Yahoo on Tuesday announced several new ad initiatives at CES, along with unveiling its glossy new Tech and Food sites and its acquisition of mobile startup Aviate. The ad moves included the launch of Yahoo Audience Ads for more granular targeting, a new self-serve ad-buying system called Yahoo Ad Manager and an upgrade of its Right Media Exchange for programmatic buying.
With the company’s displaying ad revenue declining the last two quarters, Yahoo is counting on the new ad offerings to help reverse that trend. RTM Daily caught up with Scott Burke, SVP of advertising and data platforms at Yahoo, to follow up on the ad developments.
MP: If Yahoo is seen as having fallen behind in the programmatic buying market, how does the Yahoo Ad Exchange announced this week improve on Yahoo’s standing in that regard?
SB: Part of launching the Yahoo Ad Exchange was to tie together the product lines and the branding. We also have been pretty busy making investments in the programmatic platform, so several of the announcements are what I would classify as programmatic, including the Yahoo Ad Exchange, but also Audience Ads. With Yahoo Audience Ads, you're now going to be able to use the best data set out there, which is the combination of Yahoo data, advertiser data and third-party data, not just for retargeting on Yahoo properties, but also off-network.
We’re scaling up our audience-buying capability to operate on- and off-network, and that’s really important for the programmatic buyers because most have an audience they want to reach. As important as the exchange itself is our new audience ads capability to buy on- and off-network using the same audience definitions.
MP: Do you think agencies and advertisers now mainly want to make audience-based buys on Yahoo rather than against specific content?
SB: Agencies are multi-objective marketers. What we’re hearing is marketers want to be able to tell stories, and to execute storytelling you have to be able to start at the top with branding and content. At the top of the funnel, when you deliver a site like Yahoo Food, it’s an integrated experience with a lot of content from Yahoo and advertisers like Knorr. We’re tying together the ability of the advertiser and agency to build brands at the top of the funnel and then translate that down into buying Yahoo Audience Ads, buying the Yahoo Ad Exchange, because many of those advertisers also have objectives around performance.
MP: Can you discuss the new self-serve Ad Manager tool and how it streamlines the ad-buying process?
SB: You want to have one tool set where the agency or advertiser logs in -- the Ad Manager -- or if they’re more sophisticated, we have what call a Plus account. Yahoo Ad Manager Plus enables you to buy Audience Ads. The other thing you can buy is Yahoo Premium Ads, and we’ve launched previously something called Programmatic Guaranteed. If I’ve negotiated rates with the advertiser for guaranteed buying, then once that’s in place, you can now log in and execute all your campaigns against the premium inventory.
MP: With regard to sponsored posts on Tumblr, what kind of targeting is available that wasn’t previously?
SB: The new targeting forms available are gender and geotargeting. It’s the same Tumblr sponsored posts ad format and same tools to buy them, but we’ve shifted it to be powered by Yahoo Advertising. The other thing that changes in that the pricing model moves from impression-based to engagement-based. The brand buyer can think about CPE as their pricing model and shift more of the responsibility to Yahoo and Tumblr to optimize and deliver the right ad to the right user at the right time.
MP: Will Tumblr users will see any more ads on the site as a result of the change?
SB: I don’t believe so. I believe that’s all consistent with current practice.
MP: Can you give any insight on how Yahoo’s native ad formats, especially Stream Ads, have performed to date?
SB: We don’t tend to break out individual ad products. But one thing I can say is we’ve seen rapid growth of native advertising, rapid growth in mobile advertising, and third in that trio has been programmatic. So we’re really pleased with growth in Stream Ads and Image Ads, and happy with the momentum we have in the new product areas we’re investing in.
MP: Can you provide any numbers in relation to the growth of native ads?
SB: We have decided not to do any category breakout in the different forms of ads beyond what you see today between display and search.