Yahoo Makes Aggressive Pitch For TV Dollars, Releases New Mobile Units

Yahoo plans to release research Thursday supporting why traditional media buyers might want to pull time on broadcast TV to allocate budgets to mobile advertising. Supporting consumer behavior, the data accompanies the rollout of three rich media formats: Yahoo Mobile Screen Takeover, Yahoo Mobile Customized Expandable Ads, and iPad Tap to Video Ads.

Traditional advertisers who remove one or two TV ads from their mix will not notice any difference on the performance of that campaign if they allocate those funds toward mobile to find new audiences, according to Paul Cushman, senior director of mobile sales strategy at Yahoo. "A creative director who says he can't do anything with mobile is last year's story," he says. "HTML5 will become the major driver for scale and engagement within mobile. The ability for it to provide an app-like experience is significant and should not be underestimated."

Cushman, a mobile evangelist, says brands continue to waste ad dollars. The numbers revealing this trend sit behind Yahoo's firewall in mail and Front-Page data, Yahoo's "crown jewel," of which third-party companies can't gain access. The critical data suggests that consumers reach for their mobile devices while watching TV during a commercial break.

Yahoo supports between 49 million and 50 million unique mobile Internet users monthly. Commercial breaks during live TV events drive mobile Internet use, according to Cushman. Yahoo's analysis of consumer activity across the company's network found a correlation between TV commercial breaks and spikes in mobile Internet use. During commercials that ran with the 2010 Academy Awards, traffic and engagement on the Yahoo Mobile site increased on average 12%. Browser activity rose 125% on Yahoo News. Users consumed 39% more content on Yahoo Front Page, search rose 13%, and users checked and sent email 6% more.

Similarly, for the 2010 World Cup, traffic and engagement on the Yahoo Mobile site rose on average of 10% during commercials. Browsing activity rose 57% on Yahoo News, 24% more users consumed content on Yahoo Front Page, and search activity rose 12% on Yahoo Search.

Yahoo has offered the expandable ad format for more than a year, but customized the offering and began designing the other two formats during the past year to create a package for advertisers. Consumers are becoming more comfortable with mobile ads. Research from Yahoo Mobile and Nielsen suggests that the immediacy and portability of the mobile phone drives conversions. When consumers use their mobile phone to do research, about half the time they plan to make a purchase.

Yahoo isn't the only ad tech company capitalizing on mobile. Google also touted Wednesday high returns on investments for mobile ads on Google's network. Dai Pham, who supports Google mobile ads product marketing, writes in a blog post that Roy's restaurant managed to achieve click-though rates 539% higher on mobile than on desktop by investing in mobile-specific campaigns and hyperlocal advertising.

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2 comments about "Yahoo Makes Aggressive Pitch For TV Dollars, Releases New Mobile Units".
  1. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc. , December 9, 2010 at 12:18 p.m.

    I can't think of the last time I just "sat there and watched TV" - 90% of my viewing is via OnDemand, so TV ad dollars (with the exception of the odd in-show programming promo) can't reach me there. It's true - I often watch OnDemand with Droid in hand, tho'. I think it's more than a bit strange that this article lives on the same page with this headline "Americans Ignore Internet Ads Far More Than TV" So, essentially, Yahoo is pitching people to come view a medium where ads are "more ignored" than on broadcast.

  2. Chris Nielsen from Domain Incubation , December 9, 2010 at 4:56 p.m.

    I hear stories about mobile offering great returns for some advertisers, and it may be true for some. We have a client that did 2 tests of mobile, one self-managed and one vendor-managed. Almost all of the ad spend was wasted. We didn't even get a proper apology. :-)

    Suggestions for those trying mobile:

    1) Fully understand how it works and what it will and won't do. It's new for you and for your provider. Make sure they don't know they are lying to you. This happened to us. "Oh, I guess it doesn't really work that way after all...!"

    2) TRACK CONVERSIONS. Alwasy important, it's moreso with mobile.

    3) Mobile MAY be more prone to click fraud. The results we saw point in that direction. If so, look for this to increase as the fraudsters figure it out.

    4) Click-to-Call worked much better for us than just clicks to a web site. Once you get to the web site, what are you going to do with that little screen and keyboard? Test a mobile landing page with simple options. Net time we will.

    But click to call as our provider has it has a HUGE fraud loophole. We saw fewer calls that the provider reported. In talking about it we both admitted that some callers may hang up after starting the call. But the advertiser STILL GETS CHARGED EVEN IF THE CALL DOES NOT COMPLETE ON THE ADVERTISERS END. So you pay for it even if the provider's system drops the call, or a link in the call chain has a problem.

    Worse, we were told that once a user clicks to call, the phone asks them if they really want to call. If they say no, THE ADVERTISER STILL GETS CHARGED FOR THE "CALL" that was never really made. This came from our (large and you may know the name) provider. Ask so you know. Then you can better assess if your mobile ad campaign is really working for you, or someone else. :-(