Agencies Dish Pros, Cons Of Yahoo Gemini

Some confusion around Yahoo Gemini could stifle growth for the company's budding advertising platform, although more often than not, positive returns on investments outweigh the negative, according to many agency executives.

As an agency it adds work to the budgeting and the planning processes, said Daniel Wilkinson, executive VP at Jellyfish. 

Working with an unidentified university, Jellyfish reduced the cost per click (CPC) by 40% during the past year by testing ways to optimize the amount spent daily on campaigns running through Gemini.

"We increased the amount of spend through the Gemini channel by 400%, and the more we push money into it, the better results we get," Wilkinson said. "Our lead conversion rate, all the way down the funnel to students, is much higher than what we get through some of our other channels."



Yahoo Gemini, a marketplace, supports a hybrid display ad unit where images complement text and serve up as a native ad in the stream of content. Placement is bought on a per-click basis, similar to search engine advertisements. The platform also serves up search ads across Yahoo's network of sites, which continues to eat away at the number of ads served by Microsoft Bing through an amended agreement signed in April. Gemini gives advertisers one place to purchase native ad units and search advertisements. Native ads are triggered by the content on the page vs. keywords for search advertising.

Up to 40% of search advertisements that once served up in query results through the combined Yahoo-Bing network now serve through the Gemini platform, said Daniel Wilkinson, executive VP at ad agency Jellyfish.

Yahoo's Gemini platform is key to the company's future in mobile advertising, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said during the last earnings call. 

Building Gemini from scratch creates teething problems, Wilkinson admits, and he believes that even the quality of the inventory on the Google Display Network isn't as good as the Yahoo Gemini network.

Scott Linzer, SVP and managing director at Ecselis, said the Havas Digital company uses Gemini to support several search advertising clients in the U.S. "We did a fast analysis, and results are comparable to Google with respect to click-through rates and CPCs," he said. "However, impression volume does not have the scale of the Google properties by a good margin."

Weighing the pros and cons, Brian Valentini, VP/group director of search marketing at DigitasLBi, sees positive results for campaigns running in Gemini. "Often times the CPCs are much more efficient than traditional search, Stream Ads, and the CPCs on their mobile platform are also more efficient typically than Bing and AdWords," he said.

Challenges exist. The platform does not integrate with ad servers such as DoubleClick Search. The user interface is clunky and not intuitive. It's time-consuming to manage another buy platform after agencies became accustomed to managing Bing and Yahoo together. "It's still unclear if Yahoo Gemini will be consistent, because it seems to come in waves, and service differs by vertical market," Valentini said.

The positives point to farther reach, more efficient ad targeting, granular mobile targeting options, and insight into how Yahoo traffic performs, which far outweigh the negatives, Valentini said.  

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