"We want to signal that advertising is a core part of the Yahoo
brand proposition to agencies and advertisers," Scott Burke, senior
VP-advertising technology at Yahoo, said .
Yahoo's aging ad exchange Right Media will be renamed Yahoo Ad
Exchange, and 18-month-old audience-targeting program Genome will
be dubbed Yahoo Audience Ads. The company is also taking the wraps
off its automated ad buying tool, Yahoo Ad Manager.
Yahoo was an early leader in automated ad buying with its 2007
acquisition of Right Media, but since then it has struggled to keep
pace. Yahoo's display advertising business has experienced four
straight quarters of year-over-year revenue declines. During
Yahoo's second-quarter earnings call in 2013, Yahoo CEO Marissa
Mayer said that the
rise of automated ad buying had hurt Yahoo's display ad
Focused on ad tech
But Yahoo is looking to reverse that. Yahoo M&A chief
Jacqueline Reses has told several groups of advertisers at the
Consumer Electronics Show that the company is "intensely focused"
on ad tech and will be making more deals in the coming year.
Media buyers have the right to be skeptical. Yahoo publicly
recommitted to updating its Right Media exchange in September 2012,
but buyers have continued to complain that its technology is
But Mr. Burke said Yahoo Ad Exchange is more than just a rebrand
of Right Media and "closer to a whole new exchange." For example,
Yahoo is now allowing publishers to set up their own private
exchanges using the technology.
The exchange will still handle more traditional automated ad
buys based on a combination of Yahoo audience data, third-party
data and the advertisers' own data. Then Yahoo's technology finds
people who fit those parameters across its owned-and-operated
properties as well as on non-Yahoo sites.
Yahoo is also finally applying more of its ad-tech heft to Tumblr,
the microblogging service it acquired last May. Tumblr's
in-stream Sponsored Post ads will now be called Sponsored Posts
Powered by Yahoo Advertising. Advertisers will now be able to
target these ads based on people's gender and geolocation (state
and select DMAs) and will only pay when the ads elicit Tumblr user
actions such as reblogs, follows and likes.
Yahoo's photo-sharing site Flickr already runs standard display
ads, but Mr. Burke suggested it will eventually receive the
"native" treatment, if it hasn't already. "Having Image Ads enables
us to experiment with that kind of ad product in our image
products," Mr. Burke said. Asked if Yahoo is already testing those
types of ads on Flickr, he said "I'm sure there are buckets out
In addition to the ad news, Yahoo made a wave of product
announcements on Tuesday during Ms. Mayer's keynote at
International CES. Here's a summary:
Aviate acquisition: Yahoo acquired a startup called Aviate that
bills itself as "the intelligent home screen." Ms. Mayer said the
company automatically organizes people's mobile apps "based on
contextual clues bringing you what you need when you need it."
Yahoo News Digest: A mobile app that delivers two daily
summaries of the day's news. Stories are sourced from news
publishers and aggregated by computer algorithms that spit out a
condensed version including text, photos, videos, maps, Wikipedia
entries, tweets and links to the original sources.
Digital magazines: Yahoo has updated its food and tech sites
with more visual layouts that organize articles and videos as
tiles. People click on a tile to expand the article in the window,
as opposed to opening a new web page. Yahoo has adopted the
full-screen magazine-style ads popularized by Vox Media and Say Media last year that appear
within an article as people scroll though it.
Yahoo Smart TV: Yahoo is rolling out a revamped product for
connected TVs and set-top boxes that streams live TV, video on
demand and online video. Yahoo Smart TV will include a programming
guide that uses content recognition and personalization technology
to track what people watch on live TV, video on demand and online.
The service will also run interactive, targeted video ads that have
been tested by Best Buy, FedEx and Verizon Wireless.