AOL Adds Ad Desk To The Mix

AOL on Monday debuted the beta version of a new display ad platform for Advertising.com. Ad Desk, so-called, is designed to provide advertisers and agencies with direct access to premium audiences, along with new technology and data insights.

In addition, the platform allows agencies and advertisers to directly manage campaigns, as well as get a deeper level of access to AOL properties and the Advertising.com network.

"Ad Desk is our client's on-ramp to display advertising as it provides increased self-management and access to proprietary AOL information," said Jeff Levick, EVP, AOL Advertising. "Providing clients with a greater level of personalized control over digital marketing campaigns is paramount."

For the time being, Ad Desk is targeted at medium-sized advertising agencies and advertisers. Over time, the platform is expected to evolve to serve the more sophisticated media planning and analytics needs of larger agencies and advertisers.

"This is a beta version," added Levick. "We are working directly with larger agencies and advertisers now to define the future updates of this tool."

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Ad Desk offers direct access and control to media planning tools and analytics, as well as segmentation of AOL properties and the Advertising.com network based on interest, audience and/or geography.

As an independent company, AOL continues to map out its business strategy for the future. It recently joined an Open Insights initiative developed by rich media provider PointRoll, which aims to help marketers improve their creative campaigns. At launch, the initiative included seventeen partners spanning audience understanding and identification, targeting, dynamic creative versioning, and reporting integrations.

Also last week, AOL said it was considering selling or "shutting down" its struggling Bebo social network this year. The news was included in an annual filing for Bebo in the UK with Companies House.

On a crusade to put AOL back on the right track, CEO Tim Armstrong has spent the past year talking up the company's 100 million monthly unique visitors, and its ability to reach multiple audiences with one ad buy.

Last year, Armstrong outlined a new five-point strategy for the future of AOL, which included the continued expansion of its communication tools, vertical content, local and online mapping services, its third-party ad network, and early-stage investment through a newly formed AOL Ventures arm.

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