AOL rolls the dice in Vegas with a ‘less-is-more’ ad offering and a helping-hand from parent Verizon Wireless

AOL unveiled its latest advertising offering today (January 5) at CES, the day when digital media brands are expected to take center stage at the consumer electronics industry’s flagship gathering.

Dubbed BrandBuilder, notable aspects of AOL’s latest suite of tools includes a tie-up with its owner Verizon Wireless where the carrier’s customers can agree to engage with ads in return for a more generous mobile data allowance, plus video ads that undercut industry-norms in terms of length; an offering that has won over brands such as eBay in its beta phase.

AOL BrandBuilder offers advertisers ad experiences across display, video, and mobile that consists of different sub-sets: Director (a brand-driven advertising offering); Buyer (which focuses on connecting ad placements with conversions and sales); as well as Beta, which offers more experimental ad experiences.

To further incentivize both advertisers and consumers to buy-in to the offering, after an earlier beta phase, AOL’s Beta offering includes DataPerks, where Verizon customers receive extra data allowance for engaging with ads, which will be rolled out fully during Q1 2017.

In addition to this, AOL’s Beta offering also includes a pre-roll video offering called Player Up where it will offer brands the opportunity to serve audiences with custom ads of three-to-seven seconds in length (as an alternative to the more commonplace 15-to-30 seconds offering), a proposition it hopes will allay the rising tide of consumer-fatigue over online ads.

Spencer Sloe, vice president, advertising product & strategy, AOL Content & Brands, added: “With the rise of ad blocking came the need for brands and advertisers to innovate and deliver campaigns that created connections with consumers while still meeting goals and viewable impressions.”

As part of the rollout program, brands and advertisers can partner with AOL to devise and test new formats, with eBay among the first to test the Player Up offering.

Olivier Ropars, eBay, senior director of global internet marketing, said: “As brands, we’re only as successful as our customers are happy, and programs like these are what help us continue building a brand people love.”

Later today during the C Space Storyteller strand of CES – the dedicated advertising and marketing strand of CES – AOL-parent Verizon Digital Media Services will participate in a keynote session where it will discuss using OTT strategies and technologies for content creation and ultimately monetization opportunities.

See video at top of page for an earlier interview The Drum conducted with AOL CEO Tim Armstrong on how it intends to use its tie-up with Verizon Wireless, as well as its potential stable-mate Yahoo to help offer advertisers more choice on the market when it comes to online advertising opportunities.

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