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Aug 7th 2014

AOL Teams Up with the ASPCA to Help At-Risk Animals

AOL leverages the power of the Internet to improve the world around us and benefit those in need. This month, AOL is proud to be going big in support of ASPCA's "Come to Their Rescue" campaign, an initiative aimed at building a national movement that will help make a difference for millions of homeless animals across the country. The campaign's PSA, which features spokesperson and singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat, calls for animal lovers to become rescuers.


In support of this campaign – with the goal of helping the ASPCA reach its goal of 3 million rescuers, one for every homeless animal euthanized each year – AOL is providing pro bono media support across channels:
  • Desktop and mobile PSA banners on our owned and operated channels and with third party publisher inventory
  • Providing video PSA support across AOL's network, spotlighting Colbie Caillat sparking directly to the viewer
  • AOL owned and operated brands Cambio and StyleList shared editorial coverage following interviews with Colbie
  • On August 15, we're providing an AOL.com "Make a Difference" module – making ASPCA the featured charity for one full day
  • Social media support for the campaign from AOL channels

For almost 150 years, the ASPCA has worked tirelessly to end animal cruelty.

Visit http://www.aspca.org/rescue to support the campaign.

Aug 6th 2014

AOL Accelerates Revenue and Adjusted OIBDA Growth

AOL accelerates revenue and Adjusted OIBDA growth – growing both 12% year-over-year.

"AOL's future as a scaled media technology company continues to get stronger," said Tim Armstrong, AOL Chairman and CEO. "AOL grew consumer usage, video, programmatic advertising, branded content, and ad pricing throughout the first half of 2014, and we will continue to make AOL one of the best operating companies in our industry."

Other highlights include:


For the full release, click here.

Aug 4th 2014

Inertia Is Stifling Innovation - and the 'Tech Tax' is No Myth

As I reflect upon my first anniversary as global CEO for AOL Platforms, I've gained a unique perspective on the industry after years on the agency side of the business (most recently as global CEO of Razorfish and CEO of Publicis Groupe's digital technology division), to now being fully immersed in the technical innovations that are powering the rapidly evolving digital ad and publishing ecosystems. AOL has given me new insight into the many challenges and opportunities that marketers encounter when navigating the complex and crowded world of programmatic buying, data analytics, attribution, mobile, online video and more. Here are a few things I have learned in the last year -- both the good and the bad:

1. The "tech tax" is no myth. The words "confusing" and "complex" are used to describe the current ad tech landscape for a reason. A multitude of highly specialized product vendors are all vying for a sliver of the marketing pie. Currently, for every dollar that a brand spends on a digital placement, more than half is siphoned off to a complicated web of trading desks, private exchanges, DSPs (demand-side platforms), SSPs (supply-side platforms), data aggregators, tag management vendors, ad verification vendors, retargeters and more. Having seen the waste inherent in our bloated publishing and advertising ecosystems first-hand, my take is that the industry's No. 1 objective should be to unify and simplify the technologies that automate the planning, buying, execution, optimization and measurement of cross-screen and cross-format campaigns. The innovation exists. Our job is to harness it, simplify it and deploy it to increase the power and reach of every advertising dollar.

2. Inertia is stifling innovation. Things that worked in traditional media -- like "splitting the buy" across broadcast networks and static one-month-ahead planning -- don't make sense in today's data-driven digital world. Today the wealth of data and technology available make it possible to continually analyze behavior and performance data, empowering brands to zero in on the most relevant audiences and inventory in real-time, rather than hedge their bets. We wholeheartedly agree with WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell that data experts have an important role to play in this changing agency landscape: "You need to have programmers, engineers, scientists and mathematicians, and it needs different types of agency people working together." Marketers and brand executives that don't evolve from doing things "the way they've always been done" will be left behind. Those that adapt their strategies to the digital age will grow and thrive.

