AOL Streamlines; Marissa Mayer On Privacy

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AOL Reorgs For A Programmatic Future

AOL is close to a big restructuring that will impact sales teams serving the company’s sprawling media brands and ad platforms. Re/code reports the changes “will mean the collapsing of several sales teams into one, moving specialized ad people (servicing flagship content properties like the Huffington Post and TechCrunch) into a central organization led by Bob Lord.” More. Speaking at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview conference last week, CEO Tim Armstrong confirmed changes are coming. He added, “We will get ahead of the trends, and that’s video content and mobile content, and you’ll see us get ahead in the ad tech stack by looking at the Internet of Things and how that can add to the stack.”

Marissa Mayer On Personalization

Speaking at an “In data we trust” panel late last week, Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer touched on PII and data collection. The company, she confirmed, has tweaked its data storage and sharing protocols in the wake of last year’s NSA spying revelations, but Mayer made a direct case for applying tracking insights on the web. “A personalised internet is a better internet,” Mayer said. “To get here we need to have transparency and afford the individual control [and] make a statement that users own their data, which they can examine, take it with them to other sites and vendors that they trust more in a market that helps people make these trade-offs and decisions.” The problem, she added, is that some “vendors are not being transparent enough and not providing enough controls and choice." Read on at The Drum.

Less RTB For WPP

Speaking to Beet.TV, David Moore, WPP Digital president and Xaxis chairman, said the company is steering its business away from RTB and deeper into direct deals. “Private marketplaces are going to be where we do most of our business in 2015,” Moore said. “It gives us the opportunity to do direct deals with publishers, allow them to sell us ads at a price that is good for both of us.” WPP will limit its use of RTB inventory, citing complications around viewability and ad fraud as two factors driving the decision.

Tumbling Into Creative

Tumblr, the social blogging site owned by Yahoo, wants to leverage the creativity of its users to to sell more ads. Late last week, the company debuted what it’s calling the Creatrs Network, which head of creative strategy David Hayes described as Tumblr’s first “formal structure” for connecting brands and advertisers to its users. Through the network, brands can tap Tumblr for sponsored content, and Tumblr will pay its users to generate GIF, photo or video content for ads. That content can run either on Tumblr, or across any of Yahoo’s online properties. “We think we have the largest creative class on the entire Internet,” said Hayes. “With Creatrs, we can drive traffic from our community both to the artist and the brand at the same time.” Earned media FTW! More via the NYT.

Travel Marketer Merger

After partnering for two years, Expedia will buy Travelocity for $280 million. “The deal underscores how crowded the online-travel industry has become,” writes WSJ reporter Chelsey Dulaney, with traditional travel sites like Expedia, Priceline.com and Orbitz facing competition from emerging players like Kayak, Google, and AirBnB. Travelocity’s ad budgets, and its data too, will be subsumed into Expedia’s marketing machine.

Industry Preview 2015

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