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Will Advertisers Benefit from AOL’s New Branded Content?

bbender - June 26, 2015 - 0 comments

Will Advertisers Benefit from Partner Studio, AOL’s New Branded Content Division?

AOL joins other publishers who went from being ad sellers to ad makers, just like The New York Times, CNN, BuzzFeed, Politico, The Guardian, Vice, Tumblr and many others.


The company has created its own in-house creative agency which will be responsible for making ads for brands. The creative agency has been named Partner Studio (terribly corporate name!) which will create content for different advertisers.


It is worth mentioning here that Huffington Post which AOL owns also has an in-house creative agency named HuffPost Partner Studio which functions on similar lines.


Why are news outlets starting creative agencies?

Well, there is good opportunity to earn handsomely (content money + advertising money). According to a recent study, it is expected that advertisers in the U.S. are going to spend around $4.3 billion on creation of native ads. This is advertising, with emphasis on news outlets pushing “editorial” content with ads embedded into the story.


In many instances such ads are masked in a way so that they appear to be unpaid editorials. Additionally, this advertising expenditure will grow about 34% more than what brands spent last year on similar native ads.


This branded content is a medium for publishers to enhance rapport with advertisers & produce compelling content the reader will likely be influenced by. (Note: if your feeling like “native content” is a little dishonest, you wouldn’t be alone.)


Allie Kline, who is AOL’s CMO, said the company is anticipating this to be the future high growth segment within the industry.


About AOL’s Partner Studio.

The partner studio has about sixty employees which consist of people who were working at Partner Studio of Huffington Post but have been merged into AOL.


AOL is trying to accomplish a blend of developing high quality editorial content that speaks to ad goals as well as facilitating new roads for advertisers. Partner Studio’s first client is Georgia-Pacific.


Difference between Partner Studio and ‘One’.

On one hand Partner Studio focuses on production of premium ads such as branded videos and custom banners which will be posted on some of top sites AOL has.


On the other hand we have AOL’s ad tech arm known as One. One serves the purpose of running regular ads and occasionally premiums ads over other sites company owns


How AOL’s Partner Studio stands apart from some of the other publishers.

According to AOL, the main difference between them and others is that they are not just into production of content. There are two ways in which Partner Studio will function:

  1. First of all, AOL’s editors as well as staff working in the video production section, coordinate with brands in creation of content like branded videos. Which will be about the brand but will be produced in a way that they do not appear to be a regular commercials.

They intend to utilize the audience data they have as well as in-house technologies. The audience data will help them find the topics that will appeal most to intended audience of the brand.

  1. The second will consist of distribution which will be done on, over Huffington Post Media Group and the video service it has, AOL Be On and AOL On. According to AOL use of such avenues will mean the brands will get exposure to over 200 million people who use these services every month.

All of it sounds promising and we look forward to seeing the kind of results AOL’s outlets can produce.