Google, Yahoo, AOL go head-to-head with new platforms, strategies

As Advertising Week kicks off in New York, Yahoo, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and AOL separately gave the multiday confab an OTT-centric push, announcing major updates to their advertising platforms. Yahoo said it has made BrightRoll its unified brand for programmatic advertising, while Google announced two key updates ad features on its platform.

AOL announced the debut of LIVE by AOL, an end-to-end distribution platform for its media partners that provides production capabilities, encoding, delivery via Verizon Digital Media Services, and advertising integration.

BrightRoll, acquired by Yahoo in late 2014, has been pegged to be the centralized platform for all of Yahoo's programmatic efforts. The unified platform combines BrightRoll's programmatic buying and selling features with mobile analytics technology from the search engine giant's Flurry acquisition and Yahoo's Web analytics services.

Yahoo also announced a new custom audience feature for Yahoo Gemini, its proprietary cross-platform search and native advertising service. In tandem with the recently launched Preferred Partner Program, the new customization feature allows advertisers to "leverage their own data alongside Yahoo data to efficiently retarget audiences across devices."

Google, meanwile, increased access to its Universal App Campaigns portal, and introduced Customer Match. The Universal App Campaigns portal was launched in May, but the latest update allows developers to push apps with several areas including search, YouTube, Google Play and Google's display ad network.

Customer Match leverages Google's database of Gmail users -- securely, the search engine giant said -- so that advertisers can target those users alongside YouTube and search.

In addition to enhanced features, Google hopes to attract advertisers that are eyeing its competitor Facebook's mobile ad capabilities. "With both new products, Google is stressing, as it has lately, the ability to influence consumers when they are close to making a purchase -- something that Facebook lacks," a Re/code article said.

LIVE by AOL is another step forward in the company's quest for OTT platform unity. Jimmy Maymann, head of content and consumer brands for AOL, said that the platform "not only unites the pillars of our business, but enables all of our content and media partners to tap into the power of live programming and bring that success to their own properties. As the lines between traditional television and online video blur, producing, distributing and monetizing live content in the digital realm will be a deciding factor for those who successfully step into the next era of video."

AOL partnered with OTT distributor LiveXLive to live-stream the international music festival in Rock in Rio last week, and streamed TechCrunch Disrupt ahead of its formal launch of LIVE.

For more:
- see this Yahoo release
- see this Re/code article
- see this AOL release

Related articles:
Apple, Google technology moves set challenge for online video advertisers
Programmatic ad revenue hit $10.1B in 2014, but lack of inventory holds back video ads
As YouTube viewing time jumps 60 percent, advertisers line up to reach users

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