Google. Facebook. Apple. Amazon. If the biggest battles of the digital space are being waged by these four companies, how can an Internet 1.0 brand stay relevant? By doing what AOL is doing; morphing into a media company and using its reach for Good.
15 million viewers. Billions of impressions. Every day, a focus on a different charitable organization, many of which are small and could never afford to buy an ad on AOL's main page. News isn't always bad; sometimes it's inspiring. This effort casts a halo around the whole AOL brand, in addition to its Working Mothers best places to work status, and their Monster Help Day (an internal volunteer hours effort).
Adweek calls it "the biggest reboot in the history of digital media," and credits CEO Tim Armstrong with bringing vision and purpose to the ranks, and to the brand.
On the AOL Impact about page, they say, "All around us, people and charities are doing amazing things. AOL Impact is here to connect you to the greater good, and make it easy to discover a new cause every day. There are many ways to get involved, whether it's giving money, serving lunch at a foodbank, reading to kids, or simply spreading the word about causes that catch your attehction. AOL Impact is a place to explore, participate and share. We don't profit from the charities we feature, or any donations you make. This site is our small way to support all the good in the world, with the hope of inspiring even more. We hope that you visit every day to get your daily dose of good."
Is it paying off? Their reach has improved, and their media prices have inched up over the past year. They are incredibly effective at behavioral targeting for advertisers as well - all good signs for a media company, let alone one of the "old" digital brands. It's called staying power. And it is ... Good.