Yahoo to Sell Ads on

Portal's President Sue Decker Sees Vast Opportunities Beyond Search

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NEW YORK ( -- Yahoo is getting back to its roots, to the online ad category that has always been its strength, display advertising. And in doing so, it has snapped up an unusual new publisher: Wal-Mart.
Sue Decker
Sue Decker Credit: Yahoo

The discount retailer has long worked with Yahoo as an advertiser but will now have Yahoo sell advertising on, another sign that companies which previously never considered themselves media companies are today, in effect, media companies. Wal-Mart also recently launched a free classified service.

Shoppers aren't just in stores
Yahoo now reaches 76% of the retail audience, Yahoo President Sue Decker said, which helps it target consumers who are clearly in the market to buy things.

But the Wal-Mart announcement was just one in a series that Yahoo made today as Ms. Decker declared that there's a huge transformation in display inventory. Yahoo/Wal-Mart Deal Further Blurs Publisher-Retailer Line

Ms. Decker made her comments at this morning's Advertising Age and Digital Hollywood Advertising 2.0 conference in Manhattan. While search advertising is a good business, she said, "The opportunity outside of search is actually much larger. [The opportunity outside of search] represents about 90% of inventory, it's growing faster and is about 60% of all dollars."

She also noted that Yahoo has added 93 more newspapers to its newspaper consortium, which brings the total to about 800 local papers. "We think this is a validation of what the industry sees as the next-generation platform," she said. And joining Yahoo's recently announced advertising-management platform, or AMP, is Havas Digital. Within the next year, Yahoo will introduce an agency-side ad-serving tool.

Circulars move online
Yahoo is also launching a circular retail program, which aims to extend the newspaper circular business online. Yahoo is bringing its SmartAds product, which generates ads on the fly based on known user intent, with a company called ShopLocal.

The reasoning behind the launch, Ms. Decker said, is that advertisers are struggling to get the mass and scale that works so well in newspaper circulars but customize the offers based on targeting. Retailer Target is the first customer.

In a question-and-answer session after Ms. Decker's short speech, Ad Age Editor Jonah Bloom asked Ms. Decker if Yahoo has turned its focus to display.

Ms. Decker said she didn't want to imply that Yahoo was turning away from search to focus on display. "As a company we felt we had to get our search assets up to industry competitiveness before we did this," she said, adding that search queries are valuable to understanding what a consumer cares about and are equally useful for non-search advertising such as display and video. "Search was a precursor to this. ... Search is very much a part of our vision, and we intend to be a principal in search as well as a principal in display."
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