Yahoo introduced a new native ad feature on Thursday that enables marketers to target audiences through Yahoo Mail – and no, it’s not email marketing.
The digital advertisements are instead highlighted at the top of an inbox when a Yahoo Mail user logs in.
“The ad at the top of each user's inbox can open like an email, and be read, saved, clicked or forwarded, with reporting available on each type of interaction,” writes Avinash Chukka, product manager at Yahoo, in a blog post announcing the news.
Chukka describes the new Yahoo advertising feature as a way for marketers to deliver highly relevant messages while keeping cost considerations in mind. Since Yahoo Mail users are logged in to their accounts when they see the display, Yahoo can offer a variety of finite targeting options for marketers.
Marketers have the ability to segment messaging based on age, gender and interest, as well as through custom audiences designed by the marketer. This could include the advertiser’s own list of email addresses, guaranteeing that a subscriber views an advertisement even if an email is not opened or clicked on.
Since the mail ads are served through Yahoo Gemini, the new native advertising feature has the same set of targeting capabilities. Marketers can now find an option to “Optimize ad for Yahoo Mail” in their Gemini campaigns, and advertisers can also access the feature via API.
“Users are task oriented when they open their Yahoo Mail inbox and are prepared to take action on messages that they see,” writes Chukka. “For this reason email marketing continues to be a highly effective channel. Moreover, users prefer a native ad experience, and are nearly four times more likely to click on native ads, as compared to traditional display.”
In a series of pilot tests with beta customers, Yahoo claims that mail ads consistently outperformed standard native advertisements, beating industry benchmark engagement rates. Merkel Periscopix, a digital marketing agency, found that Yahoo’s email ads produced 1000% the click-through-rate of Gmail ads while costing 50% less.