As Danny noted, AOL is launching a new program for advertisers to buy Google AdWords directly from AOL. But AOL Search Marketplace, as the new program is known, goes beyond simply white-labeling Google sponsored listings.
“We’re allowing advertisers to specifically customize their campaigns on AOL search,” said Dariusz Pacsuski, Vice President, Search Products, AOL Platforms. Pacsuski said that AOL has done significant research with advertisers, who told the company in no uncertain terms that they wanted more choice and more control over their campaigns.
AOL Search Marketplace uses a white-label version of Google AdWords, providing advertisers the ability to buy search advertising that solely targets the AOL Search audience on the AOL client applications and AOL.com. Until now, advertisers did not have the ability to segment and optimize traffic coming from AOL.
AOL has also tightly integrated its advertising options into the new system, providing even more control for advertisers. “We have found that there is a significant impact when search and display campaigns are coordinated,” said Mike Kelly, President, AOL Media Networks. “The addition of the AOL Search Marketplace enables us to offer advertisers end-to-end solutions.”
This means that an advertiser can now coordinate not just search ads, but third-party display ads from AOL’s partner Advertising.com, video advertising and performance ads on the AOL Search network, which attracts more than 36 million unique visitors each month.
Pacsuski said that AOL tested AOL Search Marketplace with 20 advertisers, and most are increasing the spend on their campaigns based on the results the program delivered.
Advertisers in general appear to be happy with their results on AOL. Last year, AOL saw its advertising revenue climb 41% from 2005 levels. Ad revenues for the fourth quarter of 2006 were up 49% from Q4 2005.
More information on AOL Search Marketplace is available here.
Local and shopping search announcements
AOL also announced that it has launched a beta Local Search, leveraging its ownership of MapQuest and AOL’s CityGuide. The new local search service offers geo-targeted advertising and reviews of local businesses, bars, restaurants, and more.
And AOL Shopping has dumped longtime partner Shopzilla in favor of new shopping partner Pricegrabber.com. Other than a different product database, all other features of the service appear unchanged.