IAB Engage: AOL's Levick says next phase of internet is all about content creation

LONDON - Jeff Levick, president of global advertising and strategy at AOL, told digital marketers this morning that the world is moving into the third phase of the internet, which will be all about content creation, and brands are set to become the new co-creators of this content.

Speaking during this morning's session at the IAB Engage conference, Levick said the first phase of the internet (1990 - 2000) was about "access", getting people online, the second phase (2000 - 2009) was about "platforms", allowing users to connect to one another through search and social networks, and the third phase will be about content.

Levick, who joined AOL in May this year from Google where he served as vice president, industry development and marketing, Americas, revealed five things that marketers need to know to stay healthy in the coming internet economy.

Firstly, he said that the market is overdue for a shift and we will see that shift this year.

Secondly, Levick said that brands are getting anxious because they are running out of places to advertise their brands. He said there is so much reality programming on TV and this is not the place to build brands.

Levick said: "'X Factor' is one of the safest examples of reality programming, however the trend is that reality programmes are not places to build brands. They are not safe places."

Thirdly, Levick said: "Niche is the new mass...brand marketers need to find these niche [online] audiences.

"Consumers are spending more time online, engaging across the web, so it's about finding the right audience, in the right place, at the right time."

More importantly he said that brands will be the new co-creators of content.

He said: "Brands know a tremendous amount about consumers and what they want."

Finally, Levick argued that content management systems will be the new ad systems: "The old way was to create content, push it online and then slap up ads next to it. But the next way will be about the merger of content management systems and advertising technologies.

"There is a real opportunity to mash advertising closer to content creation."

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