AOL rolls out 'One' programmatic-advertising tool to rule them all

The new, unified platform incorporates existing AOL brands including Adap.tv and Convertro

Few would deny the life-simplifying appeal of a one-stop shopping experience, and that's just what AOL aims to offer brands in the world of programmatic advertising. The company's new One by AOL platform, unveiled on Tuesday, promises a consolidated and holistic view of brands' marketing expenditures and performance across all screens, including TV.

Incorporating existing AOL brands including Adap.tv and Convertro, the new, unified platform offers brands simplification and a single view of the consumer, AOL said. Media, creative, audience management and attribution are integrated with buying tools for all channels -- display, mobile, video and TV -- with an eye toward giving advertisers more control. In particular, advertisers can shift marketing investments in real time to the most effective tactics, AOL said.

"One allows advertisers and agencies to use data as the foundation of their marketing strategy, looking at consumers through a single, media-agnostic lens, from Web to TV," said Bob Lord, president of AOL, in the company's official announcement. "Connecting audience data to media exposures throughout the purchase path lets brands accurately measure return on their marketing dollars."

Competing vendors include Google and Facebook, both of which also aim to help marketers track consumers across devices.

AOL bills its new platform as being "open," however, meaning that clients can use the full stack or any of its components along with third-party offerings. In that way, brands can customize their own programmatic platforms while maintaining control of their own data, AOL said.

The full One by AOL programmatic platform is now available in North America. Various modules are available in regions around the globe.

"One is very important to AOL for many reasons," said Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst with Constellation Research.

In the past, it's been "very hard to work with AOL to get the customer insights across all the acquired platforms," Wang explained. "So, the solution is mapping these new journeys by continuity of experience across channels, screens, process and other contextually relevant insight."

The real test now will be how much simplification advertisers and agencies actually see in the new service, he added.

The more important issue, however, is providing a unified platform that customers can build on top of to track audience, attribution, conversion rates and other contextual insights, Wang said. "This is more than just multiple screens," he noted. "Why? Customers don't care what channel or screen they operate in, and marketers know this."

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