Also, AOL partners with Hearst to sell Portrait display ads on magazine sites.
AOL's global display ad revenues grew last quarter for the first time in more than three years, an important turn for the company and a validation of CEO Tim Armstrong's bigger-is-better strategy exemplified by the super-sized Project Devil ads.
However other ad revenue categories declined, including search and contextual, ads on AOL properties, and third-party network ads. Overall advertising revenue actually fell 11 percent, or $40.6 million, during the quarter. AOL showed a net loss of $11.2 million.
Separately, AOL has partnered with Hearst Corp. to deploy its so-called Portrait display ad format on the publisher's magazine websites. The format was launched in September 2010 and previously available only on AOL sites like StyleList, Moviefone, and AOL Travel.
Procter & Gamble is the first advertiser attached, appearing in ad space on goodhousekeeping.com, marieclaire.com, redbookmag.com, and thedailygreen.com. Ads show a gallery of products: Tide Coldwater, Duracell Rechargeables, Pampers Cruisers, and a video, "Little Acts. Meaningful Impact."
As for earnings, AOL's 4 percent rise in display ad revenue was driven by domestic ad spending of $122 million, up from $109.8 million one year ago. International display ad revenue was down 46 percent.
AOL attributed a $25.9 million decline in ad network revenue to European shutdowns and de-emphasis of search campaign management and lead gen products. Likewise it tied the decline in international display ads to cutbacks in Germany and France and the 2010 sale of Bebo and ICQ.
Going forward, AOL is under pressure to prove the business value of its many investments in content, including its acquisition of Huffington Post in Q1 and continued spending on its Patch local media network. Patch has told its local journalists to recruit unpaid bloggers in their communities, a clear directive from new Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington. Whether the strategy will help AOL shore up page views to create a scalable network for ad sales remains to be seen.
On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!
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.
Hong Kong, May 5-6, 2015
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.
May 6, 2015
12:00pm ET/9:00am PT