This week, top marketing, advertising and publishing executives from Wal-Mart, ClearChannel, the ANA, Adap.tv (owned by AOL) and others took the stage at this year’s sold-out IAB Leadership Meeting in Palm Springs, Calif. to discuss the digital agenda from now through 2020.
Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, kicked off the event with a strong message around the importance of freedom. He shared a personal story about when his family escaped persecution and how that experience has shaped his passion and purpose around protecting freedom and the diversity of expression. He contends that, “No tech or development has enabled the diversity of expression more than the Internet.”
The crowd cheered when Randall asked digital advertisers to step up and fix industry problems that will only become more complicated as digital grows, specifically addressing issues such as fraudulent traffic, data security, consumer privacy, mobile monetization, measurement standardization, publisher quality, and others. “Otherwise, we risk increasing governmental influence and policies,” he said.
A growing issue that bubbled up at this event: the need for greater transparency regarding publishing inventory. “Publisher transformation” was a topic discussed in many sessions, and a topic near and dear to my heart as head of sales and revenue operations for MARKETPLACE.
As a trusted technology partner for publishers, we must take a stand and address this issue head-on. Our industry needs to have a laser-focus on quality – and this means clean inventory, accountability when it comes to aggregating and buying traffic, and improving how our media buying process works so that checks and balances are built in. Net-net, transparency around inventory is critical to our sustainability and long-term growth.
AOL released its 2013 fourth quarter results today -- and we delivered. In addition to 13% revenue growth and 19% Adjusted OIBDA growth, AOL enjoyed its sixth consecutive quarter of unique visitor growth.
"2013 was AOL's most successful year in the last decade, and we accomplished our goal of industry level growth at scale for AOL," said Tim Armstrong, AOL Chairman and CEO. "AOL's exceptionally talented team continues to execute against our strategy and our results show meaningful progress in the most important areas of media and technology. AOL plans to invest in our market leading strategies in 2014, while we continue to grow the company."
Other highlights include:
Last night, at the third event in our AOL Advertising Masters of Advertising series, AOL Networks CEO Bob Lord presented Convergence: Transforming Business at the Intersection of Marketing and Technology.
Bob, an industry leader, who previously served as the Global CEO of Razorfish, spoke about how the convergence of technology, media, and creativity allows us to imagine, create, and enable customer experiences like never before.
He focused on five principles to embrace in order to successfully deliver new customer experiences within convergence:
1. Put the customer at the center: "Putting customers at the center seems to be the hardest thing for Fortune 500 companies and brand marketers to do," he said.
2. Think of your brand as a service: "From a marketing perspective, you can't only focus on your products, you have to also wrap a service around it."
3. Reject silos: Media, Technology, & Creative can not stand alone. "Most ideas that come out now don't start with a creative director, they may start with the technologists."
4. Act like a startup: "Act like a startup. You have to get stuff done, if you don't, someone else will."
5. Embrace diversity: "The more diverse a team is, the better the outcome is."
With over 150 industry professionals in attendance, Bob showcased brands like Nike, Delta, and Special K who he felt highlighted key principles of convergence. And at the end of the night, a few lucky raffle winners even took home a copy of his book.
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AOL Networks announced today the promotion of Greg Skipper (East), Michael Treon (Central), and Tom Kelly (West) to Vice President, Regional Sales for AOL Networks. The three have a combined 25+ years of experience at AOL, first joining as early members of Advertising.com.
Bob Lord, CEO of AOL Networks, brought this point to life during a fireside chat with Joanna O'Connell, Director of Research for AdExchanger. He and Joanna both spent substantial time at Razorfish, which provided timely fodder for a lively discussion on the state of agencies. Bob asserted that in some sense, "CMOs want to take back what they've given to agencies in the media-buying process because they want to understand it better. The two benefits that media agencies can bring, though, are buying clout and additional data. And when agencies partner with a technology company, they can bring that data to life for brand marketer clients." This perspective corroborates with AOL Networks' recent push to serve as an "open" programmatic platform partner to agency trading desks and other third parties that can capitalize on AOL's comprehensive marketing technology solutions in combination with their own.
When asked what has most impressed him since joining AOL, Lord listed the top priorities for AOL Networks: Programmatic 2.0, premium video advertising, enhanced premium formats that go beyond the ad unit to the ad experience, and cross-screen advertising powered by "sight, sound, and motion."
