Yahoo! VP Patel On New Smart Ads And Dapper Integration

Yahoo!Today, Yahoo! announced two new Smart Ads products – Smart Ads for Homepage and Smart Ads for Video. According to the Yahoo! Advertising blog Smart Ads for Homepage is powered by Dapper and Smart Ads for Video is powered by Yahoo! partner Mixpo (as well as some Dapper tech), and serves 15-second segments of in-banner video. Read more.

Yahoo! Advertiser and Publisher Solutions VP Dev Patel discussed the announcement and its implications. A bit of a refresher first – what was the company that you acquired to make Smart Ads, if you will?

DP: We acquired Dapper.  But, Smart Ads – before the acquisition of Dapper – was being delivered by Dapper through our partner program that rewards a company in that profit group. We already liked it, so we brought it in and now we’re going to allow advertisers to buy Smart Ads on the home page.

And largely why we’re doing it on the home page is because we now have a very strong technology backbone that allows us to meet the stringent requirements of home page expandables because of the volume of pages we serve. The backbone of Dapper allows us to do that. When an advertiser is buying massive, high reach like a home page it is now going to be available.

Given the rich media capabilities in the expandable banner, how do you balance the user’s needs with the advertiser’s?

We have editorial control over the page, which means these ads don’t pop off willy-nilly. They don’t control your content consumption experience when you don’t want them to. You can do expand on a click or on a hover. There are guidelines that allow us to ensure we don’t bastardize the user experience.

What about the real time aspects of this?

“What’s the real time knowledge” – ultimately that’s really what [an advertiser is] looking for even in this situation. What’s the most relevant information that Yahoo network has about the user to deliver the most relevant ad? And that comes from our data stream initially and then our science, and that’s critical. Let me give you an example, the user may have searched for a movie that’s going to come out in 10 days, so we have an understanding of what the user has been searching for.

The user may have been searching for a movie and a location in its search stream. So, we’re beginning to have a better understanding of the user in it’s immediacy and there’s no reason why we couldn’t use that information at the time of serving the most relevant content in the ad.

How much of this is about trying to get more expandable inventory out there, which obviously has high CPMs, and how much of this is trying to take advantage of the online video advertising trend?

I look at it as a combination of the two where depending on the level of interactivity an advertiser wants the user to experience, then you’re not going to do all that in a 300 by 250. You’re going to have to exploit the expandable nature of the ad unit. I think the answer is there is no one answer, depending on the objective, interactivity, and what a performance projection is.

Can you provide any more detail on the success of the Dapper acquisition and it’s integration?

Dapper technology is fully integrated with Yahoo. We speny initial weeks focusing on the integration with the Yahoo stack as our number one priority. It’s fully integrated.  In terms of it’s success I couldn’t be happier.

Is there a minimum spend that needs to be put forward by the advertiser to provide them the video personalization or the home page?

I can tell you we’re not restricting it to any class of advertiser. We’ve spoken to advertisers and in at least four categories that I know of. Advertisers in all four have expressed considerable interest. You’ll start seeing those on the Yahoo network soon, but we’re not restricting it to any class of advertiser.

What about incremental benefit of Smart Ads in terms of maybe an engagement metric such as CR?

We have metrics across all our smart ads technology where we look to improve both conversion rates and obviously, firstly, the clickthrough rates. But we look to do both on something like this. We’ll be looking to also measure interaction rates and so on.  We have internal metrics on a campaign-by-campaign that we look to measure. Where advertisers will share conversion data for us, we’ll definitely track it to improve their success metric.

Back when Yahoo! acquired Dapper, I asked about possible integration into Right Media Exchange. Is there any more color you can provide today?

I certainly see it fitting down the road. Our first priority was to get it on board and onto the ad stack which we’ve done. I can’t share the timeline, but I see it happening.

From a creative’s or designer’s point-of-view, what unique opportunity do these types of ads open up for the creative?

It’s a good question and I know there is discussion in the industry. We published a study recently based on some insights and it’s called “The Power of Relevancy.” It’s a very relevant read where two source signals came out. First, understanding of the user need which is – what is the user interested in outside of search.  How do we capture all that data and develop an understanding?

The second thing that came out was the context in which the ad is shown is also a critical component. What we’re beginning to see is while the rich media asset allows us to do all sorts of things within an ad unit.

If you’re able to do all that together, that’s where the creative canvas comes alive for a user from a user engagement perspective.

I think those are the kind of opportunities we will see in display that we perhaps haven’t seen. The really beautiful ad format that looks like magazine ads and a great example of that is the Yahoo mail log-in and the new Yahoo mail login ad unit. The engagement with that ad unit is just spectacular.

Now you can see that creative explosion and relevancy of data coming together that’s going to continue to increase the level of engagement between the user and the ad. So, I think that’s going to be exciting and we’ll continue to invest more within our science and scale strategy to do that.

By John Ebbert

Enjoying this content?

Sign up to be an AdExchanger Member today and get unlimited access to articles like this, plus proprietary data and research, conference discounts, on-demand access to event content, and more!

Join Today!