AOL UK has announced that all reserved advertising space on its owned and operated publications will be available for automated, programmatic buying.

The radical switch to what many consider to be the future of display advertising means that brands will now be able to serve themselves from an even larger selection of ad space through the company’s demand-side platform (DSP).

AOL-connected publishers such as The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget and Parentdish will now all boast programmatic availability as the company looks to drive greater efficiency within its ad business.  

Total efficiency

Although the move plays very much into the hands of agencies and brands already investing in automated ad buying, AOL is hoping the switch to programmatic will also improve the running of operations at its own end.

Noel Penzer, managing director at AOL UK, believes that automating the sale of space which was previously sold manually has the potential to free up vast amounts of company time.

He added: “It re-affirms our investment in and commitment to automation and our belief that programmatic will be the main driver on bigger creative integrations, sponsorships and tailored solutions.”

Amnet, Cadreon and eBay are already signed up to AOL’s DSP, which will now support what the company’s blog regards as a “major milestone” for the UK ad industry.

A sign of the times?

In turning its reserved ad inventory into a one-stop shop for programmatic buyers, AOL has reinforced claims that automated buying will represent the majority of all ad space purchases by 2017.

IAB UK envisages the proportion of ad options traded in this manner to rise from 47% in 2014 up to between 60-75% within the next three years.

In a separate study from the bureau, a poll of 600 European ad agency representatives saw 89% heralding programmatic as the future of their industry.

AOL is even looking to apply this concept to linear TV with the impending launch of AOL ONE, a cross screen programmatic platform designed for regular broadcasting.

The service is set for a roll-out in February 2015.