Hearst to Run AOL’s Large-Format Ads

Platform gives marketers greater creativity

Hearst has announced that it plans to roll out large-size, interactive ads developed by AOL. Hearst will sell the ads—which will run in sites including Cosmopolitan.com, MarieClaire.com, and Esquire.com—to clients, and pay a technology fee to AOL.

The ads, created by AOL display unit Pictela, are about four times the size of regular online ads. Each offers three interactive elements, like games, polls, videos, and coupons, which work within the ad itself—users don’t have to leave to go to a separate page. AOL says that consumers are spending an average 47 extra seconds with these new ads, and play an average 24 seconds more video. The company charges about $50 per thousand views for the ads, according to buyers.

AOL introduced its ad division, called Project Devil, last fall. The company hopes that the interactive, more creative ads will grab customers’ attention and result in higher spending from marketers—and help to restore AOL's own stake in the display advertising industry. AOL started running the ads on its Web properties last September. Early buyers included Procter & Gamble and Verizon, but many other potential clients reportedly were wary of purchasing the ads since they can only be run on AOL. Hearst will be the first outside company to adopt the ads for its own sites.

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