Yahoo! VP Zinman On New Personalized Retargeting And Yahoo! Network Plus Re-Branding

Yahoo RetargetingToday on the Yahoo! Advertising blog, Yahoo! announced its new “Personalized Retargeting” product which it claims can “turn prospects into customers at an even higher rate than standard retargeting—and you’ll only pay for clicks or conversions.” In addition the company announced the rebranding of its ad network calling it the ‘Yahoo! Network Plus’ ad network, “which combines Yahoo! sites with some of the top publishers on the Web, [and] can reach 86% of the consumers on the Web, the largest reach and page views among any network.” Read more.

Yahoo! VP and GM for display advertising business in North America, Dave Zinman, discussed the new personalized retargeting product as well as the Yahoo! ad network re-branding. How is Yahoo!’s retargeting product evolving?

DZ: Yahoo, in fact, had a product in-market called Enhanced Retargeting, which was through partners. We offered dynamic ad creation, and we did it with an audience that was basically retargeting segments. What we’re launching with Personalized Retargeting, though, is the ability to offer performance pricing. We’ll sell it on a CPC and CPA basis to customers and leveraging Dapper technology (acquired last month).

There’s a lot of potential in the market for this since the performance level is so high for customers. And, it’s the first time that customers can easily digest a solution that gives them performance comparable to search in a display environment with all the scale of display.

How will Yahoo! differentiate Personalized Retargeting from competitors?

One is we have scale. We’re the biggest display network in the US, based on reach, impressions, media spend, whatever measure you want to use. As part of that scale, we can give advertisers access to greater supply then you get through any other solution.

In addition, we have a dataset that we can use to enhance the retargeting data sets that advertisers bring. We’ve got access all the searches people do on Yahoo, so we can tell when somebody is in-market.

That gives us a chance -both with the scale of supply and data – to target the number one issue with personalized retargeting, and retargeting in general, which is scale.

In addition, there are some emerging issues around the fact that some of the early players didn’t have great frequency controls and there were consumer complaints about personalized retargeting chasing them around the web.

Yahoo! works hard to maintain consumer trust with our users had have gone to market with tools like Ad Interest Manager, which allows you to see what your profile looks like and how you’re categorized. You can opt in, you can opt out, you can change it.

Those kinds of controls inspire better, stronger consumer confidence.

Who do you consider to be the target customer for the new retargeting product? And how is that target customer different than what Dapper was going after pre-acquisition?

We’re going to go after very similar verticals in comparison to where Dapper started. We can already see with our existing, early customers in retail and travel that they are having tremendous results. We’ve got a travel client that doubled their conversion rate above retargeting with this solution. That’s impressive and hard to do. We definitely see those two categories having a real affinity for the solution. There are a lot of other verticals that we can take it in and we’re experimenting in, but that’s where Dapper’s wheelhouse was.

We’re going to be able to take the Yahoo salesforce – and obviously the much greater reach and penetration of that salesforce – and go and sell it much more broadly than Dapper could as a startup.

Is there a minimum buy to this Yahoo Personalized Retargeting offering? Or a minimum sale?

There’s actually no initial minimum to get up running, but what we do is qualify customers who will use it. So number one: you need at least one and a half million uniques on your site a month, and you need to be able to get up to a minimum spend (of) $170,000 annually. It’s a pretty low number for where you typically see minimums and that has a lot to do with the uniqueness of the Dapper technology.

They’ve automated many things that – especially when you’re dealing with Smart Ads or dynamic ad creation – typically require manual effort. Campaign minimums you hear about in the industry are higher because they haven’t been automated.

Is Yahoo going to get to leverage its data in a new and interesting way with Dapper technology?

We’re going to take the technology that Dapper has developed and power it with Yahoo datasets which are not, today, different from what they were before we acquired Dapper.  Search re-targeting is the one that’s probably most relevant here because that’s where we see people: at the bottom of the funnel, searching on a product category, searching on a competitive product and searching for related products. The technology gives us an ability to broaden the re-targeting audience.

It would seem like sourcing inventory through an exchange – especially if you’re offering CPA and CPC pricing – might make the best sense. Are there any plans to buy through RMX or, as you said, continue..?

Absolutely. The supply sources for this will include Yahoo’s owned and operated inventory, and all of our extended inventory on Yahoo Network Plus, which is our branding for the network. The network includes access to inventory we get through the Right Media Exchange. It includes access to inventory we get through managed media buying – so spot buying that we do. Also, Dapper brings some capabilities to market in terms of getting access to inventory from new sources.

Why the rebranding to Yahoo! Network Plus?

Yahoo has grown its network business a lot over the past three years. Since the acquisitions of BlueLithium and Right Media, the company’s invested a lot in growing its network. We’ve reached the point at which we believe we’re the leader in display-ad-network space in the US, and so we wanted to more clearly denote that for the marketplace. The challenge we have is that Yahoo is such a well-known brand name and people think of Yahoo as the consumer sites – and they don’t always think of us as a network. What we’re trying to do is take all the assets and clearly denote for the marketplace the business that we’re in.

Are there any other ways to quantify Yahoo! being a leader in display?

As I said, we believe we’ve achieved a triple crown, which is reach, impressions served, and media spent. It’s hard to come up with other measures that are meaningful.

My last question for you: Aol announced its Project Devil initiative which includes bigger, more integrated ads likely driving higher CPMs. Can you talk about any initiatives towards “big ads” within your Yahoo! Network Plus strategy?

Actually, let me speak a little bit more broadly to that in Yahoo!’s display business overall. Yahoo! has two marketplaces. We have our premium display marketplace, which is sold on a guaranteed basis and is the more traditional business that Yahoo! has been in. Yahoo! Network Plus is our non-guaranteed auction marketplace run on Right Media. In the premium display business, we’ve done a lot over the past year in terms of launches around expanding, growing the creative canvas. For example, we launched our log-in page ad. To me, these ads feel like a magazine ad in terms of visual impact.

We also launched units that were initially introduced by the Online Publishers Association. There’s a push-down and those types of ad units, which are bigger than the standard IAB units. We’re launching those all over Yahoo! Properties.

The scope of inventory available in those sizes has been growing throughout the year. To date, we don’t make that inventory available on an auction basis. We believe there’s scarcity and value in premium pricing there.

By John Ebbert

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  1. Pete Kim


    Now cue the inevitable and obligatory response from the incumbents in CPA/CPC dynamic retargeting:

    “We welcome the competition, and this only serves as validation of our industry-leading yadda yadda. However, we feel it’s important to note: FUD-1, FUD-2, and FUD-3, which is why we’re still confident we’ll win.”