Devs: Yahoo is looking at you.
On the heels of arguably lackluster Q1 2015 earnings and the week before is NewFront event in New York City, Yahoo revealed two video ad units on Wednesday. Native in-feed video and video app install ads will now appear in Yahoo’s digital magazines and apps, as well as on desktop and mobile web properties, including on O&O and syndicated sites.
Both will be sold through Gemini, Yahoo’s self-serve native and search platform.
Yahoo’s goal with the units is twofold: user experience and ad performance, said Prashant Fuloria, Yahoo’s SVP of advertising products.
“Video is the content format with the highest engagement and we’ve been working to make our ads as valuable as the content itself. We already had in-feed video for a while, which makes this a natural extension of our native ads product,” Fuloria said. “The other piece is around advertising. We’ve seen a lot of success with video for a variety of advertiser outcomes. It’s the only ad format that’s growing across both desktop and mobile for this reason.”
According to Fuloria, in-feed native videos have demonstrated an increase in brand favorability of up to 50% and a purchase intent lift of up to 28%. Video app install ads saw an 89% completion rate and users acquired through the video channel showed up to 43% higher levels of engagement.
“Video ads have a role to play across the entire conversion funnel,” Fuloria said.
But all ad formats will be equal in the Gemini marketplace – until the auction, that is.
“Gemini selects the best ad to show any any point in time. That ad could be a native ad with static elements or it could be a video,” Fuloria said. “Whatever ad has a better performance chance in terms of engagement, monetization and quality, that’s the ad we serve for that moment.”
Developers and advertisers will be able to tap into all of Yahoo’s usual targeting bag of tricks, including search, mail and content consumption data, as well as mobile insights from Flurry.
In fact, it’s the targeting aspect that Fuloria said sets Yahoo apart from players like Facebook and Twitter, which have already been selling native video for some time.
“The video app install ads we’re launching in Gemini bring all of the learnings, technology and data from Flurry to drive app installs and app marketing on Gemini,” he said. “What differentiates what we’re doing is that we’re looking at user behavior, not just in one app or on one social network or in one game – but across a variety of apps. Any app that is using Flurry.”
And that’s not a negligible number. Flurry's targeting is based on the intelligence it gathers from the 700,000 apps that have its analytics SDK installed.
Flurry and Gemini form the cornerstone of Yahoo’s vision: to be a mobile-first company. Yahoo took its first major step in that direction with its Mobile Developer Suite, announced at the company’s first mobile dev conference in February. Fuloria said that Flurry analytics has seen good penetration since the suite launched and that there are some publishers using it as their primary source of demand and monetization.
On Yahoo’s Q1 earnings Monday, CEO Marissa Mayer reiterated her dedication to MaVeNS, the four core components of Yahoo’s turnaround story: mobile, video, native and social. Although mobile revenue did grow year-over-year to $234 million in Q1, up 61%, it dropped a bit quarter-over-quarter from $254 million.