AOL to build cross-screen programmatic ad platform


AOL_logo_AOL unveiled plans for a new global programmatic ad platform for brands, agencies and publishers. “ONE by AOL” will leverage the teams and technologies behind, AdLearn Open Platform (AOP) and MARKETPLACE to drive powerful brand insight and action across all screens including TV, formats and inventory types.

AOL’s Chairman and CEO, Tim Armstrong and Bob Lord, CEO of AOL Platforms, made the announcement at ad:tech San Francisco where they shared their vision of advertising’s future: an open ecosystem where partners and competitors, publishers and marketers, are all beneficiaries of a platform-driven industry.

Matt Seiler, Global CEO of IPG Mediabrands, joined them on stage to announce IPG Mediabrands plans to be the charter agency network partner for ONE –reinforcing its commitment to fully automating half of its media investments by 2016. Together, the two companies plan to work to deliver the promise of automation to the industry at-large. The move also builds upon the successful work that IPG Mediabrands, its strategic investment division, MAGNA GLOBAL, and MAGNA Consortium member AOL have done to-date to use data and technology to create different models for media transactions, operations and investments.

ONE will be the first platform that empowers brands with a holistic view of the consumer’s journey through the marketing funnel, and makes that insight actionable, in real-time on the platform. Development on ONE is underway and customers will be able to start using portions of the platform later this year. The single, unified platform takes media planning and management to a new level, with predictive analytics that provide immediate insights on metrics like reach, frequency, and performance, and post-campaign insights that look across all screens and formats to deliver immediate impact on brand metrics. It is completely format, screen and inventory agnostic – from video, display and TV, to tablet, desktop and mobile devices, to reserved and non-reserved inventory across AOL or any other publisher or media source.

“AOL has spent the last four years building platforms to facilitate the efficient and effective flow of advertising dollars to digital,” said Armstrong. “We build brands – our own, and those of more than 22,000 publishers in our global network and the thousands of marketers we work with daily to help them accomplish their business goals in today’s fast moving, dynamic market. On the platforms side of our business, as machines automate more media decisions across TV to digital, we are well-positioned to help advertisers, agencies and publishers realize the true value of data-driven advertising.”

Bob Lord, CEO, AOL Platforms added, “Our industry has developed too many niche offerings and specialized services over the last 25 years, and chaos in ad tech is at an all-time high. The inefficiencies, ineffectiveness and expense of managing multiple teams, tools and metrics for display, mobile and video, across all devices, are stifling. The holy grail of marketing is helping marketers understand how direct response and brand budgets can interact together. With the goal of driving economic efficiencies and media effectiveness, ONE ensures that data drives media selection and allocation, pricing and creative. It is the integrator of media across every screen and the automator of decisions that have long not needed human attention. I believe a platform like ONE – that is open and that doesn’t discriminate – will win.”

“We very much share a vision with AOL and the other MAGNA Consortium members around harnessing the power of data and technology to make smarter, faster decisions that drive client business results,” said Seiler. “We have publicly stated that we plan to deliver 50 percent automation to our North American buying process by 2016, with other international markets following closely behind, and we intend to use AOL as a primary platform partner to execute on that commitment. Partnering with AOL allows us to take full advantage of the power of automation to both execute smart investments more quickly, as well unlock custom content and high-touch solutions through newly available resources.”

ONE leverages:

• a unified, programmatic platform providing buyers and sellers with automated tools to plan, buy, measure and optimize across linear TV and digital video.

•AOP: a programmatic mobile and display platform, powered by AdLearn that allows advertisers and agencies to manage, optimize and analyze online marketing campaigns from one central platform in real time.

•MARKETPLACE: a programmatic mobile and display platform that delivers online publishers more demand stability and liquidity and maximizes the value of their non-reserved inventory.

ONE will be sold as an enterprise solution. ONE will also be used by AOL as its dedicated programmatic platform.

The MAGNA Programmatic Forecast, released October 2013, estimates a total of $100 billion will be spent on programmatic buying across screens globally in the next four years. By 2017, 80% of cross-format ad spend (display, video, mobile) will be transacted programmatically in the U.S., and international markets will see a 240% growth in programmatic spending from 2013.

AOL continues its push into the global marketing technology business and is renaming its technology division AOL Platforms (formerly the segment known as AOL Networks) to better explain its sophisticated platform offerings to marketers, agencies and publishers.