Brands should explore creative opportunities within premium programmatic trading, says AOL’s UK MD Noel Penzer
Premium programmatic trading is taking an increasingly central role for AOL in the UK, but it must not come at the price of limiting creativity, according to AOL’s UK managing director Noel Penzer.
AOL, which owns HuffingtonPost, MyDaily, Parentdish, TechCrunch, and Engadget, along with branded content distribution business Be On, and its ad proposition AOL Networks, has aligned its sales strategy to focus on what it refers to as the “barbell” sell, which offers advertisers both scalable programmatic advertising on one side and deep marketing services, or premium buys on the other side.
Now it is looking to better unite the two sides, having rolled out its first UK demand-side-platform (DSP) AdLearn Open Platform last September as part of plans to ramp up its premium, programmatic proposition in the UK, according to Penzer.
Penzer told The Drum that although the market is shifting in the direction of programmatic trading globally, it is vital that it does not become synonymous with automation alone, but rather that it is used to help boost online creativity. Part of its own plans include using sophisticated data segmenting methods along with rich media ad formats, all of which can run through AdLearn, and AOL is already rolling out premium inventory via the DSP.
“It’s incredibly important to stress it’s not just a case of being focused on programmatic and automated and the efficiencies that can be delivered within it, but that agencies and brands can use that technology in a way where they can continue to have their creativity, and capitalise on the creative opportunities within it,” he said.
AOL’s DSP, called AdLearn Open Platform, rolled out in the UK last autumn and is built from AOL’s advertising.com network business. It gives and agencies and marketers the ability to bid in real time on AOL-owned and operated inventory across its brands including Huffington Post and TechCrunch, and Ad.com publisher inventory.
“With AdLearn we are opening up our own technology to our partners – putting our technology and tools in the hands of the trading desks, both in terms of execution and the way in which the data can be used. It’s an incredibly intelligent set of algorithms that uses first-party sources to target, retarget to optimise campaigns to deliver the best results,” he said.
Penzer reports to Graham Moysey, who was appointed head of international last October, overseeing all of AOL outside of the US. He also oversaw the acquisition of Adap.tv last year.
Earlier this month AOL reported strong profits including 63 per cent growth in third party network revenue driven by programmatic trading and the sale of premium formats.
AOL is among the speakers at The Drum's forthcoming Digital Conference in March.
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