Reverse Course! Display Ad Retargeters Buying Yahoo! O&O Through Right Media Exchange

After being banned from buying Yahoo! owned & operated inventory in early November, it appears that retargeters are being allowed to return to Right Media Exchange (RMX) and taste Yahoo!’s (by all accounts) high-performing display media.

Let’s go to the AdExchanger diagram so you can see how the retargeting magic is happening. This will assume that you’re reading this while the campaign is still running.

The Examples

Visit this beautiful new “Structures Bronze 37 1/2″ Wide Three Light Chandelier” that also has a Criteo pixel running on it – pixel data courtesy of Evidon’s Ghostery plug-in. Oh, and Criteo lists Lamps Plus as a client on its site.


At this point, a pixel is dropped in your browser.

Now visit, Yahoo! Finance. You will now be retargeted (or eventually) with a Lamps Plus ad for that EXACT product – assuming you accept cookies. (Why wouldn’t you? Retargeting is fun!) The ad should be above the fold and on the right. It was for me, anyway.


Need more?

Try some beautiful new ‘Death Stars’ a.k.a. ‘Rockport Men’s World Tour Classic’ on with a TellApart and RMX pixel to boot. is listed as a TA client on the company home page.

A pixel is dropped in your browser.  Feels so good.

Again, go visit Yahoo! Finance. You will be retargeted with an ad assuming you accept cookies.  (Fun, right?) The ad was on the lower right side for me this time.

We are awaiting Yahoo!’s confirmation on all this.  By the way, whoever is targeting me with granite in Pensacola should save their money. Just saying.

What’s It Mean?

This marks a strategy shift in the post-Scott-Thompson, ‘post-geting-rid-of-cherry-pickers’ era, as Yahoo! may now be more concerned about driving yield – in the case of ecommerce retargeters – than a walled garden approach to its inventory. Retargeters were entirely booted -couldn’t touch a piece of Yahoo! O&O inventory. Now, they’re back.

Could DSPs/ad networks be allowed to buy from their own seats on behalf of big brand clients rather than clients being required to have their own seat on Right Media Exchange next? Currently, as far as we know, that’s a no-go.

So what’s it mean for the Yahoo!-Microsoft-Aol alliance?

It would seem too early to say the alliance has failed, but there appears to be an unspoken admission that the retargeting sector represents a group of marketers whose spend is significant and cannot be reached without the help of partners. The Yahoo! sales team or the Aol-Microsoft-Yahoo! alliance team can’t reach these clients directly without a change in strategy (like buying one of the retargeters maybe? Hmmm.).

Whether it’s Criteo, TellApart, Dotomi/ValueClick, AdRoll, Fetchback or any number of singularly-focused, retargeting companies, there are:

  • Skilled sales, account and ops teams…
  • Overlaying demand-side platform technology with…
  • Millions of dollars of ecommerce media spend…
  • Pouring from 100s of (likely) profitable, ecommerce companies.

Why not put extend the Yahoo! inventory “sippy cup” to retargeters for some tasty CPCs and eCPMs? Clearly, there is room for more bidders on Yahoo! inventory. It’s interesting – for all the chatter how commoditized demand-side platform (DSP) model is, these retargeters seem to prove that DSP technology, and the systems around it, can be differentiated.

Also, the alliance pitch is about scale and attracting those brand dollars. Retargeters are there to take a limited amount of cream off the top. Retargeting 50,000 shoe buyers is not the same as running a brand campaign looking to reach millions through a DSP/ad network and potentially compete with with the alliance sales teams’ goals.

UPDATED 6/19: A statement from a Yahoo! spokesperson in reaction to the above story: Yahoo! continually evaluates technology and business practices in an effort to achieve the greatest success for our advertising and agency partners. Yahoo! is currently testing with select ad partners.

By John Ebbert

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