Yahoo's Facebook And Twitter Integration Pulls In Social Ads
Although social has become the way people share information, don't expect Yahoo to build its own network. The company plans to become a social aggregator. The deeper integration will Facebook signals the beginning. The tools released today allow people to connect their Yahoo and Facebook accounts and access their entire news feed on Yahoo, as well as share content created with their friends. Yahoo will release similar tools for Twitter within the next few months, followed by integration with other social networks, from text to games.
Simms, who runs Yahoo's product open strategy (YOS) group, has been working to build out services for about two years. The backend integration made possible through a newsfeed-like platform, Yahoo Updates, also lets people read Facebook status messages from friends through a set of "relationship" technologies such as Address Book or Messenger Buddy list.
Expect in the coming months companies like Zynga to build games with technology on the Yahoo network and syndicate them out through the Updates channel across Yahoo sites, Facebook and other social networks. "We have other social networks coming into the network, too," Simms says.
Zynga, the company behind the social games Farmville and Mafia Wars, agreed to integrate its games into the Yahoo Application Platform (YAP), making them available to people throughout the Yahoo network.
Facebook continues to take heat from what industry experts call "soft" privacy settings, but Yahoo Pulse, built as a dashboard, will have a privacy menu setting that provide those who use the search engine's network with a variety of options. The features will become more important as Facebook continues to grabble with members who think their settings are still too difficult to understand. Simms says Yahoo "bakes" privacy into products during the development cycle. When people create updates on the Yahoo network, an information box pops up to tell the person their action will create a public update.
The social mantra has advantages for advertisers, too. Yahoo plans to launch tools that let people comment on or share parts of a display ad in a social message to friends within their social graph, explains Figueroa. Yahoo wants to understand the "power of the connectors, because not all users will engage with particular brands the same way."
The social advertising tools will launch in the July to September quarter. It will give Yahoo a better understanding on how the information from the display ad gets shared and the strengths of the person sharing the ad parts through their social graph. Yahoo can monitor and track modules and plans to give advertisers reports that identify the pieces being shared through Facebook, Twitter or other social networks. The non-personally identifiable information includes click-through rates, engagement and more.
Reliable-SEO Founder David Harry saw it coming for years. "You could see the interest and the shift in focus over the last few years toward social through Yahoo's patent filing," he says. "This is easily one of the better parts of a search and social partnership with Microsoft."
Harry says Yahoo, consistently, during the last few years filed for, along with being awarded, far more social-related patents, compared with Microsoft or Google. And this is certainly one thing the Microsoft and Yahoo partnership might bring to bear against Google, he adds, explaining that traditionally Google hasn't done social well. He points to several social-related patents that may shed light on Yahoo's future strategy.