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Verizon exec sees 1 advantage telco has over online ad giants

When it comes to Verizon Communications Inc.'s push into the online advertising market, the company knows it is facing heavy competition from the likes of Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. But according to a Verizon executive, the company has at least one advantage over the two current internet giants: namely, Verizon's experience as a major advertiser.

"The one advantage Verizon has ... is we're one of the top three advertisers," Verizon Executive Vice President and President of Media and Telematics Marni Walden said during a June 8 investor presentation. She noted that Verizon has "learned a lot" from its own team about what ad formats work best for brand building.

Walden did not cite the source for her ranking. The most recent publicly available data from Advertising Age, published in June 2016, listed Verizon as the fifth-largest U.S. advertiser. Neither Google nor Facebook made the top 10 list.

From Verizon's experience as an advertiser, Walden said the company knows that many existing ad formats do not work. "Ad formats have got to change," she said, noting that some formats not only fail to create value, but can even harm a brand by frustrating consumers.

"I think that's why you still see a lot of spend going into TV even if it's not as effective," she said, noting that Verizon wants to be "where the eyeballs are moving ... particularly the younger eyeballs."

Verizon is moving forward on closing its purchase of Yahoo! Inc.'s operating business, which it plans to combine with AOL. "That gives us 1.3 billion eyeballs," Walden said, giving Verizon a seat at the table "with all the players that you might think about."

Between Verizon's expanded reach and improved ad formats, Walden said, "I think we've got a plan and we'll do that and partner with brands on our platforms and be an open partner with them."