic, and problem-solving, even as a kid. I was a chemical engineer for about ten years, where I used science to look at how something that happens upstream can have cascading effects into something far downstream. That concept continues to apply in ad tech when we think about how making a small change to an ad layout could potentially change the way a reader interacts with the page.
Those small changes have been garnering attention lately, with Raptive creators noticing higher RPMs. How is Raptive able to achieve these wins?
A lot of companies say they’re data-driven. That might mean they track a lot of metrics or have fancy dashboards, but doesn’t necessarily mean they’re making decisions every day based on data.
Whether it’s small or large, just about every decision we make is based on data.
Raptive has very good processes, so we’re always making the best choice given all the factors. We’re constantly exploring and engineering new ways to improve creator RPMs. Most of the time we’re accumulating a series of 0.1 and 0.2 percent increases that compound over time, like compound interest on your bank account. We know these wins are happening because we have systems to measure improvements, no matter how small, and they really add up over time.
We see a lot of conversation around revenue share, which can be a red herring—there are other critical factors that go into earnings. How does ad code impact overall revenue?
There are so many ways to influence ad code to increase revenue. We’re trying to get creators more impressions and make those impressions more valuable, especially as we go into a world without third-party cookies. We also want to maintain a good visitor experience and clean up the code so it runs even faster. There are so many different levers to pull but that’s one of the fun things about the work. As we pick off the low-hanging fruit it becomes increasingly complex to make changes that drive wins, which is where Raptive’s expertise really comes through.
We often think of ad code as a science, but a big part of it is innovation. How does creativity play into your work?
We run so many small tests and need a lot of ideas to try those out. Generating those ideas takes creativity, along with knowledge, expertise, collaboration, and open-mindedness. Every Thursday we have a data meeting where we spend an hour poring over the data and asking questions: What does it tell us? Can we make changes to the ad code based on this data? What new ideas spring from this?
It’s a highlight of my week; the collaboration is very ad hoc and surprisingly effective. It’s hard to establish where science ends and creativity starts—we need a mix of both to achieve our outcomes.