Tim Armstrong, the CEO of AOL, The media giant, spoke on social advertising at this year’s Tech Crunch Disrupt in NYC (AOL does own Tech Crunch). Much of what he said was common knowledge, but he did throw in a few hints into AOL’s current media strategies. He had a few main points.
1. Social advertising in the future is going to be a race to acquire the best content, something AOL did with buying Tech Crunch and the Huffington Post. Armstrong said that AOL will be a branded content business for decades into the future.
2. Advertising is really the fastest way to kill bad products, so it’s imperative that it be done in a specific way. AOL’s secret sauce is going to be separating themselves from the flock by offering the best content, and advertisement shaped around that content. This can be done by molding their media organizations into large brands and maintaining the brands that they already own.
3. Sticking social buttons all over the place and calling it social advertising is a disease. It’s not social and AOL is focused more on turning advertising into content, not about what your friends are doing, where they have been or what they’re favorite lollipop is.
4. AOL see’s Facebook as a friend, similar to Twitter, both being platforms that help deliver and distribute content, not as a competitor. Armstrong also let a bit of hot air out of Twitter saying that Facebook fans are much more valuable than Twitter followers. Twitter is valuable because you’re able to follow more brands and keep track of their activity, but Facebook really brings in a large layer of interaction, one that connects the fans together, but also let’s the brand further engage with the fans after the initial ‘update’ is published.
5. Armstrong believes that “servicing the whole human” is the most important. Giving them amazing content that actually offers people real value. It is with this methodology that AOL as a company is going to move forward with and hopefully change the advertising space and how we look at media in the future.
These are interesting points for a company that could be seen as fluffing its acquisition of TechCrunch, an expensive purchase that generated the wrong headlines in 2011. Time will tell if AOL can become grow in relevance as well as size.