The blockbuster news that Verizon Communications will acquire AOL http://www.marketwatch.com/story/aols-stock-soars-after-agreeing-to-be-acquired-by-verizon-2015-05-12 has many speculating as to Verizon’s plans, particularly around how to leverage AOL’s ad technology. According to AOL financial reports, the company made $1.8 billion in ad revenue last year, and of that, $856 million came from serving ads to third parties (media other than AOL properties). I think there is one distinct and immediate competitive advantage opportunity for Verizon to jump on with AOL — a sponsored data ad product on Verizon Wireless.
It could start with Verizon offering sponsored data as an ad product for AOL media properties, which admittedly isn’t a huge opportunity, but a great way to test the market. Verizon consumers could receive offers to view AOL media like Huffington Post (or one of my favorites, TechCrunch) on their mobile device, either through dedicated apps or via the browser, for free, the data session use is deducted from that consumers mobile data plan. In my recent report on sponsored data https://markbeccue.wordpress.com/products/report-sponsored-data/ , I outline how mobile search is a good match for sponsored data. In either case, advertisers collectively pay for exposure. More importantly, Verizon can easily extend the sponsored data product to third parties who have historically used the AOL ad network. It would be limited to Verizon Wireless users, but that is a hefty potential market to offer an advertiser.
Don’t be surprised to see a sponsored data ad product from Verizon and AOL before the end of 2015. Find out more about how sponsored data will become a significant advertising vehicle through this market report https://markbeccue.wordpress.com/products/report-sponsored-data/