Aol Talks Display And Q3 Results; Getting Your Game Ads On; Auditude Acquisition Price

Q3 earningsHere’s today’s news round-up… Want it by email? Sign-up here.

Aol Display Growth

Aol released its Q3 2010 earnings and results appeared decent, but still not quite the clear turnaround Aol is striving for – yet. Display showed 14% growth with the inclusion of display placements from HuffPo and TechCrunch. Without those two, “pro forma display,” according to CFO Artie Minson on the earnings call, was as follows: “in June and July what we had seen was basically those months were flat. August and September on a combined basis, pro forma had been plus 6%.” Overall, the company recorded revenues of $531 million for the quarter, which exceeded expectations, with $317 million coming from ads – all of which resulted in a $2 million loss. Read the release.

How about “Third party network revenue increased $21.2 million, reflecting 12% growth in and $12.1 million related to the acquisitions of 5 Minutes Ltd. and goviral A/S.” That’s $96 million for the third-party group. Also of note, the company wants to keep around the employees from companies it has thus far acquired even if it hurts the bottom line. Hence from the release: “an $8.5 million increase in retention compensation related to acquisitions made in 2010 and 2011.” Armstrong added on the earnings call with analysts, “We grew sold impressions 86% year-over-year on” No predictions for Q4 other than it’s “a big quarter for us,” said Armstrong. Read the earnings transcript – it’s the most detailed discussion of display on any earnings call. The company had $444 million in cash to spend at the end of Q3. Still no news on the Aol-Yahoo!-Microsoft remnant deal. Armstrong is not done shaping the company. It’s interesting to hear him discuss the focus on bottom-of-the-funnel opportunities for big brands as this is the territory for the ad network and retargeting. With guy Ned Brody leading sales, that formula is not lost. Q4 could be a good one – beyond the usual seasonal bump if other macro economic issues don’t get in the way (you know… war, depression, Kim K.). We’ll see in January.

Your Game Ads

“Roughly $1 billion will be spent this year on ads in games in the United States” – at least that’s what a new study says from PricewaterhouseCoopers. The MIT Technology Review’s Lee Gomes looks at games and ads and finds that, similar to other forms of advertising, “effectiveness is often hard to judge.” TapMe CEO Matt Spiegel promises a whole new form of advertising is on the way to save the day. Read more.

Adobe Publishers

All Things D’s Peter Kafka takes a look at Adobe’s Auditude acquisition and says, “The company figures that it already has deep relationships with lots of Web publishers, and that the logical way to extend its business is to help them sell ads, too.” Kafka ferrets out a purchase price of $120 million for Auditude, too. Read more.

Chasing The Acquisition

Digiday’s Mike Shields cuts right to the chase in a piece on the interclick acquisition by Yahoo!: “Here’s why Yahoo needs a new CEO pronto. Its ad sales problems run so deep that it felt the need to spend $270 million on an ad network. Apparently, these are the kinds of things that happen when nobody is minding the store.” Read it.

Automation Nation

Ebay and Lexity ( Q&A) announced a new partnership that will bring Lexity’s self-service, digital advertising platform to Ebay’s “Prostores” sellers. They key to Ebay’s adoption of Lexity’s services appears to be automation as Prostores owners may not have the time or understanding to do their own campaigns. Read the release. And read more about Lexity’s “Thematic” approach with Ebay here on the Lexity blog.

Let Us Partner

DSP The Trade Desk announced a new deal with Involved that gets it into the social advertising space. According to the release, “The Trade Desk will sell social advertising campaigns through Involved Media and Involved Media will sell display advertising through The Trade Desk’s integration with multiple ad exchanges.” Involved says its auto-optimization features are making the difference for its social ad platform. Read more.


On the New York Times Bits blog, Steve Dohr treads into the muck and mire of “big data” and sets the stage for readers: “Big data is, yes, about more data – the rising flood from corporate databases, Web browsing trails, sensors and social network communications. But it is just as much about speed.” And it might also be about “the Von Neumann architecture (Wikipedia),” which wouldn’t be a bad movie title. Read about the future of data and computing.

Local Cards

It looks like Cardlytics ( Q&A) is taking its credit card marketing (“Transaction-Driven Marketing” says the company), targeting technology to the local level. A Cardlytics rep challenges other local ad models in a release, “You simply cannot do great local marketing from a call center in some other state, or country. Our local transaction-marketing specialists are the key.” Aggregated, curated local retailers can also be an opportunity for national advertisers. Read it.

Instant Search Retargeting is targeting searchers with display right after the input their keywords says a press release from the company. Calling it “instant search retargeting” (ISR!) The idea here is to leverage recency by targeting the consumer’s intent as soon as they show it. Read the release. As always, scale can be a challenge in search retargeting, but for hypertargeted groups or keywords, or on a local level, it might be enough for marketers.

Making Milestones

Saying that net revenues have tripled in the last year, data management platform and data exchange BlueKai announced new milestones in a press release. The company claims “increased partner integrations by 100% over the last year through API and server-to-server data integrations into a majority of the 50 largest media companies…” Read it.

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