Two things you often hear in the ad tech industry are “we need to work together” and “we need to have standard measurements.”
While several companies follow these credos, they often seem like fantasies written by starry-eyed panelists. They say one thing, then do another.
There are still leaders in the space that walk the walk, however -- and two of these existed well before today’s fancy ad tech.
Google, founded in 1998, has asserted itself as a leader in just about every walk of life. It’s in your pocket, on your TV, on your computer, and it might even be on your face. It is now embracing programmatic media-buying.
AOL, founded in 1983, may not carry the weight it once did, but the company is far form irrelevant. Instead, AOL just completed its best year in a decade, thanks to its successful bet on programmatic.
Google and AOL are certainly not the only companies that are doing well in the space and assuming leadership roles, but both have caught my attention in recent weeks. Both are playing by the “rules” -- i.e., the above credos -- which actually sets them apart.
For example, Google waited until the Media Rating Council (MRC) announced plans to lift its advisory on viewability before showing its hand. And now the company is partnering with a leading measurement provider in comScore for cross-channel campaigns.
For its part, AOL has not shied away from partnerships -- notably with Yahoo and Microsoft -- as it tries to establish itself as a leader in selling premium inventory via automation.
Sure -- AOL hasn’t been overly conservative. The company hosted the first ever “Programmatic Upfront” event in 2013, which received mixed reviews. But you can’t be purely reactive in a space that’s all about acting in real-time.
Look no further than Yahoo’s former COO Henrique de Castro if you don’t agree. It’s been suggested that one reason de Castro was fired was because he was slow to respond to programmatic buying.
Again, Google and AOL are not the only companies in leadership roles in ad tech. But the fact these two “old” dogs are doing more than simply participating in the market represents the promise it holds.