By Evan DeSimone
As the VP of ad product at web giant AOL, David Miller has his eye on the future of advertising and digital video. For this week’s edition of 5Qs, we talked to Miller during New York Advertising week to get his perspective on a range of topics from the ad blocking crisis to the growing role of live content in the digital entertainment space. Miller also shares his insights on AOL parent company Verizon’s new streaming endeavor Go90 and gets to the heart of why programmatic is the future.
With Advertising Week now over, what were some of the prevailing trends that AOL is paying close attention to in the video marketing space?
Mobile video and live programming are going to be the trends to watch. We recently launched LIVE by AOL, which gives our content and media partners the ability to produce and stream live video to all screens. The companies that can master this will have an edge in an ever-evolving industry. At the same time, mobile video consumption is growing at an exceptional pace and will only continue to gain traction. People turn to their phones more and more throughout the day, and the personal connection that is unique to the mobile experience will continue to be a huge driver of its success.
With that in mind, we are also very focused on the advertising experience on mobile. We think that users have been underserved by the existing type of advertising that is supporting growth on mobile devices, which is probably one of the reasons why things like ad blocking is getting so much attention lately. We think that the industry can do better in that regard, and are exploring better, more engaging types of ad formats that drive relevancy and utility for users.
As a Verizon company, can you tell us anything about AOL’s content plans for the go90 streaming platform?
We are very excited to be working with the team on, over time, bringing all of video AOL produces, both live and on demand, to go90. It is a platform that is really bringing live events, prime-time TV, best-of-the-web and original series together within a social- and mobile-enabled environment.
Ad blocking has been a hot topic recently; does AOL have a strategy to combat the use of adblocking software and apps?
The fact that ad blocking has become such a salient conversation in the industry and in the media means that we need to take a hard look at why consumers are using ad blockers — not just look for ways around ad blocking.
In the last five years or so, we’ve seen digital display and video ads skyrocket in use and consumers are now clearly saying that they want a better experience. We must now move the evolutionary needle forward by rethinking how we approach ad formats and using the power of programmatic to optimize and iterate creative to make them more relevant and beneficial to consumers and their digital experience.
AOL has invested in the technology and partnerships necessary to be part of that change. We also have to ensure that users are still getting the absolute most value out of their media experiences, which is what go90 is really aiming to do.
You recently tweeted a quote from Bob Lord about the fact that creative is underserved by ad tech. How is AOL addressing this problem with product?
We recently rolled out ONE by AOL: Creative, which, at its core, is intended to help advertisers bring an engaging and enjoyable brand experience to consumers. Our programmatic stack has given us the power and the data to find out where a person is and see them throughout their journey. ONE by AOL: Creative takes this to the next level by providing a platform where brands can try out new iterations of ad creative to see what truly resonates with their audiences, and discover new and untapped narratives to inform existing and future digital advertising campaigns.
The programmatic ad space has received significant attention lately. What’s the next big trend in digital advertising?
The next big trend in digital advertising is using data to help shape story. We have the ability to see what resonates with people, what people like, what moves them. Using this information, we need to tell the stories they want to hear.
We can also adjust the stories as we cull the data on how they react to to particular pieces of ad creative — if something doesn’t resonate, we will have the ability to know that, and in turn develop more effective creative. So, the next big trend will be moving to high quality over wide quantity.