Although BrightRoll was primarily known as a video platform, Utzschneider doesn’t foresee any major issues around using the name for Yahoo’s full programmatic stack.
“The overarching 'MaVeNS' strategy stands for mobile, video, native and social, and most clients know that,” she said, referring to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s somewhat ham-fisted acronym for the four core components that underpin Yahoo’s turnaround plan. “When we acquired BrightRoll, it was a video DSP, but marketers recognize that we’re trying to do a better job to integrate our ad products throughout.”
But Yahoo’s first flirtation with programmatic started long before the acquisitions of BrightRoll and Flurry with the purchase of Right Media, which Yahoo picked up way back in 2007 for $680 million.
In the years that followed, the Right Media Exchange (RMX), which started life as an early bastion of the exchange model, became associated with low-quality inventory, and impression volume started to decline. (One AdExchanger source didn’t mince words, describing RMX as “a swamp.”) Yahoo ultimately shut down the exchange for all non-Yahoo O&O networks and publishers at the end of 2014.
From there, Yahoo funneled its advertisers and publishers into what became known as the Yahoo Ad Exchange, an ostensibly more brightly lit (read: private) atmosphere where demand could tap into Yahoo supply.
Now, YAX will give way to BrightRoll, which also includes access to the wider programmatic ecosystem through the BrightRoll Exchange, with the hope that more advertiser dollars will flow.
But despite Yahoo’s claim that BrightRoll powers digital advertising for 99 of Ad Age's top 100 advertisers, Monday’s restructure points to a Yahoo casting about for the right formula to attract advertisers.
In other news, Yahoo also announced on Monday that it had added a custom audience feature to Yahoo Gemini, its search and native advertising marketplace to enable advertisers to target users across devices.
Although one could argue that Yahoo is late to the mobile game and that its $1.1 billion Tumblr acquisition has been a bit of a flop, native and video – the “V” and the “N” in "MaVeNS" – are still up for grabs.
“Native as a ‘channel’ is in its infancy and Gemini is poised well,” said IgnitionOne’s Hansen. “Video is [also] still a huge channel, and Yahoo has the platform and content to support it well.”