NEW YORK: AOL is consolidating its brand portfolio and is launching an open, unified programmatic platform in what it claims is a significant step towards simplifying the digital ad space for marketers, agencies and publishers.

The introduction of the ONE by AOL programmatic platform is aimed at assisting marketers in their efforts to optimize against campaign goals across all screens, formats and inventory types.

At the same time, the various offerings within AOL's technology stack, from its data management platform to, are being rebranded under the ONE by AOL banner.

A digital dashboard allows marketers to assess the impact and ROI of their advertising and look at how varying budget allocations across media might affect any particular campaign.

Bob Lord, AOL president, said the new platform would help solve real business problems for marketers. "ONE allows advertisers and agencies to use data as the foundation of their marketing strategy," he explained, "looking at consumers through a single, media-agnostic lens, from Web to TV.

"Connecting audience data to media exposures throughout the purchase path lets brands accurately measure return on their marketing dollars," he added.

AOL is keen to stress the open nature of the platform – the various components can be combined with those of third parties, allowing brands to customize their own programmatic platforms while maintaining control of their own data – but the Wall Street Journal said this was also the case with the ad technology offered by Google and Facebook.

And while the idea of a simplified, single ad platform is theoretically attractive, some observers sounded a note of caution.

"Whether this product is explicitly biased or not, if I'm a sophisticated marketer, and I think technology is integral to what I do, I'm going to wonder if it makes sense to have a media seller make recommendations on where I spend money," said Bryan Wiener, chairman of the digital agency 360i.

Data sourced from Business Wire, Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff