Yahoo! framed the move as an attempt to make ads easier for users to read, but some search marketers say the decision also seems designed to court advertisers. Josh Stylman, a managing partner at Reprise Media, said it's likely that Yahoo! believes it will be easier for advertisers to run campaigns on both Yahoo! and Google if they can use the same creative text. "It's interesting that Yahoo! is moving in line with Google. It would obviously make it easier for Google clients to test Yahoo!," Stylman said.
He added that Yahoo! is playing catch-up with Google. "Yahoo!'s clearly got many fewer advertisers than Google at this stage," he said.
Another rationale behind the move could also be to free up advertising space on the Yahoo! Publishing Network--Yahoo!'s answer to Google's AdSense. The move "should make the service more appealing to publishers, and allow [Yahoo!] to compete directly with AdSense for publisher real estate," said Bryan Wiener, president of 360i.
And, ultimately, seeing the ad unit sizes come together will allow advertisers to spend less time character-crunching, and more time moving products. "Standardization is a good thing," Wiener said. "It allows advertisers to focus more on other variables that drive ROI."