Creativity Marketing Transformation

AOL Expands Advertising and Paid Content Reach With Buysight Acquisition


AOL adds retargeting and intent-based marketing to its advertising menu.

AOL seeks to leverage Big Data from online browsing behavior with the acquisition of performance advertising company Buysight. The online giant will absorb the firm into its Group, which includes ADTECH and The AOL On Network. Terms of the sale were not disclosed, nor whether the group will retain its current name.

In a press release issued by the company, CEO Ned Brody states that, “We strongly believe that both brand and performance display, as well as mobile and video campaigns benefit from dynamic, targeted creative and messaging.” The key word is targeted, as highly targeted ad capability is what the younger company will bring to the parent. Buysight claims to use “Dynamic Creative Optimization” and machine learning technology to turn data about user behavior into real-time custom-tailored ad serving, which outperforms simple demographic targeting.

The Technology Explained

Retargeting and intent-based targeting are not new concepts, but now that AOL has joined the fray, content marketers should expect to see them in greater use. Retargeting works by having an ad network serve up ads or other paid content to visitors after they leave a site without converting. This is usually accomplished by placing a cookie in a user’s browser when they visit and abandon a site without a purchase or otherwise engaging with a brand. Intent-based targeting, in contrast, seeks to interpret the intention of a user by analyzing keywords, social media behavior, and other data to serve appropriate ads while the intent still exists.

Relevance to Content Marketers

For content marketers, these technologies can be a valuable addition to the marketing toolkit. Companies can continue to market to visitors and bring them back for more interaction after they have left a site. They can also attract new visitors by serving ads more effectively by interpreting intent, a win for both the marketer and the consumer who doesn’t have to see irrelevant ads. One firm with a head start in marrying intent-based targeting with content is video distribution platform Taboola, which recommends videos produced by its clients based on visitor behaviors across a network of popular sites. Expect this trend to grow.

Photo credit: Flickr

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