Greg Rogers' posts

Jun 27th 2012

AOL Launches Premium Formats for Smartphones and Tablets

Today AOL announced that we have expanded our Premium Formats suite to the smartphone and tablet. After launching Project Devil for desktop just eighteen months ago, the beautiful, engaging, content-rich ad formats that are powered by the award-winning Pictela technology will now be available on mobile devices. We are simplifying premium digital advertising and offering marketers the ability to serve the same brand content experience across multiple devices.

Mobile Premium Formats are built using applications similar to those currently available for the desktop. Each ad unit includes three apps. At launch, the applications for an advertiser to choose from are:

  • Photo Gallery – Allows advertisers to tell their brand story through beautiful, high-quality images of products or messages. Up to nine images can be featured in a carousel that can be swiped through to see the next image.
  • Video Gallery - Displays stunning HD content and provides advertisers with another platform to utilize TV spots and other video content that has already been produced.
  • Content feed – Advertisers can include proprietary feeds to highlight company news and updates for consumers.
  • Facebook feed - Displays content from a brand's Facebook page in a scrollable-list to provide real-time conversation updates.
  • Twitter feed - Displays content from a brand's account or a chosen hash-tag in a scrollable-list to provide real-time conversation updates.

Additional apps will be incorporated into this mobile offering in the coming weeks. Similar to the desktop browser experience, every high-definition experience within the ad unit can be navigated without leaving the page. The functionality takes into account the tactile nature of mobile devices, and allows users to swipe and tap to see more content which can be updated instantly during a campaign.

Advertising inventory will be available across AOL's Owned & Operated mobile web properties and apps, as well as across third party mobile inventory through Advertising.com. This technology is available for iOS 4.0+ and Android 2.2+ in the U.S. and Canada.

Feb 27th 2012

Scaling Premium Brand Advertising Across The Web

Today we announced the beta launch of Pictela Enterprise, a technology platform for the design, delivery and management of Premium Format ad campaigns, to help scale premium brand advertising on the Web. This robust new set of tools will put creative control directly in the hands of ad agencies, which will include Digitas and Mindshare at launch.

We believe the power of opening our Pictela platform to agencies is the next step in scaling Premium Formats across the Web. Think of Pictela Enterprise as a content management system for ads, whereby creative professionals can efficiently deploy high definition ads across the Web, all the while being able to update and optimize the content of those ads in real time. We are putting the power of publishing in the hands of the ad agencies and their clients so they can take full advantage of the new larger ad sizes coming to market.

We also announced a partnership with Moat, a brand intelligence and analytics company. Through this partnership we conducted research that compared user interaction across three different versions of Kitchen Daily ads: the IAB Portrait format vs. custom rich media vs. standard animated Flash (all 300x1050 in size).

The results show that the IAB Portrait performed 12% better than the custom format and 72% better than the animated Flash version.

Twelve percent might not sound like much, but there's been a perception in the marketplace that the only way to build a highly engaging ad unit is through custom rich media executions. By teaming with Moat in this research, we are validating that Premium Formats perform as well, if not better, than custom executions and standard Flash, while providing the benefits of repeatability and scalability through a productized approach.

This initiative isn't just about scaling Premium Formats across the Web, it emphasizes AOL's continued commitment to consumers to make online advertising more beautiful and engaging.

For more information on Pictela Enterprise click here.

*Moat/KitchenDaily study, February 2012

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

Sep 21st 2011

AOL Launches Ecommerce App within Premium Format Ad Units

Picture this: you're sitting at your computer and see a display ad to your right for an outfit that you must have. You click on it, get caught up in the shopping experience and totally forget what you were reading in the first place. Do you try to jog your memory by clicking the back button? Or would you prefer to experience something a little more seamless...

Today, Pictela launched a new product enhancement we've made to AOL's Premium Formats - the "window shopper", an ecommerce experience within the ad unit.

It has been AOL's mission to clean up the Web from the beginning of Project Devil. To start, you may recall that one of the most unique features of our ad units is that users don't need to leave the page when they want to engage with an ad – all of the content is viewable within the unit. The new "window shopper" feature allows a retailer's ecommerce experience to take center stage, on the same page, over the content a user is currently engaging with. (The user can choose to open this page in a new window at any time.)

Results from our recent IPG Media Labs research study showed that purchase intent grew 263% after viewing an IAB Portrait ad. This shows that consumers are focused on the final step of the purchase funnel, so we're making it as easy as possible to go from awareness to purchase without affecting their online experience.

Most importantly, this application still drives brand awareness. Marketers are the experts when it comes to the look and feel of their pages, and no publisher can recreate that on their own. We are bringing advertisers the ability to take their technology and time spent creating a beautiful web experience as they've imagined them, into functional display units across our properties.
Important to note, AOL does not track what happens inside the window; the data from the user's ecommerce experience is not shared with AOL.

This new feature is also available for auto manufacturers who wish to showcase their car builder experiences in the Premium Format executions, and is called the "car customizer".
Stay tuned for even more updates from the Premium Formats team.

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