AOL Preps Ad Management Tool

AOL has unveiled Ad Desk, a new campaign management platform aimed at midsize agencies and advertisers.

Ad Desk will allow display advertisers to take a more active role in their online ad campaigns. They’ll be able to access information (such as demographics and audience size) on AOL’s various properties, and make decisions on how and when campaigns should run — without having to go through AOL’s sales force.

“Transparency and control are the future of online advertising,” said Jeff Levick, evp, AOL Advertising. “Providing clients with a greater level of personalized control over digital marketing campaigns is paramount as organizations continue to look for innovative ways to promote their brands and evaluate their ROI when planning campaigns.”

Initially, Ad Desk is not geared for the biggest agencies and clients, which have what AOL officials call “high-touch sales needs.” But plans are in the works to develop the product to handle the biggest of online ad spenders, said officials.

However, AOL is walking a fine line with Ad Desk. The new regime has worked to distance itself from the Randy Falco and Ron Grant era, which emphasized over AOL’s own properties, leading to CPM declines.

Now led by CEO Tim Armstrong and Levick, AOL has looked to sell the company as a content powerhouse worthy of premium pricing — not a company driven by commodity inventory.

Levick emphasized that Ad Desk was still in beta. “We are working directly with larger agencies and advertisers now to define the future updates of this tool to ensure it meets their needs and requirements as well,” he said.

See also: “Taming Online Ad Chaos”