I read on AdAge.com yesterday that AOL is going to roll-out their ‘project Devil’ onto the newly acquired Huffington Post. It’s an interesting name
for something that they hope will change the online display advertising world for good. Perhaps ‘Angel’ would have been a better name but maybe it was already taken. The ad format is intended to bring in a higher average CPM than typical display ad units on AOL websites. AOL’s hope is that other websites will adopt this format as well in the future.
Many journalists have said that AOL is trying to force this new ad format down the Huffington Post’s throat. However, I don’t see this as such a bad thing. It seems that AOL wants to make online display advertising more attractive, less cluttered and appear more like print advertising. Doesn’t this seem more like moving back to more traditional journalistic endeavors, rather than trying to move away from them?
In a world where new digital platforms like the iPad might help to change the game for newspapers and print media for the better, AOL’s new strategy seems like a good idea. It could enable all media ad formats to eventually have similar monetary values. A preference for CPC advertising has driven down the cost of display ads online and has inevitably hurt the print world. AOL’s strategy is a first step in moving towards getting advertisers to pay for the true value of great online content.
While AOL may have to swim upstream for a while, I definitely like the direction in which they are headed. Yes, their little ‘Devil’ will require websites to re-design their layouts in order to accommodate new advertising units. However, if it means making web pages more appealing to users in the end and helping content producers to make a decent living then this is definitely a step in the right direction.
Will this attempt to jumpstart a new display advertising era work? We’ll just have to wait and see. Please share your thoughts on what you think about AOL’s new ‘Project Devil?’