How AOL plans to reach 2 billion users by 2020

BI Ignition D1 Lg 0470Business InsiderAlyson Shontell and Tim Armstrong at IGNITION 2016.

It’s impossible to be involved in media without being aware of competition from Facebook and Google.

And while some companies try to mimic their approaches and business models, others try to stand out.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is doing just that.

While Facebook is focused on social and Google is focused on search, AOL is focusing on something else. And it’s setting a lofty goal: 2 billion users by 2020.

But how does its approach differ?

Business Insider Editor in Chief Alyson Shontell sat down with Armstrong at IGNITION 2016 to discuss AOL’s approach to this goal and the media landscape.

While Facebook and Google have been super successful, Armstrong said that “copying someone else’s strategy, especially at that scale and with their success, is probably not a good idea.” Instead, he’s interested in differentiating AOL’s approach and focusing on the brand space.

For Armstrong, the brand space is about two things — the first “being a facilitator of getting fanatical fans on to different brands and representing what those brands are” across platforms.

The second is about the ad side: “It’s really helping people understand how you take brand advertising in the digital age and drive it through the conversion funnel.”

So how is this working? For starters, Yahoo stockholders announced on June 8 the sale of Yahoo to Verizon, which as of 2015 also owns AOL. Verizon will be merging AOL and Yahoo to create a new brand called Oath. If the goal of 2 billion users carries over to the new brand, it will certainly be easier to hit with Yahoo’s existing traffic in the equation.

To learn more from experts in digital, be sure to attend Business Insider’s IGNITION 2017!

We’re rolling out the speaker lineup over the coming months, and you won’t want to miss it. Business Insider IGNITION 2017 will take place November 29-30 at the Time Warner Center in New York City. Right now we’re offering early-bird tickets that will save you $US500 — don’t miss out!

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