With Formal Launch Of ONE, AOL Positions As The Anti-Walled Garden

AOLoneConsider it AOL ONE’s coming-out party.

A year after AOL first outlined a vision to unify its programmatic technologies for both advertisers and publishers under a single platform, Tuesday marks the day the product officially ships.

AOL has also renamed each of its technologies to more accurately reflect their capabilities.

For instance, Adap.tv is now ONE by AOL: Video. AdLearn Open Platform (AOP) is ONE by AOL: Display. PrecisionDemand is ONE by AOL: TV. And AOL’s data management platform and multitouch attribution tool, Convertro, rounds out the stack as ONE by AOL: Audience and Attribution.

Several of its publisher-side tools will undergo rebrands on a rolling basis, such as Pictela, which will transition to ONE Creative this summer.

AOL has been unwavering in its support of an open platform strategy and insists it will continue to make Convertro available as a stand-alone solution for clients who may need attribution but who might not want to use every piece of the AOL stack, according to Seth Demsey, CTO for AOL Platforms.

“We have walled gardens that have emerged over the past 18 months that didn’t used to be walled gardens, at least in the case of Google," he told AdExchanger. “In my conversations with CMOs and heads of agencies, they say they want to own their own data and use it with any partner on any channel at any time, and if we can only measure this or use your cross-device stuff within your own walls, it’s not going to work.”

Demsey predicted that these perceived walled gardens will operate as “shadow execution organizations,” where marketers import data and optimize their audience in each of those respective environments, while he says platforms like ONE want to be “the authoritative, ground-truth source of data across all your digital and nondigital media.”

Demsey insisted that AOL ONE will support any API marketers that wish to plug into its platform, whether that’s a homegrown DMP, Oracle’s BlueKai or even a marketer’s first-party CRM record.

“You’re always going to need to activate audiences on Facebook and Google,” he added. “We just partnered with Kenshoo because they’re an awesome Facebook buyer, but guess what. They can match our cookie segments to Facebook, so we have full export of our audiences for Facebook buying without using FBX. That’s a winning proposition for everyone, including Facebook, if we have open platforms and partnerships like these.”

With competing marketing clouds, from Oracle to Adobe, seeking to capitalize on marketing and ad tech convergence, AOL says its differentiator is its ability to do complex multitouch attribution and recommendations on spend across a marketer’s whole media mix, including TV, email, search, affiliate, social, video and display.

Demsey said that prior to the formal rollout of ONE, AOL knew it wanted to provide audience data and channel execution in the same offering. For instance, while Adap.tv is the backbone of its programmatic video-buying arm, AOL ONE can access PrecisionDemand’s set-top box data and perform digital-to-TV audience matches instead of just relying on Nielsen demo ratings.

Although AOL did not disclose the number of customers using its ONE platform, several agencies and brands were early in, including Havas Media, IPG Mediabrands, Intuit and Verizon.

Programmatic advertising grew to 39% of AOL’s nonsearch revenue in the fourth quarter. AOL’s Platforms division passed the $1 billion revenue mark in Q4, growing 20% year over year.

 

 

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