3. The value of data is exponential. Too many marketers lock information in silos (separating mobile, social and desktop analytics for example), which leaves them unable to realize the full potential of their data. Confirmed in a soon-to-be released study on social media marketing conducted by Convertro (the multi-touch attribution vendor acquired this year by AOL), we've long known that consumers don't engage with content in silos -- they move between devices throughout the day. And while a lower number of conversions happen on social, engagement on this channel is important to customer awareness and consideration of products. This will be increasingly important as, according to a study from the ANA and Nielsen, by 2016 nearly half of media campaigns are expected to be multiscreen. The bottom line is that data increases exponentially when it can be integrated, analyzed holistically and used to optimize decisions across all marketing channels. And marketers need to know how campaign performance is impacted by each individual impression, regardless of which screens or types of inventory are engaged.

4. Don't bother with meaningless distinctions. Our industry spends way too much time asking where the dollars are going to go next: TV or video? Mobile or display? Broadcast or digital? All decisions, whether media, creative or format-driven, should focus on reaching the consumer wherever they are, whenever they are ready to engage. And optimizing the allocation of total ad spend successfully depends on automation and data optimization that can tell you what's working, what's not and where improvements should be made, regardless of the channel.

After a year of focusing on how to make advertising technology better, faster, smarter and more efficient, I'm looking forward to a future where advertisers adopt the tools and processes they need to accomplish their most important goal: engage with consumers and move their business forward. Working together, the CMO and CTO will drive business results. Period.

Read the original article on Ad Age here.

Jul 29th 2014

AOL Series, "Follow Me" Documents the Lives of Modern Day Digital Creators

What happens when the vlogging, tweeting and instagramming stops for modern day digital creators? That's the question AOL is striving to answer through its newest original series, "Follow Me."

Launched today, the 10-episode series documents the lives of modern day digital creators who are redefining the definition of celebrity. Each installment features a different star, allowing unprecedented access into their lives.

In the first episode of this eye-opening digital series, viewers will get an intimate look at the busy life of Brittani Louise Taylor- a self described "digital ninja," actress and filmmaker with more than 1.1 million subscribers and over 200 million video views - as she preps for production on her YouTube videos as well as all of the behind the scenes work that goes into maintaining her brand.

Also premiering today, JC Caylen and Ricky Dillon of "Our 2nd Life" (O2L) take us behind the scenes of O2L, one of the most popular millennial brands today with more than 8 million YouTube subscribers and over 280 million views collectively. At AOL's 2014 Newfront, one tweet by JC Caylen garnered 325,000 likes and 2,000 retweets, higher than all other A-list talent.

Watch the latest episodes here, and join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #AOLFollowMe.

Jul 22nd 2014

AOL UK Makes All Reserved Inventory Available Programmatically

Today, AOL UK announced that it is putting 100% of its reserved inventory from all its owned and operated sites into AOL's proprietary Demand Side Platform (DSP). Automating the sale of reserved inventory, that is currently done manually, will free up a vast amount of time that is lost in the standard IO process, in addition to driving efficiencies and effectiveness with digital campaigns. A number of agencies and advertisers are partners of AOL's DSP including eBay, Amnet, Cadreon and Vivaki, and they will now have access to AOL's complete reserved inventory.

Advertisers can now buy all reserved inventory on AOL UK's owned and operated sites including AOL, The Huffington Post, Engadget, TechCrunch, Parentdish and MyDaily, in an automated way on a self-serve basis. Four of AOL's existing premium formats including the award-winning multi-screen Project Devil/IAB Portrait, Billboard and Monster MPU will be available exclusively through AOL's DSP, with more set to come. Advertisers can also scale their brand message beyond AOL's owned and operated sites, utilising a wide range of premium formats through AOL's network of premium third party publishers.

According to a recent IAB UK study the share of ads bought through programmatic technologies is estimated to grow from (47%) in 2014 to up to (60-75%) of total UK digital display advertising by 2017. AOL has invested organically in programmatic technologies over the past few years, building both a proprietary Demand Side Platform (DSP) and Supply Side Platform (SSP). In the past 12 months, AOL acquired Adap.tv, a leading video trading platform and Convertro, an attribution modeling technology among others, as well as announcing AOL ONE by AOL in March this year: a cross screen programmatic platform that will include linear TV once rolled out in 2015 .

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