AOL’s Levick says advertisers can no longer rely on TV for audiences

Jeff Levick, AOL president for global advertising and strategy, has called for brands to “leave their comfort zone” when advertising online.

Jeff Levick
Jeff Levick

During his keynote at today’s (11 November) IAB Engage conference, Levick says it’s no longer relevant to rely on big ticket advertising spots around such properties as ITV’s The X Factor. Instead advertisers should form a strategy for niche online media to reach an increasingly fragmented audience.

“We’re still consuming twice as much information online for half the ad spend,” he says. “The market is really overdue a shift. Big brands that are spending the majority of their money in the offline universe are getting very anxious because they’re running out of [prime time] space to put their brands.”

He said that TV could no longer meet the demands from advertisers for mass reach. “Brands need massive scale and that is no longer achievable purely through TV audiences,” he adds.

According to Levick, advertisers must turn to increasingly niche media to sell their products. “In the online universe, really niche is the new mass media,” he says. “There really isn’t that ideal panacea that you invest in five media properties and you’re done. It might have been like that ten years ago, but it’s not like that now.”

He says the opportunity now exists to match the advertising to the content in a much more symbiotic way: “Over the next 12 months we’re going to see advertising sit much closer to the content.”

Levick also challenged online and creative agencies to move away from their traditional approach. “We have to break out of the way of thinking that one piece of creative fits all. In the future, there will be a need for lots of campaigns with lots of creative in lots of different formats,“ he says.

Advertisers need to start dropping their guard and let go a little more, Levick concluded.

This story first appeared on

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