Yahoo on Monday confirmed extending its native Stream ads to third-party sites through a content recommendation engine that includes sponsored posts. The new offering, dubbed Yahoo Recommends, suggests other articles or content from the same site someone is using, along with a native unit labeled as “Sponsored” and featuring a dollar sign icon in small grey fonts.
Yahoo said the recommendations are guided by its personalization technology, so if someone is signed in to their Yahoo account, the “Powered by” tag at the bottom right corner includes their first name of the user, as in “Powered by Yahoo for Rajiv.” The formatting of Yahoo Recommends will also be tailored to the screen it’s shown on, whether mobile or desktop.
Among the initial publishers using the new ad tool -- first reported by Ad Age last month -- are Hearst, VOX and CBS Interactive. Yahoo has ad revenue sharing arrangements with publisher partners, but didn’t provide further detail. Ads are served through Yahoo’s Gemini platform for buying mobile search and native ads.
“Yahoo Recommends makes it easier for visitors to discover a publisher's content and integrates an additional native advertising unit onto their site. We know first-hand the combination of personalization and premium content works for users, and we’ve created Yahoo Recommends so advertisers and publishers can put that powerful combination to work too,” stated the company in a blog post.
Recommendation widgets from companies like Outbrain and Taboola that mix organic and sponsored content have become ubiquitous across the Web as publishers try to boost traffic and increase ad revenue beyond traditional display formats. Yahoo’s version is different than some in that it only promotes content from a publisher’s own site, along with an ad.
But given Yahoo’s continuing struggles to rebuild its display business, publishers may not be convinced it has the Midas touch when it comes to native advertising. The Web giant, which says that 40% of its ad units are now native, saw display ad revenue fall 7% in the second quarter after quarterly declines throughout 2013.
If Yahoo Recommends gains traction with outside publishers, it could help the company mitigate its display ad woes. Yahoo did not respond to a media inquiry about how many publishers overall have adopted its native ads so far.