Dave Morgan to Guide Global Ad Strategy at AOL

  |  November 9, 2007   |  Comments

Tacoda founder will court Madison Avenue and pursue global partnerships.

AOL has named Dave Morgan, who joined the company through the September acquisition of Tacoda, to a global advisory and communications role. As EVP of global advertising strategy at Time Warner's morphing portal and ad network unit, Morgan's duties include courting Madison Avenue, building partnerships in the U.S. and abroad, and making sure AOL's internal divisions support the company's core display ad business.

"AOL does not have a search business," he told ClickZ today. "The display ad business is our present and future. We need to move from reacting to it to leading it... There's no reason why, as everyone else tries to build the display business, we can't own the display business going forward."

Accomplishing that task will mean striking further partnerships in the U.S. and overseas, including perhaps other acquisitions. The company has been among the most acquisitive Web giants, especially when it comes to ad networks. The company's numerous network acquisitions include mobile ad seller Third Screen Media and, most recently, Quigo.

The road to complete reliance on display advertising continues to be a rocky one, however. During AOL's earnings call this week, executives said weakening demand in the display market had put downward pressure on ad revenues.

"We now expect advertising growth in the fourth quarter to grow at a lower rate than we experienced in the third quarter," CFO Wayne Pace told investors. Compared with AOL's own sites, third-party sales through its Platform A network business are relatively healthy, growing 21 percent year over year.

Ironically, large ad networks such as AOL's own Advertising.com and those run by Google, ValueClick and Specific Media are contributing to the weakness, as they make large amounts of inventory available to advertisers at low cost.

"[Network growth] has softened what was the CPM display business," said Morgan, who insisted the market will grow enormously in the future. He suggested that growth will be driven in part by a resurgence of creative thinking and planning as values.

"You need to have people creating ads. You can't have machines doing it all," he said. "The human aspects of advertising online are things we can do well with."

Morgan won't hold the reins of the horse he rode in on. Tacoda now resides within AOL's Platform A division, which also houses LightningCast, Advertising.com and Third Screen Media. Eventually it will also absorb Quigo. That division is now led by Curt Viebranz, who took over as Tacoda's CEO in 2006 when Morgan gave up operational oversight of the firm. Both Viebranz and Morgan report to AOL President Ron Grant.

Morgan plans to build a small team, but will not have direct responsibility for any large groups or divisions within AOL. Rather he'll have the ear of executive management and focus much of his attention on would-be partners and ad clients.

"Communications is a big part of it... internally as well as externally, especially with Madison avenue, which is going to be critical," he said.

ClickZ Live Chicago Learn Digital Marketing Insights From Leading Brands!
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda, or register and attend one of the best ClickZ events yet!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

Resources

Jobs