AOL Acquires Content Marketing Platform Startup Pictela

AOL has picked up Pictela, an NYC-based startup that offers a platform capable of injecting branded rich media such as video, photos and apps directly into various online advertising and social media. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed (update: WSJ says about $20 million).

AOL hopes the purchase will bring scale to its suite of advertising tools for advertisers, agencies and publishers, including the company’s new Project Devil display advertising format – which it intends to roll out across all AOL Media sites by March 31, 2011.

Pictela will remain a separate group within AOL Advertising, based in New York, and will continue to provide its products and services to its many partners.

Jeff Levick, AOL’s President of Global Advertising and Strategy, commented thusly:

“Pictela’s product development team is best-in-class, and its beautiful, content rich, media display formats meet Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Online Publishers Association (OPA) standards that run across AOL Media properties and other publisher sites.

We’ve taken one important step towards spotlighting quality ad content with Project Devil on AOL Media properties, and now we’re taking a second by bringing Pictela into the AOL Advertising family.”

The purchase of Pictela, founded in 2009, marks the first acquisition for AOL’s Advertising unit since the company regained its independence in December 2009. For AOL as a whole, it’s the fifth acquisition this year, after StudioNow, 5min Media, Thing Labs and, well, us.

Coincidentally, one of the co-founders and CEO of Pictela is Greg Rogers, previously VP of Sales Strategy for TACODA, a behavioral targeting online ad network that was acquired by AOL back in 2007.

AOL was already a Pictela partner, as are Microsoft, Yahoo, Time Inc, Conde Nast, Glam Media, Demand Media and plenty of other publishers.

(Disclosure: AOL is also the owner of TechCrunch)