AppNexus Scales Training Program to Reach Customers Worldwide
September 16, 2016
Global internet technology company AppNexus was in need of a training overhaul that would help their clients get the most out of the powerful services they offer. In Unboxed Technology, they found a partner who could develop training solutions that would scale and adapt, even as their business changed or grew over time.
AppNexus is one of the world’s largest independent platforms for the buying and selling of internet-based advertising. With over 1,000 employees working in offices located in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Australia, their customizable software solutions facilitate billions of ad sales every day.
As AppNexus expanded, so did the need to onboard new clients to their software platform in a scalable way. Their existing training was overly complex, time consuming and limited by their Services Team’s availability to provide in-person, one-on-one assistance.
In order to better onboard their customers, AppNexus needed a change. Their goal: an e-learning program that could be accessed from anywhere in the world, educate their clients on how to use their platform effectively and remain evergreen as AppNexus continued to grow. It also had to be easy to update, to account for any future changes to the e-commerce landscape.
We had a sense of the kind of e-learning that we wanted but needed an engaging, scalable solution.
“We had a sense of the kind of e-learning that we wanted but needed an engaging, scalable solution,” says Crossman Wilkins, AppNexus’ Lead Instructional Designer. After first attempting to resource the project internally, AppNexus quickly realized they required a partner if they wanted to build a comprehensive program within their desired timeframe. Ultimately, they chose Unboxed to design a solution that would fit.
Unboxed began the discovery process by attending in-person workshops at AppNexus’ corporate headquarters in New York. While there, they gained a better understanding of AppNexus’ business practices and the software console itself, which allowed them to recommend custom training solutions tailored to AppNexus’ unique needs and culture.
Unboxed also met with subject matter experts to identify common struggles with the platform. In doing so, they gained valuable insights into the areas in which AppNexus’ clients needed the most help, what kind of solution would be the most effective, and how best to share the training content. At the end of the process, Unboxed recommended a microlearning approach that would thoroughly and quickly educate AppNexus’ clients.
Unboxed allowed us to make an entire curriculum all at once, and at a better quality than I could make on my own.
Even at this early stage of their partnership with Unboxed, AppNexus was confident they had made the right choice. Through close collaboration, Unboxed and AppNexus were able to rapidly align on a strategy and move into development. “Unboxed allowed us to make an entire curriculum all at once,” Wilkins says, “and at a better quality than I could make on my own.”
The resulting training modules consisted of two-to-three minute, single-topic e-learnings that provided comprehensive training on the AppNexus console, while allowing AppNexus’ partners to customize their learning experience to their needs. This just-in-time approach gave each individual learner access to the exact information they need at any point in time. To keep the content easy to understand, the microlearning modules featured a shared iconography to help convey abstract concepts, while footage of the console itself provided step-by-step interface training. By taking the time to establish these conventions during the design process, Unboxed could rapidly create additional modules as AppNexus needed them.
This new training allowed AppNexus’ customers to familiarize themselves with their platform and understand its basic functionality. “Unboxed’s content is engaging and effective,” says Laurie Schnidman, Senior Director of Product Support & Customer Education for AppNexus’ Advertiser Technology Group. “We knew it would be a great fit for us.”
Unboxed’s content is engaging and effective. We knew it would be a great fit for us.
“It’s not a chore to watch the training we develop,” Wilkins added. “It’s engaging and drives to the core concepts we are teaching to.” And since the e-learning modules were designed with two-dimensional, customizable animation, they will be easy to update, a crucial feature in an industry where change is constant.
Since launching the first e-learning modules in June 2015, AppNexus has seen overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers, thanks to its ability to teach them the platform quickly from anywhere in the world. Customers use it. Customers love it.
“User growth has been impressive,” says Schnidman. “It’s been up and to the right since we launched.” Completion rates are at 70%, for training the company considers optional. Clients have singled out the program’s easy-to-understand content and high quality production value as high points. The head of performance at one AppNexus client said that for new members of his team, the e-learning is “a well-structured ‘pick up and go’ curriculum that allows first time users to get immersed in the AppNexus world with easy-to-understand e-learning videos and article content.”
85% said they found the content informative, and almost 80% said they were either likely or very likely to recommend the content to another learner.
… [our Services Team is] spending less time on basic training and more time on high-impact, strategic and technical consulting.
But some of the biggest advocates? AppNexus’ own Services Team. According to Schnidman, they are recommending it to customers on a regular basis, thanks to its ability to onboard customers faster than ever. “Anecdotally, they’re spending less time on basic training,” she says, “and more time on high-impact, strategic and technical consulting.”
Going forward, Unboxed will continue to develop new e-learning modules to expand the training curriculum and help learners get the most out of their partnership with AppNexus. “Unboxed has been a great partner in this project,” Wilkins said, “and the quality of the content continues to exceed our expectations.”