Yahoo! Labs' Raghavan On Serving The Marketer With Research

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Yahoo LabsYahoo! recently announced that its Yahoo! Labs unit formed a special group seven months ago known as Yahoo! AdLabs whose focus is "to help advertisers get more out of their marketing dollars by combining research and data mining with watching how users interact with ads," according to Computerworld. Read more about the group's recent studies and focus in display advertising.

Prabhakar Raghavan, SVP, Chief Scientist & Head of Yahoo! Labs discussed AdLabs and its mission with AdExchanger.com.

AdExchanger.com: How do you see AdLabs serving the marketer?

PB: AdLabs will serve the marketer in two ways. We will regularly share our ad research with the industry, which will help marketers execute more effective digital programs and campaigns. Secondly, some of our research will lead to new ad products. This means marketers will get access to ad innovations sooner.

What are the key performance indicators that you will look at to ensure that AdLabs is successful?

Ultimately AdLabs will be measured on display ad sales and the extent to which our research helps advertisers improve their campaigns and move spend online. But, the components AdLabs can most impact include increasing the general customer understanding of digital advertising and testing new ad innovations.

How will AdLabs inform Yahoo!’s ad technology strategy and interface with Yahoo!’s advertising product management?

Advertising research isn’t new at Yahoo!.

Since the founding of Yahoo! Labs in 2005, we have  produced breakthrough research and innovations that have been instrumental in developing Yahoo!'s advertising products. We really laid the foundation of scientific research and innovative data analysis for what we believe at Yahoo! is the world's most advanced display advertising marketplace and the world's most effective ad targeting capabilities.

Yahoo! AdLabs will continue to help us improve and accelerate the Yahoo! ad products we’re offering our advertising partners and marketers. To do this, we will mine Yahoo!’s vast historical repository of campaigns and associated metrics to inform our product innovations. We will also work directly with key advertising and data partners to test some of the insights we uncover.

Do you think effective cross-channel attribution models (digital only or online/offline) are possible?  Can you see this as an area of focus for AdLabs?

This is a hot topic in the industry and is currently under study at Yahoo! AdLabs.  We do not yet know that full attribution can be done accurately in a scientific way. That being said, we now have methods available to provide partial solutions to a number of attribution questions.  Look for an upcoming blog post on this topic from Ken Mallon, who is leading our AdLabs team.

What are the upcoming studies that you are particularly excited about? Or, are there topics that you look forward to addressing in future studies?

We’re planning to begin testing a new targeting method soon and are excited about the prospects.  In addition, we’ll shortly be embarking on a deep analysis of the Yahoo! Consumer Direct closed-loop evaluations we’ve executed for CPG advertising in partnership with ACNielsen.  We’re hopeful the results can provide more insight into what works best within specific CPG sub-categories.  We’re also investigating research we’d like to conduct on Yahoo!’s new Livestand digital newstand product, as well as our SmartAds display ad solutions.

By John Ebbert

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