The AOL Networks head cited several impressive stats to illustrate the immense progress following his arrival, the acquisition of Adap.tv, and the industry's first-ever Programmatic Upfront held last September, when it was announced Premium Reserved inventory would become available starting in 2014. Lord said more than 45% of brand advertisers are running campaigns cross-screen using AOL Networks' device-linking technology, and that some have seen three-fold increases in conversation and nearly 30% improvement in advertiser CPA. He also emphasized that programmatic can improve performance advertising, as well as address the single area of advertising that has yet to be disrupted: creativity. The former agency head continued to say that programmatic is on the cusp of solving for measurement, an obstacle that has long been the CMO's burden.
The conversation closed with a look back on CES and what Lord viewed as the most exciting prospect coming out of the global event: "Convergence is showing up on the factory floor. In the next 12 months, marketers will have more places to show their messages than ever before." While the world of wearable—and drivable—tech has yet to truly become a ubiquitous part of the advertising arsenal, Lord sees the trend as a big opportunity for marketers to shift their focus from traditional marketing to consumer experiences.
Yesterday, hundreds of executives from more than 65 major media publishers around the world convened in New York City for AOL Networks' inaugural Adap.tv Worldwide Publisher Conference. The event’s focus was on programmatic advertising and how publishers are adopting technology and data to protect and drive video revenue across screens.
Setting the tone for the day’s discussions were AOL CEO Tim Armstrong – who called video the “plastics” of the next 10 years – and Adap.tv CEO Amir Ashkenazi. Both covered the “Age of Choice,” or today’s reality that audiences are choosing to view content on many different screens, and equating it to the disruption that mainstream TV had on media when it was first introduced. The answer: automation across screens, and the activation of data to be able to effectively reach fragmented audiences.
And that was echoed many times throughout the day, with executives from The Weather Channel, BBC, The Guardian, USA TODAY, and others agreeing that publishers who have yet to adopt a strategy around programmatic should be concerned. IPG’s MAGNA GLOBAL is estimating that 50 percent of its clients' buys will be through automation by 2016, so publishers not embracing programmatic are essentially setting themselves up to not compete for half of media dollars in a few years.
The Weather Channel offered an interesting case study to attendees: the company had no programmatic strategy 18 months ago, and today is one of the biggest success stories in programmatic and video. The company’s CRO, Curt Hecht discussed with AOL Networks CEO Bob Lord the initial hurdles of applying automated tools into their selling process, and how putting the right people in the right place – such as their VP of Programmatic Jeremy Hlavacek – has allowed them to increase overall CPMs by balancing their direct and programmatic sales.
Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief at The Huffington Post Media Group, took the stage for the event’s featured keynote, which focused on how publishers can future-proof their business. “The bad news is…you can’t future-proof your business,” the media magnate said. The upside is that you can future-proof yourself, and that rediscovering the human side to themselves – rather than being in a “constant state of breathlessness” and burrowing ourselves into our digital devices – publishers will be able to connect with their audiences in a much deeper, meaningful level. She pointed to social media a huge part of rediscovering that connection, as well as allowing information and content to be ubiquitous and freely available.
Overall, the six-hour event highlighted the tremendous opportunities that publishers have in changing their perspective from legacy media models, of using technology and data to better connect with their audiences and to scale their business for a global video world. Interviews and session videos from WWPC will be posted as available on Adap.tv’s Video Wire blog.
Programmatic trading to increase advertising revenues for global publisher
LONDON – January 13, 2014 - Adap.tv, a division of AOL Networks, has signed an agreement to provide a video ad private marketplace for Guardian News & Media (GNM). This will allow the publisher to further monetise video content across global markets and increase its advertising revenue from this source.
Through its private marketplace, GNM will sell video inventory programmatically to selected trading desks and agencies.
With its ad-funded focus, GNM has undertaken programmatic trading for display advertising over the past four years. Adopting the channel for its premium video inventory will help it to realise higher advertising yields as it continues to expand its reach across international markets.
Tim Gentry, revenue director at GNM, explained: “Our clear commercial vision means that we are committed to our advertising model and making sure it works for all parties. As a result, advertisers find it highly compelling. We have always been fairly ‘brave’ around programmatic trading, adopting it from the early days in the belief that it offers advantages of ease and efficiency for buyers and sellers. Introducing a private marketplace for video with Adap.tv was the next logical step.”
“The Guardian is a ‘programmatic pioneer’, having embraced this way of trading for display advertising since its early days,” said Brian Fitzpatrick, managing director of Adap.tv Europe. “As the brand continues to expand its global footprint, making video inventory available programmatically via a private marketplace will provide access to new revenues while maintaining full control of buyers and pricing.”
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About Adap.tv Adap.tv in the UK is provided by AOL (UK) Limited, and is part of AOL Networks. Adap.tv is transforming the way video advertising is bought and sold. Adap.tv's video intelligence platform, Pathway, helps many of the world's largest brands, agencies, publishers and ad networks intelligently, effectively and safely plan, buy and measure billions of video ad trades programmatically every month across web, linear TV and mobile video.
Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Adap.tv has US offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, and international offices in Australia, India, Japan, Singapore and the UK.
Tel: +44 (0) 7788 584413
Whether you were sitting in a Chevy, trying on a stylish “wearable tech” pendant, or browsing everyday household appliances, if it was on display here at this year's CES, it was connected. For the marketers and agency executives I spent most of my time with, that means finding better ways of connecting with the consumer -- and an opportunity for more creative ways of doing it. What follows are some of the most promising ones I observed.
Wearable tech. On pace to be more than an $8 billion consumer electronics market by 2018, I put these new gizmos at the top of the list of opportunities for consumer marketers. No surprise, given that the category is exploding into everything from entertainment to health to communication -- even pet care. Yes, pet care.
I thought I had seen everything until I came across a wearable device for my dog that tracks his activity -- or inactivity -- while I am at the office. Sounds crazy, right? Not so fast, when you consider that Americans spend more than $53 billion on their pets. Connectivity like that gives brands a chance to become an integral part of consumers' everyday lives. It has massive potential.
Tapping into our daily routines becomes even more expansive via the increasing number of connected appliances. And while we've been able to turn on our air conditioning or alarm from afar before this year, what I found most interesting was the growing number of solutions to do more than just connect a home appliance to the Internet. Sure -- you can now buy a connected Crock Pot, but what you could really start to get a sense of on the CES floor was the way it could be applied and the utility it would provide.
Increasingly, that is coming not from individually connected gadgets, but from connecting all your devices with one another, regardless of function or manufacturer. Open systems have become a requirement for both consumer and marketer adoption and I believe what we are seeing is just the beginning.
But if you had to ask me what the real stunner at this year's show was, it was connected cars.
I have been hearing about them from within the marketing community, but seeing them on display and actually getting behind the wheel is the only way to experience their potential for changing automotive behavior -- enabling consumers to remotely control their cars (temperature, navigation systems, etc.), or enabling their cars to remotely control them (self-driving and parking).
If I had to pick one category of connected technology innovation winners, the auto industry would be it -- more than 100 years after its first industrial revolution.
I can't imagine what new technologies future CES shows will unveil, but whatever comes down the pike, the best strategy will be to remain device- or screen-agnostic. We are already seeing many of our agency and marketer clients mandate multi-screen use in their advertising, but this requirement will become even more embedded this year. Consumers are becoming accustomed to always-on access -- and new devices on their person, in their kitchens and cars will only deepen their online habits and marketers' need to be right alongside.
What remains constant in the midst all the innovation and change is that marketers will always find a way to be where their consumers are. The creative opportunity presented as brands to integrate into connected devices is a daunting yet exciting challenge -- and one that most of us have never imagined would be a reality. But it's happening and it's happening now. So, marketers -- get your creative juices flowing in this highly connected new world, as the opportunities appear to be endless.
This article also ran in Mediapost on 1/12/14.
The move towards programmatic is gaining momentum around the globe. AOL Networks, committed to leading this transformation by simplifying premium, digital advertising at scale, co-hosted a roundtable with the UK trade magazine Campaign to build on the success of the recent Programmatic Upfront in New York.
The conversation centered around the definition, implications and opportunities programmatic platforms offer the digital marketplace, and to what extent programmatic can unleash creativity and innovation. Nine of AOL's senior clients joined Bob Lord and Noel Penzer for an engaging 90-minute conversation around the programmatic landscape.
A two page feature on the roundtable appears in this week's Campaign with additional bonus content on the site including video interviews from the participants. Topics ranged from brand as utility and the consumer value-exchange, to measurement and scale.
It is very clear that there are serious shared desires for a simpler and more efficient digital ecosystem with some demanding it starts tomorrow, to visions of Chief Creative Officers joining a programmatic roundtable one year from today. Programmatic is high priority not just for AOL but the wider industry in 2014.
Read the article here.
Bob Lord CEO, AOL Networks
Noel Penzer MD, AOL UK
Brian Fitzpatrick MD EMEA Adap.tv
Ed Ling UK Media Director, Chief Media Officer Digitas Lbi
Frederic Joseph CEO Performics - EMEA
Guy Phillipson CEO IAB UK
Jim Brigden UK Chief Client & Commercial Officer- iProspect
Norm Johnston Chief Digital Officer Mindshareworld
Krishan Patel Director of Digital Media/Interaction Group M
Sue Unerman Chief Strategy Officer Mediacom
Anna Yorke Head of Newcast WorldWide
Ian Edwards Head of Strategy Vizeum
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