Hypertargeting: Ad Networks, Ad Serving and Ad Targeting, a Digital Hollywood Panel

Nov 5 2013

Hypertargeting: Ad Networks, Ad Serving and Ad Targeting, a Digital Hollywood Panel

Digital Hollywood is a trade conference that covers various tracks across the entertainment, telecommunications, advertising and technology industries. I had the pleasure of speaking at this year’s conference on the Hypertargeting: Ad Networks, Ad Serving and Ad Targeting panel moderated by Ben Chen, CEO of Arkami and a board member at Viggle. In addition to yours truly, the panelists included representatives from Microsoft, YellowPages.com, Topix and Pokeware and was attended by roughly 70 people from the client side, agencies, technology vendors and the press. We covered a wide range of topics, not at all limited to those in the title. After a round of introductions, Chen began the discussion by asking the panel to give a brief overview of what hypertargeting meant to each of our organizations.

It was clear from the get-go that AOL and Microsoft have a more macro definition of hypertargeting. I spoke briefly about how we leverage our own data, client data and third-party data to build segments that are targetable across display, video and mobile. I highlighted our use of AOL data and modeling married with premium content and formats to speak to clients' brand needs and also noted that our reach and technology integrations with all the leading platforms and data providers makes AOL and Advertising.com in particular the clear choice as a distribution channel for commoditized data offerings. Microsoft, on the other hand, spoke in broad terms about how they leverage assets like Xbox, email and search to reach customer segments that are typically defined by the advertiser. YP and Topix focused mostly on how they use geo-targeting and content to customize experiences for their users, while Pokeware discussed how their interactive formats allow for commerce-enabled creative executions.

As the panel settled in to active dialogue, three core discussion topics emerged; DMPs and data portability, native advertising effectiveness, and the emergence of cross-platform strategies.

DMPs and Data Portability

Chen asked the panel what some of today's major industry trends are with data portability. Of the five panelists, I would have to say that AOL had the clearest vision of the concept. I explained how our clients across all categories are actively using 3rd party platforms to manage their own data and data partnerships and how there is a new set of "digital" DMPs that has emerged who are making a run for the business that has traditionally been managed by list providers, direct mail firms and CRM platforms. AOL works with both types of data managers but as traditional platforms integrate their offline modeling capabilities, we're starting to see more activity coming from these partners. As Joanna O'Connell recently wrote in AdExchanger, these "traditional data managers" are positioned to leverage historical consumer data to move "past the cookie for cross platform targeting and measurement."

Native Advertising

From an AOL perspective, "native" can best be described as appointment-based programming with interactive components that allow users to upload content and engage on certain themes. In the words of my colleague, Willis Duran, “We give brands the ability to create and reach content in real-time through both paid and earned media; with an organic, interactive and authentic ability to publish at the speed of conversation."

The most interesting story for native came from Pokeware, which takes a more transactional approach. Their platform allows users to "poke" products or content within videos or images, and is sold on a performance basis. One thing was clear, the concept of native means different things to different people and it spans from premium branding through earned media all the way to performance-based solutions leveraging products embedded in images and videos.


We simplify the concept of cross-platform by defining it as the ability to reach the same user across any screen or device. As part of AOL's offering, Advertising.com has developed ad serving capabilities that allows marketers to manage frequency and sequencing to specific users. It's an incredibly powerful proposition that, after years of prescient discussion, has finally come to fruition. But there are other options. Take YP for example, whose "cross-platform" message is defined by simply reaching out to users through both the traditional phone book (think of the original Yellow Pages) and through their website. This allows them to leverage their assets in a way that others cannot.

The 75 minute industry discussion was engaging and spirited but left little room for questions from the audience. If you're interested in hearing more, email us or come see us speak at Digital Hollywood CES in January.

Photo Credit: Tew Boonyawan

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