Since its acquisition by Apollo last year, Yahoo has expanded its ad offering via a string of partnerships with CTV companies, publishers and even hotels. This is Cannes after all, and the forecast is sunny for Yahoo’s advertising business.
“The growth that my team has been involved in has really been advertising-based,” says Elizabeth Herbst-Brady, Head of Global Revenue & Client Solutions at Yahoo. “That’s ad spend, both on behalf of publishers, and demand from advertisers and agencies. We really service the full funnel. We can do brand-based opportunities off the backs of the customer-facing brands (Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Sports etc.), and then also servicing programmatic audience-based buying to deliver really clear KPIs.”
Programmatic buying has helped drive eight consecutive quarters of growth for the company, whose omnichannel inventory enables advertisers to deliver campaigns across video, display and CTV. “We believe very strongly off the backs of what our clients and agencies tell us that brands really want to be able to understand the entire journey, but lack the infrastructure to do that,” Herbst-Brady explains. “Now with a demand-side platform (DSP) that can be omnichannel, we can give people that opportunity to really understand their spend holistically. So we’ve been building out not just our technology, but also our partnerships to enable that.”
These partners include Vizio, Tubi and NBCUniversal, granting Yahoo’s DSP access to valuable viewership data and content libraries for CTV buyers. The latest in this line of partnerships is an agreement with DIRECTV announced last week, making Yahoo the exclusive DSP for accessing the service’s addressable TV inventory programatically. “When you add DirectTV with DISH Media and with Fios, that’s over 25 million households, which is really fantastic,” says Herbst-Brady.
These advertising opportunities – opened up by viewer migration from linear to addressable and CTV – have presented their fair share of challenges. Ironically for a boom in on-demand services, it was not the viewers but the industry left to play catch-up. “Way back when, it was only that big screen and you had this Nielsen data that’s inexact at best. And then lo and behold, you had streaming and all these services and an inability to really understand the ecosystem holistically, which is why you ended up with all this fragmentation,” says Herbst-Brady. “You have to build the process and the technology to catch up with what the consumers are doing.”
As well as changing their viewing habits, consumers are also travelling again post-pandemic. Last month Yahoo teamed up with hotel chain Marriott to help target ads to its guests. “People have been more focused on the Walmart and Amazon type relationships,” comments Herbst-Brady. “I think this is really the first one that is focused in the travel vertical.” Using Marriott’s anonymised customer data, the joint media network will show relevant ads on digital screens around the hotel and TVs in individual rooms that rival Yahoo’s offering in terms of number of channels.
The Marriott partnership adds another strand to Yahoo’s proposition, identifying new areas where brands can connect with customers in a cookieless landscape. “Marriott has all these different touchpoints for a consumer, all these different places that you can create connective opportunity,” says Herbst-Brady. “That relationship has been developed over the last three years. It was initially I would say a fairly transactional media buying relationship. And the more work we did together, we got to a place where we were able to help them with how they were thinking about exploring the world in a post-pandemic way.”
In line with this thinking, the company fully globalised its ad tech team in January. “Previously it had been fairly regionalised,” notes Herbst-Brady. “So now while many things are not holistically global – because things still happen from a media perspective at the country and regional level – just to have that global eye sets us up to be an even better partner for our clients, agencies and publishers. We put a lot of elbow grease into our work with clients and we try to deliver really strong client service.” And if the team ever needs a break, they will never be far from a hotel with their name on its screens.