AOL’s Project Devil Aims To Update The Banner Once And For All

Just in time for the first day of New York City’s Advertising Week, AOL (NYSE: AOL) sought to get a jump on attention getting news with its latest effort to build a better advertising business. The intiative, Project Devil, is meant to serve as an all-in-one marketing funnel in a single location on a page. In an interview with paidContent, AOL Global ad sales head Jeff Levick and CEO Tim Armstrong talked about how this will help the company advance premium online advertising and solve the problems associated with banners.

Despite the introduction different sizes and formats, the basic banner ad is still the main fixture of display advertising. While the notion of bigger, more dynamic ads may have helped boost display’s rise with the ad recovery this year, most observers believe that the space still has a number of constraints holding it back from a potentially more robust future. One of the drags on display is the lack of a standard metric — though both Nielsen and comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) have offered new features this week that promise to advance that cause.

But as Gawker Media chief Nick Denton pointed out earlier in his Q&A with Peter Kafka at the IAB’s Mixx conference, most web pages are ludicrously designed, in that you generally have to scroll up or down for an item and ads dot every bit of white space.

Armstrong agreed with the sentiment that web pages don’t make much sense. Although you don’t need a study to back up that assertion, a comprehensive look at web pages’ content did help inspire Project Devil, Armstrong said. “In the process of the turnaround of AOL one of the things we came to realize that part of that is related to the turnaround of the web,” he said. “In other words, display has been slow to grow, content sites haven