Fast Company's One-on-One with Tim Armstrong

Tuesday
Sep 24 2013

Fast Company's One-on-One with Tim Armstrong

Monday, September 23 was a full day for AOL as its senior leaders Tim Armstrong, Susan Lyne, David Shing, Maureen Sullivan, Roy Sekoff, and Dave Jacobs turned out a strong AOL presence across panels at Advertising Week.

Fast Company’s Editor and Managing Director Bob Safian started off the one-on-one conversation with CEO Tim Armstrong to talk about AOL’s business transformation, leading with the question of "What is AOL?"  “AOL is both a tech and media company, and both of those components make AOL unique in the industry today," Armstrong shared. Bob then asked Tim who he saw as AOL’s biggest competitors, and Armstrong candidly responded, "We (AOL) are our own biggest competitor."

AOL is at a pivotal moment and with its debut of advertising’s inaugural Programmatic Upfront yesterday, “this is the first time at scale that machines will be used, not just in terms of targeting, but used in the industry to make buying advertising more simpler and scalable,” Armstrong shared with the audience. Automation is currently the buzzword in the industry, especially for AOL. Last night, five out of the six holding companies shared the stage with AOL at the Programmatic Upfront, including Accuen, Havas, Horizon, and Magna Global, who have committed to participation in programmatic upfront buying. "When agencies are at their best, they are able to best position their clients. Our strategy is to empower agencies with the technology to best position their clients,” Armstrong said.

Simplicity, automation, and technology were all running themes throughout the conversation. Armstrong remarked how simplifying the process of more data, more consumers, and more countries, going global, was key to being successful. Through technology, he said, we can simplify the process by removing commodity work in the industry. This would then free up time for industry employees to stop worrying about trading spreadsheets back and forth, and devote their focus to servicing the larger customer.

The acquisition of Adap.tv further reinforces AOL’s commitment to simplicity, technology, and automation. “Adap.tv believes that advertising should get bought like ecommerce. They understand when it’s coming, why it’s coming, and how much you are paying, and they take a pragmatic approach to video advertising," said Armstrong.

Armstrong concluded with the reinforcment of AOL’s commitment to being on the forefront of technology, innovation, and automation. Now with Adap.tv under its wing, AOL is not only a content provider, with an effective advertising solution platform, but also has the largest video tech stack in the industry.

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