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Apr 30th 2013

It's On: AOL Readies for Second Digital Content NewFront

Three years ago, AOL placed a big bet on video. Through the acquisitions of 5min Media and goviral and significant investments in video, AOL has grown to be the #1 premium curated video network. Our goal is to bridge the gap between TV and digital video – be it quality, reach or measurement.

At this year's NewFront we're looking to the future of video. We will showcase our high-quality original programming slate, unique advertising formats, powerful distribution at scale and industry-leading analytics.

We'll kick things off with our 2013 Summer/Fall original programming lineup that features a variety of content that we're creating across categories like food, sports, fashion, health, autos and more. We're partnering with well-known celebs and influencers on the rise who already have digital audiences, as well as the passion to grow their online footprint. AOL has the scale and data needed to produce great content that we know consumers want to watch.

We'll also announce the launch of Be On – a new branded entertainment platform. As the interest for native advertising continues to grow, we are helping brands become publishers. Brands can be smoothly integrated next to our amazing content. From creation to distribution to measurement. It's a global offering that includes the capabilities that we've been offering through the goviral platform plus even more.

We're bullish on measurement too. To date, there has been no apples-to-apples measurement for buyers to compare TV to digital video. We're ready to change that in a few ways. We've partnered with Nielsen on two different initiatives. The first, announced this morning, is a pilot program that will measure audiences for TV content viewed online. AOL is the only digital partner involved in this effort. The second is a collaboration that will measure the audience viewing AOL's library of over 620K premium videos against traditional TV. The AOL Video Reach (AVR) will provide audience measurement in the language that TV buyers know. Essentially, we'll be able to use comScore to measure ourselves against other web properties, and Nielsen to compare ourselves against TV.

Additionally, for the first time in history, digital inventory will be available in a traditional TV buying system through a partnership that AOL has forged with FreeWheel and Mediaocean. The market (broadcasters) cannot buy digital inventory today because we don't speak the same language. This deal allows broadcast buyers to compare AOL's inventory with TV inventory ... finally an apples to apples comparison.

We're ready to show the media industry that AOL is well-positioned for the merge of the digital and TV worlds as we continue our mission to bridge the gap between the two.

It's On!

Sep 21st 2012

When Will 'Online Video' Just Be Called 'Video?': A recap from the Ad Age Digital Conference

The second annual Ad Age Digital Conference took place in San Francisco yesterday, and I was lucky enough to deliver a presentation during the video track. Entitled When Will 'Online Video' Just Be Called 'Video?', my presentation discussed the growing shift of television advertising dollars to online video and the progress that the industry has made in recent months.

With more than 200 people in the audience, I shared how new technologies and a more pronounced focus on quality content has really helped the industry to make significant strides of late. Technologies like the tablet and connected TVs have certainly made time-shifted video more accessible and media buyers are taking notice as these devices become more ubiquitous. I noted that a "new set of pipes" are being developed that allow for a better viewing experience than consumers have seen in the past. At the same time, the industry as a whole has done a much better job of investing in original web series, with "made for web" shows like our own Little Women Big Cars. In a nutshell, I highlighted how online video has matured tremendously from the days where only user-generated content was available and that, combined with new technology, have driven increased viewership.

Finally, the presentation addressed how new forms of measurement are also helping to make more of an apples to apples comparison between online video and traditional television. In the past, online video ads were often measured only in terms of clickthrough rates and completion rates with neither measure translating well to TV marketing. Newer forms of measurements, such as the partnership AOL made with Nielsen earlier this year, help media buyers to take a closer look and have a better understanding of metrics.

To read more about the Ad Age Digital Conference, check out adage.com.

Apr 16th 2012

AOL Becomes First Major Publisher to Offer GRP Guarantee for Online Video, Mirrors TV Buying Model

Beginning today, AOL will offer marketers guaranteed audience delivery for online video advertising campaigns bought across its properties. For the first time, online GRPs – based on audience demographics, rather than clicks or impressions – are being used as the basis for advertiser guarantees on the Web. Through a partnership with Nielsen, AOL will leverage Nielsen Online Campaign RatingsTM reach, frequency and gross rating point (GRP) measurement to determine how well it delivered ads to the desired target audience. As the digital content NewFronts approach, AOL is the first major publisher to use a TV-based guarantee model for its online video inventory.

As we see more and more brand dollars shift from traditional television advertising to the Web, partnering with Nielsen puts AOL in a unique position to offer a more cost effective mechanism for reaching targeted audiences and a better or equal brand lift, reach and recall. AOL has a significant volume of high-quality content valued by advertisers and we are excited to take the lead on showing the value and differentiated results we can guarantee.

Dec 13th 2011

Consumers First: Best Practices for Creating Engaging Ad Experiences

You all undoubtedly remember the "Natural Born Clickers" study that was released by comScore in conjunction with Starcom USA and Tacoda back in 2007. Findings showed that only 32% of online users clicked on at least one display ad during one month. Surely, driving sales isn't the only goal of a campaign but it's supposed to account for something, right?

Fast forward to late 2009 when the three got back together to revisit the results. New research showed that 32% was cut by half; only 16% of all internet users were clicking on at least one display ad in a month. An even deeper dive showed that 8% of internet users accounted for 85% of all clicks.

8%? No marketer would ever produce a campaign that targeted just 8% of the population. Yet, that's what they were doing by building campaigns around the click. We at AOL – and a lot of the digital advertising industry – believe there is a better metric: engagement. Which is why in June 2011, AOL commissioned Nielsen to conduct a research study to find out who is naturally prone to engaging with online advertising.

The study, which came to be known as "Consumers First: Best Practices For Creating Engaging Ad Experiences", took a look at the intersection of the population exposed to Premium Formats with Nielsen's robust online panel to garner insights about consumers' online advertising behavior. We wanted to develop a profile of who is engaging with online ads, what they think about display and how to create a robust experience for them online.

One of our first findings was that 59% of users say they dislike online display ads. However, with internal data showing that AOL Premium Formats saw 15M interactions over the course of three months, we knew someone was engaging – a group that we dubbed "Engagers". Engagers are users who actively, intentionally interact with an ad unit, and these people will interact with online advertising, if you give them a reason to.

To find out what makes up an Engager and how to get them interacting with online ads, click here to download the full study.

Source: comScore, Inc. custom analysis, Total US Online Population, XPC Persons Panel, July 2007 data period
Source: Nielsen Custom Study, August 2011

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