AOL is gradually rolling out its giant multimedia Project Devil ad units across its own properties, but the firm has even bigger hopes for the ad experiment. Ultimately, the company aims to deliver the units on non-AOL sites, too. The next step leading in that direction, however, will be the placement of the units on an additional eight sites next month.
AOL introduced the Devil ads – which enable features like video, mapping, and social media functionality – on just two of its properties, Moviefone.com and StyleList.com, in September. The publisher will add another eight of its sites to the short list in November, according to Dirk Freytag, SVP at AOL and CEO of its ad management platform company, AdTech. AdTech powers ad serving and management on AOL properties and runs ad delivery and management for hundreds of publisher sites in the U.S. and Europe, the bulk of which are based in Europe.
Devil ads for Wal-Mart appeared on Stylelist yesterday, according to an AOL spokesperson. When the product launched, AOL said seven brands would run the units: Cheerios, Lexus, Macy’s, Olay, Pillsbury Crescents, Sprint, and Suave Professionals.
AOL is not hurrying the roll out. Since the ads are the sole placement on pages where they appear, the addition of the new units has resulted in fewer impressions, said Freytag. Yet, he said although the inventory volume has decreased, ad revenue has remained the same. The company expects its ad revenue to grow as the Devil promos are disseminated across its sites, he told ClickZ News.
“We’re learning,” said Freytag, explaining that the extension of the ads will be gradual.
“We need advertisers to understand and accept this is something different,” he said, while stating that AOL intends for the initiative to “help the industry.”
In its stated goal to help publishers bring in higher ad prices, AOL is taking a similar tack to the Online Publishers Association. The OPA last year introduced new jumbo ad sizes in an effort to generate more premium ad dollars for its publisher members.
If AOL does go through with its plan to extend the Project Devil ads to non-AOL sites, it is unclear whether the firm would use its broad-reaching Advertising.com network to do it. But it seems like the logical approach.
GroupM predicts that global ad spend will top $547 billion next year, up from $524 billion this year. While television will still capture the biggest share of that 12-figure pie (41%), digital's share will grow from 31% to 33%.
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