The strategic deal struck Monday between AOL Platforms and French agency Havas’ programmatic trading desk Affiperf benefits both parties: AOL Platforms gets sell-in with Havas’ clients and Havas can unify media assets for marketers in a central hub – ONE By AOL.
This is AOL’s second major agency deal since March, when it debuted ONE and revealed a charter partnership with IPG Mediabrands.
“Havas via Affiperf has obviously been more and more aggressive with leveraging programmatic at a global scale,” said Toby Gabriner, head of Adap.tv and ONE by AOL. “As they started to think about how they wanted to activate programmatic across multiple channels, the conversation… led to a deepening of our relationship.”
AOL positions its ONE platform as an open ecosystem. Brands and agencies can either implement their own tech or use pieces from AOL’s suite, which includes video through Adap.tv, mobile and display via the AdLearn Open Platform, attribution from Convertro or supply-side hooks to AOL’s Marketplace.
Havas’ data management and analytics platform Artemis will essentially plug in to ONE and take advantage of “intelligence from our targeting algorithms and all of the various inventory sources we plug in to,” according to Gabriner. “Artemis [as a data] investment is paying off for them and you can think of us as the activation layer.”
The company last week made all AOL UK reserve inventory biddable through AOL’s buying platform, illustrating its commitment to a bold proclamation it made last fall to automate all reserved inventory. Programmatic, Gabriner said, is becoming a “primary way” in which buyers and sellers transact with one another, citing 50 new private marketplace instances the company forged in the first half of the year alone.
For Havas, the deal is the latest maneuver in an intensifying agency arms race around programmatic initiatives. Others are also gearing up, though in different ways.
Those new to the trading desk phenomena, like Harmelin Media, cut direct-vendor deals to construct in-house media-buying outfits. Others, such as independent agency Horizon Media, roll out dedicated programmatic divisions after several years’ time of test-and-learn.