The technology emerged through AOL's Advertising.com and ADTECH divisions to allow advertisers to buy display inventory from its properties, as well as gain access to data that supports purchases.
The Ad Desk platform rolled out Monday, one day prior to the ad:tech conference in San Francisco. The tool offers a self-service option, as well as guidance through ad sales.
Today, Ad Desk supports display media, but Jamie Fellows, vice president of product management at AOL Advertising, says the product road map for Advertising.com Ad Desk also includes a foundation for video and mobile ads. "The formats are different, but the interactions are similar," he says.
Advertising.com serves up between 40 billion and 60 billion ads monthly, estimates Don Kennedy, senior vice president of network sales at AOL Advertising. "Reach has become an overused metric for success, so it's really about the depth and the breadth of the data that will give advertisers more perspective," he says.
Kennedy says advertising has become a classic supply-and-demand-type business that requires data and analytics to make the correct ad- buying decisions. The company has begun to focus on tactical issues in multiple inventory sources to maximize ad buying and placement for advertisers and publishers.
The focus on medium-sized advertisers and agencies puts the minimum campaign cost for companies that use Advertising.com Ad Desk at about $300 for three days, or about $3,000 per month.
The company's research and development team based in Mountain View, Calif. works closely with product and marketing at Advertising.com. The focus has been around yield management and data insights. The team of more than 30 Ph.D.'s came to AOL as part of the Advertising.com network.
Since the spinout from Time Warner, AOL's efforts refocus on display and analytics to support advertisers by emphasizing premium ad sales, as well as less expensive remnant inventory.
On Monday, AOL also launched ADTECH Analytics, a module built on top of AOL's ad-serving platform to provide advertisers with the ability to extract data from the campaign.
Ad Desk will integrate and use functions of the ADTECH platform in June, but for now the system only works with AOL's ad-serving platform to make it easier for advertisers to book campaigns across AOL.
The product offers publishers, advertisers, agencies and ad networks insight into the performance of ad campaigns, beyond those typically found in standard ad measurement tools. "Companies had to build their own platforms to get the data out before analyzing a campaign," says Dirk Freytag, chief executive officer at ADTECH, an AOL company. "It was complicated."
Advertisers wanted an analytics product above and beyond what a normal reporting system in an ad-serving platform provides. About 85% of the functions and features ADTECH develops come from client requests, says Lou Severine, vice president of sales at ADTECH.
During a six-month test phase, ADTECH collaborated with six customers globally. International ad network Hi-media was one of the first ADTECH customers to have the chance to extensively test the new product. The platform allows companies to analyze campaigns by revenue, advertisers and salesperson.
It provides enough data to determine a return on investment, by allowing advertisers to drill down by CPM or compare specific weeks in several quarters, for example.
In the United States, a handful of advertisers such as Intermarkets, Tremor Media and AOL have been testing the ADTECH platform prior to today's rollout.