"We are eliminating all of that inefficiency," said Bob Lord,
CEO of AOL Platforms, formerly AOL Networks, which was renamed
today as well. "And then on the backside of it, we're collecting
the data so the data can be used for retargeting and
In One, AOL will centralize not only the tech it built, but its
acquired technology too, including the programmatic video exchange
Adap.tv. The new platform, Mr. Lord said,
will have a single user interface, and the individual names of
AOL's software products will eventually be retired, as they will
all be encompassed under the One umbrella.
"What we're saying with One is we're basically bringing this
whole ecosystem together for you," Mr. Lord said.
Centralizing data is a major component to the initiative. AOL
believes it will not only minimize data loss, but help buyers
optimize cross-media ad spend. "I'm sitting in the CMO's shoes, I
want to know 'Did my money actually have an impact?'" said Mr.
Lord. "The only way you're going to do that is when you actually
pull in all the pieces together and look at them holistically, and
that's the ambition of One."
The data centralization capabilities, Mr. Lord said, should be
built by late spring or early summer. And a common user interface
is planned for the end of the year.
Mr. Lord said he also hopes to bring down the advertising "tech
tax" to as little as 25 cents on every dollar spent through One.
Today, AOL believes the ad-tech ecosystem siphons out anywhere from
55 cents to over 75 cents on the dollar. "If you ever get into a
brand advertiser, you will find out that they have three DMPs, that
they have four retargeting systems," Mr. Lord said. The
consolidation, he said, should eliminate the need to pay so many
companies for similar actions.
EMarketer analyst Lauren Fisher said the move
should help AOL's business. "What we're seeing with programmatic is
this desire to have something that is a little more integrated,"
she said. "It's reflective of the broader industry trend."
And an analyst report from Jeffries released today expressed
similar optimism. AOL, it said, has "a first mover advantage in
being a one-stop shop for advertisers, vs. nascent players that
cater to disparate parts of the value chain."
"We believe that AOL Networks' suite of programmatic assets,
which is complementary to the owned and operated properties, is a
competitive advantage for the company when it comes to attracting
advertisers as well as publishers," the report added.
IPG Mediabrands investment arm Magna Global, which has stated an
interest in automating 50% of its spending, has signed on to use
the platform. But, Mr. Lord said, it is still in evaluation stages
and hasn't finalized exactly which pieces of the AOL stack to use.
AOL will allow its customers to use other companies' ad-tech in
conjunction with One, meaning the integrated software won't be sold
in a "take it or leave it" fashion.
Mr. Lord wouldn't comment on Magna's spending commitment through
One, but said: "They're a $37 billion dollar buyer and 50% of their
spend is going to go through programmatic. Even if AOL is a small
percentage of that buy overall, it's a pretty big number."