Parlez-Vous Mobile? Yahoo, Publicis Hook Up For Wireless Ad Initiative
The mobile initiative is intended to provide Publicis with the tools to help clients target and personalize mobile messages across a wide spectrum of wireless devices and networks worldwide.
The partnership has two main parts. One involves Phonevalley, Publicis' mobile marketing agency, adopting Yahoo's Blueprint mobile developer language to make it easier and quicker to launch campaigns that can run across a variety of devices and mobile browsers.
"It's a 'write once, publish anywhere' platform," said David Katz, vice president for mobile advertisers and publishers at Yahoo. "We're trying to solve the complexity in mobile today and make it simple." Blueprint also ties into Yahoo's broader strategic goal of making its digital properties more open and interconnected.
Paris-based Phonevalley currently operates mainly in Europe, but has begun pushing into the U.S. market as well.
The other aspect of the deal allows Publicis to extend Yahoo's Smart Ads technology to mobile phones. The Smart Ads program delivers display ads tailored to highly targeted audiences based on factors such as location, age, gender and online activities.
In the mobile arena, the technology will enable advertisers to send out numerous permutations of a given brand's message. Publicis will take advantage of the system through its ability to develop personalized microsites, or landing pages, when someone clicks on a "smart mobile ad."
The prospects for location-based advertising and marketing are expected to be especially promising through Smart Ads on cell phones.
While Publicis may be the first holding company to integrate Yahoo's mobile technologies, the partnership is non-exclusive. "We expect to see other agencies do this," said Katz, in regard to adopting its Blueprint platform.
As part of the overall VivaKi initiative, Publicis will also integrate its media-buying systems with Yahoo's Right Media Exchange and its forthcoming AMP platform intended to streamline the buying and selling of online display advertising.
Katz described mobile advertising as a "small but fast-growing" part of Yahoo's overall revenues. While the impact of the Yahoo-Publicis deal is difficult to gauge, any steps that bring Madison Avenue and the mobile world closer together should help boost mobile advertising.
"Some of the major barriers to growth in mobile advertising have been the lack of a repeatable process, widespread adoption of ad unit standards and effectiveness measures," said Jeff Janer, former CMO of mobile ad platform Third Screen Media. "To the extent that large buyers and sellers realize the need and work together to overcome these obstacles, they'll both benefit."