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AOL Announces Device-Linking and Location-Based Technology for Marketing to Consumers, Not Devices

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AOL today formally announced its cross-device linking technology, empowering advertisers to engage with people across screens and not merely target devices. This offering, available today via AOL Platforms, allows advertisers to plan programmatically across the widest array of premium inventory. AOL’s technology, enabling “people-centric” marketing rather than “device-centric” marketing, was validated by comScore in September 2014* at a 93 percent “match rate.”

Additionally, AOL also announced the availability of location-based marketing, allowing advertisers to, in a privacy friendly manner, identify the location of and target potential customers that have been in their store (or any specific location) across any device, at scale.

“Device-linking is about helping advertisers move from thinking about targeting and optimizing devices to targeting people and optimizing to holistic results,” stated Chad Gallagher, global director of mobile for AOL. “While mobile is an increasingly important device for marketers, that doesn’t mean they need to plan in marketing silos. Using technology like device linking allows marketers to move towards a unified approach to make smarter decisions that will impact results.”

Cross-device linking and location-based marketing will be integrated into ONE by AOL. ONE will be the first platform that empowers brands and agencies with a holistic view of the consumer’s journey through the marketing funnel and makes that insight actionable in real-time.

The move from “device-centric” to “people-centric” marketing

With the explosion of new types of devices and the technological complexity that accompanies them, marketing has evolved past advertising on specific platforms — to reaching and engaging with people regardless of the screen they are viewing on by using technology that connects devices in a non-personally identifiable way.

This change reflects the way consumers live, using multiple devices at different times throughout the purchase process. For example, a customer may use a mobile device to “window shop” or research a product category until they access their desktop computer and make the purchase. Advertising technology often treats that same viewer as two different potential customers, and that disconnect leads to inefficiencies and a potential loss of sale for advertisers. Device linking delivers one holistic view of the user to marketers and eliminates duplicate ads and waste.

Brands like T-Mobile and Citi are working with AOL Platforms to attain a more complete picture of their target audiences rather than devices through a combination of device-linking, location-based marketing, optimization and analytics. More than 54 percent of campaigns run by AOL Platforms’ customers were cross-screen in Q2 2014.

“We take a very integrated, holistic approach to how we engage our customers,” stated Peter DeLuca, T-Mobile’s SVP-brand and advertising. “Reaching them on multiple platforms with relevant content suitable for each channel – whether that be their desktop or mobile device – helps us target our message, build brand awareness and lead to direct customer action. AOL’s has helped us maintain a single conversation with our prospects on an individual user basis, no matter where they want to engage with the brand.”

Data Provides the Complete Picture

T-Mobile and other AOL customers are using a combination of first-party data, third-party data and impression level data to identify at scale highly accurate cross device matches.

For example, a large U.S. financial customer of AOL is able to use mobile as an acquisition platform for the first time. The company is doing so by using comprehensive non-personally identifiable customer data to target audience segments most likely to convert and then analyzing the data across all devices. By activating cross-device linking and focusing on a more people-centric approach, the company decreased their eCPA by more than 30 percent – from $55 to $38.

*AOL Cross-Screen Validation Report, comScore Verified September 2014. Match Rate denotes percentage of sample that AOL and comScore identified as the same person between devices using non-personally identifiable information derived from comScore’s census network.

About AOL

AOL Inc. (NYSE:AOL) is a brand company, committed to continuously innovating, growing, and investing in brands and experiences that inform, entertain, and connect the world. The home of a world-class collection of premium brands, AOL creates original content that engages audiences on a local and global scale. We help marketers connect with these audiences through effective and engaging digital advertising solutions.

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