AOL’s Acquisition of MM: What Does it Mean?

AOL's Acquisition of MM What Does it MeanOn Thursday, AOL announced its acquisition of mobile ad company Millennial Media in a deal said to be worth some $238 million.

According to a report from Mike Wiser of MAW, AOL’s acquisition reflects the company’s “continued investment in cross platform programmatic technology for marketers and publishers.”

To explore the acquisition and its market impact even further, MMW caught up with Jon Baron, Chief Revenue Officer at IgnitionOne, to discuss one of this year’s biggest acquisitions.

MMW:  Does the acquisition of Millennial Media by AOL come as a surprise to you or was Millennial Media’s acquisition seemingly inevitable?

Baron:  The acquisition of AOL is a surprise to most of the market but it makes sense that telcos want to build a mobile first ad-mar-tech tech as they have a competitive advantage to challenge the giants of Facebook and Google. It is inevitable that they would look to enhance their mobile adtech chops. Specifically Millennial Media? Not a surprise – Millennial has scale and it was picked up at a good price

MMW: How does the acquisition affect AOL’s mobile engagement capabilities?

Baron: Millennial’s reach is massive – AOL bought scale and better targeting capabilities with this acquisition. If they can integrate this effectively this is a game changer for them.

MMW:   How will Millennial Media allow AOL to better compete in the increasingly important and competitive mobile advertising market?

Baron:  With this acquisition, AOL adds some capabilities around device-focused marketing. However, the real value of this is the fact that it will (again if effectively integrated) allow AOL to focus on targeted scaled audiences,  and not devices.

MMW:  Was Millennial Media really the best choice for AOL given the growing number of seemingly more innovative and effective ad platforms in this space?

Baron:  It was really the only choice to get the scale that Millennial offers and AOL is getting a good price for the asset.

MMW: Do you expect to see more major acquisitions and general market consolidation in the mobile ad industry throughout the next year?

Baron: In the next year we will continue to see point solutions having difficulty competing. Additional acquisitions will happen as big players move in and we will see bigger marketing stacks and broader integration. Marketers are seeing the importance of moving away from channel or device silos in favor of engaging an audience to focus on an individual regardless of what device or channel they are interacting with.