Yahoo is getting back into the business of serving contextual ads on third-party sites through a new partnership with Media.net. The program allows publishers to use the Media.net platform to create and customize ad units displaying relevant text ads from across the Yahoo Bing Network -- the new name for the combined Yahoo-Bing search ad marketplace.
The move comes two years after Yahoo shuttered its Yahoo Publisher Network that competed with Google’s AdSense program, helping publishing partners monetize their sites on a cost-per-click basis by serving contextually relevant ads. At the time, Yahoo didn’t specify its reasons for closing the network, but it clearly sees an opportunity to re-enter the contextual ad space in tandem with Media.net.
Under their agreement, Media.net will exclusively manage technology, business operations and relationships with publishers worldwide for the program. Yahoo will oversee technology, business operations and relationships with advertisers and drive advertiser sales. It will also be responsible for meeting quality traffic standards.
Since its inception, Media.net has invested tremendous resources -- people, capital and time -- to build what Yahoo identifies to be a terrific monetization solution for Web publishers,” said Al Echamendi, VP, business development at Yahoo, in a statement.
For his part, Media.net founder and CEO Divyank Turakhia, said the partnership would allow the company to offer publishers a solution that helps them generate additional revenue while providing control and flexibility. The company says it has contextually optimized over $200 million worth of Internet traffic and is expanding rapidly, with plans to reach 500 employees by year's end.
Among the key features of its contextual ad program with Yahoo:
- Ad creation: Ads can be added to a publisher’s site in minutes using the Media.net-powered self-serve platform. Publishers can select an ad size and copy-paste the HTML provided on their Web pages to start displaying targeted sponsored links and ad topics.
- Customization: Publishers can choose from multiple ad sizes, skin the ads to match their look-and-feel requirements, and even request highly customized ad units.
- Targeting: Proprietary Media.net technology scans all the content on Web pages and delivers highly relevant ads.
- Optimization: Ad units consist of sponsored links, ad topics or a combination of both, as determined on an impression-by-impression basis to maximize ad yield.
- Mobile ads: Publishers can choose to display mobile optimized ad units on their Web pages to users browsing the site from any iOS (iPhone, iPad and iTouch), Android and BlackBerry phone or tablet.
The program is currently limited to Web sites that get the majority of their traffic from the U.S., Canada or the U.K. Advertisers can access this publisher inventory by signing up with the Yahoo Bing Network. Existing network advertisers will have automatic access if they have opted to distribute their ads to syndicated search partners or opted in to advertise on the content network.
The Yahoo Bing Network reaches an audience of 151 million unique searchers in the U.S. and 489 million worldwide.
Google is expected to end the year as the top player in U.S. display advertising, with 15.4% share of the market based on revenue, according to an eMarketer forecast released last week. Yahoo is projected to finish behind Google and Facebook, with 9.3% of the display market, down from 14% in 2010. Whether its new contextual ad offering can help Yahoo take back any share from AdSense remains to be seen.