Digital advertising platforms have the ability to effectively target qualified users from around the globe in a multitude of ways, all while being easily set up from any computer or laptop. However, this immense power at marketers’ fingertips comes with great responsibility, as little mistakes can be easily overlooked, but have grave consequences (e.g. wasting tens of thousands of dollars in spend and losing out on potential revenue). This is especially important when working on budget caps, bid levels, landing pages, creative versions, etc. The key is finding the balance between having checks in place to catch these slip-ups while not having too extensive a process, where the quality assurance (QA) becomes a burden that unnecessarily delays launches and creative swaps.

In my experience in ad operations, platform campaign management, and as an account lead, I have learned that the best QA practices are ones where the QAer has experience in the respective field and is reviewing a pre-set checklist of items that need to be confirmed before final approval. These items are often unique to each case, so creating a list similar to the one below will be helpful.

Example of a QA checklist

Advantages of this QA Process

There are many benefits to this system. Just having at least 2 sets of eyes on a project is important not only to catch mistakes but also so the accountability is not sitting on one individual’s shoulders. Task management tools such as Asana can be immensely helpful for saving templates and assigning people to check specific tasks. I have also seen Google Sheets work well in these scenarios, as it is free and more flexible than Asana.

Another productive step is to include a step at the end of the checklist that requires someone to review clicks, impressions, Google Analytics sessions, etc. to catch any errors the day after launch. For instance, I saw an ad work perfectly in a preview tool but not click through to an LP when it actually went live, which cost thousands in wasted ad spend. The pre-launch QA looked fine but no ads were actually clicking through for users. These next day checkpoints will catch missteps before they waste thousands of dollars.

Drawbacks of Too Many QA Processes

I have also seen QA processes become cumbersome and unnecessarily time consuming. Requiring a 3rd set of eyes sounds beneficial at first, but in practice is not very helpful. Usually this 3rd person is not as close to the account as the first two and therefore are not as familiar with all the unique nuances of the project. This becomes problematic because the 3rd QA’er either asks too many questions to one of the other QA’ers (taking up more time) or they do not fully grasp the project and end up approving everything because they feel the pressure of being the last hurdle before going live. Either way, the chances of an unnoticed mistake remain similar and more time has been consumed along the way.

Mistakes will inevitably occur, and when they do it is important to expand your QA checklist to ensure that mistake does not happen again. This provides confidence with the entire team that no settings are missed and that everything is running smoothly. Contact us if you have any questions or would like to learn more about QA processes.