Native advertising will have a major influence on wearable devices. Berg Insight estimates that shipments of connected wearable devices will reach 19 million units in 2014, growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 54.7% to 168.2 million shipments by 2019. Search Marketing Daily recently sat down with Leo Polanowski, head of client services at Yahoo, to discuss the future of the Gemini ad platform for mobile, and the future of search.
SMD: How do you see the Gemini ad unit serving up in wearable devices?
Polanowski: The wearable market will become an interesting extension for Gemini, which we built as a mobile-first platform. Yes, there are keywords and a campaign structure, but we build features where you can point us to your site and we quickly build an ad format to fit in a browser or an app. It also dynamically configures on the fly. As form factors and wearable devices are released, we can take the same underlying infrastructure and quickly create an ad format to work in that environment. Today, Gemini offers more than 60 permutations. The concept requires brands to give us some basic elements like rich image, thumbnail image, title, description, and landing page. Then we dynamically create the advertisement.
SMD: How do you see the Gemini ad unit looking in wearable devices?
Polanowski: We work with the Apple OS, so if the watch-wearer uses to a Yahoo Sports wearable applet, our ads will appear in the app. (There are opportunities for Gemini ads to serve up in Yahoo News Digest supported on the iWatch.) We don't have an operating system, so we can partner with Microsoft, Google, and Apple, which works to our benefit.
SMD: Do you see specific trends for Gemini in 2015?
Polanowski: We see a movement beyond the keyword, somewhere Gemini can push the boundaries. We built it as a search and a native platform. If you look at the way search continues to evolve from text based to more rich formats, where you use images, video, and creative rich assets, and then look at the old display world that came from huge banners shrunk down from more performance units. They start to look almost the same. You can in Gemini run one campaign with one ad format, because it's really about the targeting options. It uses a comprehensive set of intent signals, but looks different depending on the magazine, mobile phone or app. That's where I see search going in 2015.
SMD: Yahoo also has a database matching entities, rather than keywords, similar to Google Knowledge Graph and Bing Satori. How would you describe it?
Polanowski: It's a massive database that takes all the audience data across search, mail, and content. About 1.5 to two years ago, when we redesigned the front page of Yahoo and we rolled out the personalized content stream, so we can actively or passively read the signal as readers click through the pages, articles and content. We start building a profile. It's the foundation of our intra-space targeting available in Gemini. Search is also part of that signal. It's how Yahoo personalizes content on Yahoo and Yahoo Recommends, a technology launched in September 2014 that generates personalized content recommendations and a native advertising experience for users.