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Verizon Acquired AOL: What it Says About the Future of Advertising

Verizon’s recent announcement that the company is purchasing AOL says quite a bit about the evolution of the media and advertising industries. Learn why Verizon is willing to pay a premium for AOL’s digital advertising technology (ad-tech) platforms; and more importantly, learn why your brand should be paying attention to industry changes like this one. Here’s what the Verizon/AOL deal says about the future of advertising.

Advertising will be increasingly driven by data. By acquiring AOL, Verizon will not only receive technical tools and talent — the company will also receive a significant amount of consumer interest and behavior data. Combined, the two companies have a deep, sophisticated sketch of their audience. Because Verizon is connected to users across multiple devices, it already has valuable information on consumers’ geographic location and device usage. AOL, on the other hand, has a sophisticated advertising platform (AOL One) that is driven by audience insights to deliver digital ads tailored to users’ interests and history. So basically, Verizon is getting extremely close to knowing where their users are, when they’re connected, and what they’re looking for. All that information will increase the company’s ability to deliver extremely relevant ads.

Takeaway: Are you utilizing data to drive your advertising campaigns? Start investing in research and analytic tools or services to make sure you know your audience well. Our research and analytics team can help.

Everything is going mobile. In the deal announcement, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said that the purchase of his company would allow Verizon to create “the next generation of media through mobile and video.” This aligns with a trend we’re already seeing: an increasing emphasis on mobile content from brands and advertisers. As indicated by Google’s latest mobile-focused algorithm change and the increasing amount of advertising dollars dedicated to mobile (expected to account for 72% of all digital ad spending by 2019), it’s clear that mobile content is a priority for brands and advertisers.

Takeaway: At minimum, ensure that your brand’s website is mobile friendly. Consider creating an app and/or investing in more mobile advertisements to increase your mobile presence even more. Check out the mobile app we designed for Gulf Coast Seafood or the mobile-friendly website we made for Fireball Whisky for inspiration.

Automated ad systems will make advertising cheaper and faster. AOL’s One platform is a programmatic system that automates much of the sale, purchase, and placement of digital advertisements. That means that digital advertising is becoming increasingly affordable and effective for brands.

Takeaway: Given the growth of the digital advertising market, it might be time to reassess your brand strategy. Engage your existing audience with a solid website and strong social media presence; attract new followers with keyword- and audience-specific ads on digital platforms like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pandora, and YouTube. Our social media team recently boosted Tijuana Sweet Heat’s Facebook followers from 0 to 29,000 and our AdWords-certified media team knows how to create and monitor successful Google search campaigns.

Multi-screen targeting won’t be impossible, after all.The combination of AOL’s ad-tech platform and Verizon’s large amount of geographic and user data means that the industry is one step closer to overcoming obstacles related to targeting consumers across multiple devices. Verizon will be able to better track users as they switch between their desktop, tablet, smartphone, and TV — and will be able to display targeted ads based on that information.

Takeaway: Technological advances are bringing advertisers closer and closer to their audiences; which means that it’s increasingly important to have digital expertise on your side to stay ahead of competitors. Whether you’re looking to create a simple and shareable infographic or launch an aggressive e-mail campaign, we can help.

Content will continue to be king. We won’t be the only ones to tell you that at the end of the day, content is (still) king. Although the announced agreement between AOL and Verizon is complex and exciting in a number of ways, it boils down to the fact that consumers are increasingly seeking out unique and high-quality digital content over other forms of traditional media. Smart marketers know that if they want to reach their audience, they need to create quality digital content themselves and advertise on content platforms.

Takeaway: Create an in-depth content marketing plan to expand and engage with your audience. Attract new followers with targeted social media posts and search engine-friendly web content; inspire your existing audience with share-worthy images, videos, and blog posts. Lastly, dedicate a portion of your content marketing budget to paid digital promotion and e-mail marketing. As shown by our success with Visit South Walton on their content marketing strategies, a solid campaign includes a mix of paid, earned, and owned content. Need some help? We’ve got a content marketing team ready to help you get on track. Get in touch to find out more.

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