AOL Gets A Programmatic Power Play In Microsoft Deal

The world of biddable media underwent a shift yesterday as AOL and Microsoft signed a deal that gave AOL responsibility for the majority of Microsoft’s display advertising business.

There are many facets to this story, several of which revolve around search. For example, AOL has signed a 10-year agreement to use Bing -- not Google -- as its search and search advertising partner of choice. MediaPost’s Search Marketing Daily has the full story there.

But there are programmatic advertising angles to the story as well. 

Microsoft’s and AOL’s display ad businesses have been going in opposite directions. With AOL (now part of Verizon) taking over most of Microsoft’s display ad business, it’ll be interesting to see if AOL’s formidable ad tech stack can turn it around.

AOL touts in a press release announcing the expanded partnership with Microsoft that its launch of "One" -- the cross-screen programmatic ad platform AOL unveiled earlier this year -- "positioned the company to take on additional demand and inventory pools." That's exactly what they've done here.

The deal gives AOL a power play in the programmatic marketplace. Despite its rising display revenues, the company’s total market share has declined, per eMarkter. That’s because “competitors such as Facebook [are] post[ing] higher growth rates,” commented eMarkter’s David Iankelevich, VP of marketing.

The sizable Microsoft deal gives AOL new toys to play with as it tries to both grow revenues and market share.

Microsoft has also expanded its partnership with AppNexus -- a programmatic tech partner of theirs from the beginning -- naming the large ad tech firm as its exclusive programmatic sales partner in 10 new markets, bringing the total number of marketers served between AppNexus-Microsoft to 39.

In the Nordic region in particular, Microsoft has been leaning heavily on AppNexus’ tech. The two companies say that almost 50% of Microsoft’s Nordic ad business has been shifted to programmatic in the past six months.

The expanded AppNexus-Microsoft partnership is largely focused on overseas advertising. Here in the U.S., AOL will now shoulder much of the weight.

In addition to the search partnership, AOL will become our seller of all display formats, including mobile and video, for the Microsoft portfolio across nine markets,” wrote Microsoft in a blog post announcing the new deals. Among those nine markets are some of the largest in the world, including the U.S., UK, Brazil, Japan, Germany and others. AppNexus still remains a Microsoft partner in all nine of these markets.

Next story loading loading..