But, will it enable the company to succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace?
After months of testing with more than 100 advertisers, Yahoo recently launched Yahoo Gemini, which will offer companies custom audience targeting for search and native image and video ads in the US. The new offering comes as Yahoo’s board explores buy out offers and deals with the loss of a $100 million annual contract with AT&T.
Yahoo’s new offering allows advertisers to use their first-party data in conjunction with Yahoo data to more effectively target customers in search results across devices. It is now available for all US advertisers for both native and search ads on Yahoo Gemini. The company believes it will help its customers increase their return on ad spend.
However, Yahoo is not the first to make this offering and may be late to the party. Facebook launched “Custom Audiences” in 2017, and Google released “Customer Match” in 2016. As Yahoo rolls out its first version of customer targeting, Google is announcing a strategic partnership with Salesforce that may bolster its already established custom targeting product.
Similar to Facebook and Google’s customer targeting, Yahoo Gemini will allow advertisers to retarget customers based on specific actions they’ve taken on their website (for example what they clicked on.) It will allow advertisers to engage and target existing app users across devices based on their in-app behavior, and Yahoo Gemini will enable advertisers to target ads to searchers based on more than 150 audience interest categories.
Yahoo Gemini has been testing the product with more than 100 advertisers since the beginning of the year, and the pilot program saw promising results. According to the company, on average, pilot advertisers enjoyed a 200 percent increase in click-through rate and better ad positioning for audience targeted traffic. Advertisers also achieved 90 percent higher conversion rates and 30 percent savings in cost per acquisition when they leveraged conversion tracking Dot and optimized bids for designated keywords.
While customer targeting has become increasingly popular, challenges with the technology remain. At the recent MediaPost Search Insider Summit, Stefanie Hineman, the online advertising marketing manager at Intuit, told attendees that while customer targeting is crucial the need to bring your first-party data is challenging. It means that you need to get customers to your site in the first place before you can start targeting them. Building up a useful database will take time and may not be as valuable as existing CRM databases that have been gathering data for 5 or 10 years.
With its new offering Yahoo can catch up to its peers, but it remains to be seen if this will be enough for the struggling company. It recently lost a $100 million annual contract with AT&T to manage AT&T’s web portals and content, and it opted for a private event with advertisers this year at the Newfront Conference, instead of its usual elaborate, public presentation.