AOL Canada has announced the launch of Project Devil 2, the next phase of AOL’s continued focus on innovation in premium branded display. Project Devil, launched in the U.S. in September 2010 at Advertising Week, and in Canada in April 2011, was AOL’s foray into revolutionizing premium display on the Web. After two years of advertiser input across categories including Entertainment, Retail, CPG, Finance, and Travel, AOL has added to its portfolio of premium ad units. The new 300×1050 has two applications within the unit, allowing the brand marketer to utilize a larger high-definition brand asset in the top module to drive a more enhanced experience for consumers. A smaller 300×600 unit features one large application. AOL has also added support for additional IAB Rising Stars display ad units such as the Filmstrip and Billboard to its diverse portfolio. The announcement was made at Advertising Week 2012 taking place in New York City, October 1-5, 2012.
The Pictela Management Center, a content management system to simplify the creation, serving, and optimization of high-impact advertising across browser, mobile, and tablet formats via a single creative process, has also evolved with new creative tools for agencies and publishers to drive more operational scale and make it even easier for them to design ads within a single interface.
“Just two years ago, we launched Project Devil, a premium display ad unit that re-imagined the intersection between content, advertising, and the consumer experience, radically improving the aesthetic quality, impact, and interactivity of online brand advertising,” said Tim Armstrong, Chairman and CEO, AOL. “Product innovation continues to be a huge focus at AOL. Today, with the launch of Project Devil 2, we are evolving not only the format, but the powerful Pictela platform as well, based on the intelligence we have gained over the past two years running campaigns for brand marketers.”
Since its launch in 2010, the Devil unit has delivered outstanding metrics for marketers. Recent data over a six-month period (Devil benchmarks from 1H12 Performance Benchmark Report, AOL Internal Data), for example, shows an average Interaction Rate (ITR) of 5.18% and an average Interaction Time of 24 seconds. A recent AOL Canada/EyeTrackShop study measuring the Devil ad against the standard big box unit showed four times higher brand recall and two times higher offline brand engagement (Source: AOL Canada/EyeTrackShop advertiser study – Devil vs. Big Box, May 2012).
As AOL has worked closely over the past 24 months with marketers in various industries, the company has also created specific applications for marketers in each category. For example, in the Retail and CPG verticals, the media gallery app, recipe app, store locator, and coupon app continue to produce successful results while showcasing assets that the marketer in most cases has already created and is repurposing.
“Through our work with marketers and advertisers over the past two years, we’ve realized each industry has very unique needs in branded display – and this has helped us drive innovation in various applications for categories including Autos, Entertainment, Retail, and Finance,” said Sanjay Jain, Chief Technology Officer, Pictela. “With Project Devil 2, our product strategy continues to be focused on the transformation from ad formats to ad solutions.”
Earlier this year, Pictela launched the beta version of Pictela Enterprise in the U.S., a technology platform that gives advertising agencies a clean, simple, guided self-service interface to manage all their clients’ brand assets and efficiently serve them into premium online display. Beta partners have provided valuable feedback over the past six months, and Pictela Enterprise is expected to launch in beta in Canada shortly, and move into general availability by the end of 2012.
All Pictela units are certified across all AOL’s owned and operated properties and AOL is actively working to bring the Devil unit to other Publishers in Canada. Pictela technology powers all the ad units in the IAB Standard Ad Unit Portfolio named at the IAB Annual Leadership Conference in February 2012, including Billboard, Filmstrip, Portrait, and Pushdown.