Yahoo Enlists Cox For Political Advertising

Yahoo has struck a deal with Cox Digital Solutions to handle political advertising sales on the Web portal as the 2012 election cycle gets underway. The move comes as Cox expands its online ad targeting options to include advertising segmented by congressional district and opens a Washington, D.C. office.

Under their agreement, Cox will be the exclusive national seller of political, issue and advocacy advertising across Yahoo properties, including Sports, News and Finance. Yahoo says it is tapping into Cox’s expertise in selling political advertising across cable TV, online and mobile, while its own sales staff continues to focus on working with big brand marketers and Madison Avenue.

With a monthly U.S. audience of 175 million, Yahoo reaches nearly 90% of the online voting-age adults each month. In addition to Yahoo’s own properties, Cox Digital will provide political advertising across its own network of vertical content and local media sites, reaching 157 million unique users.

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Its targeting efforts combine IP address-mapping with proprietary data to find voters that an advertiser is trying to reach within a given congressional district.

Cox Digital President Steve Shaw said talks with Yahoo about the partnership began about six months ago as the companies looked at combining Cox’s specialty in political advertising with Yahoo’s audience scale to offer advertisers “something truly groundbreaking” in the upcoming presidential election year.

Spending on political advertising overall in 2012 is expected to hit $4 billion -- up 30% from four years ago, according to an estimate last month by MediaVest. While TV will continue to attract the bulk of ad dollars, spending will be spread across a broader range of media, including social media.

In November, Yahoo began gearing up for the 2012 political season by launching expanded election coverage with ABC News, along with a variety of new online shows, blogs and interactive tools focusing on political and economic issues. The company’s partnership with Cox Digital, a division of Cox Reps and part of the Cox Media Group, will last through November 2012. Financial terms of the ad deal were not disclosed.

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