How Yahoo Platform Will Beat DART, Atlas

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-08-08 Print this article Print

The platform's tools will provide more precise geographic and demographic targeting across the Yahoo network and its partners, as well as for any advertiser or publisher. The idea is to increase ad relevancy at a time when online ads are miscast for the wrong people.

The platform interface will let advertisers peek into the marketplace of thousands of sellers and identify the specific niche audience they are looking for. Then, in minutes instead of hours or days, advertisers will see available inventory, reserve it and book a campaign against that inventory.

"That's really the level of change we're shooting for," Walrath said. "The ability to take something that would take weeks of man-work and shrink it down to minutes." 

Walrath said no platform on the market, again including Google DoubleClick's DART and Microsoft's Atlas, provides this kind of comprehensive ad-serving experience with the inventory visibility, ease of use and speed that Yahoo's platform will provide.

Don't expect the platform to be everything to everyone out of the gate. While Walrath expects there will be a convergence between search and the other ad mediums such as display and mobile, Yahoo's Panama search ad platform won't be part of the new platform. The platform's development, he said, will be indefinitely iterative as the market evolves.

Indeed, the platform will be primarily focused on display ads at first. Walrath said he expects the platform to boost Yahoo's display ad business despite the looming threat of Google, which is revving its YouTube monetization efforts.

Yahoo easily leads the display ad market with what ComScore said is about a 20 percent share. Microsoft sits behind Yahoo with roughly a 6 or 7 percent share. Google, which makes its fortune in paid search advertising terms, holds only 1 percent or so, according to ComScore.

But Google has been making some advances in integrating DART with its content network and is fervently testing ways to make money from YouTube video display ads. Microsoft has no such property.

It's hard to say exactly what kind of impact Yahoo's new platform will have on any of its ad buckets; Yahoo is several months away from formally unveiling it. Will advertisers leave Google, Microsoft and other platforms for the new Yahoo platform? Walrath believes so.

Just as crucial a question is how the rest of Yahoo's turnaround plan will shape up.

Will Yahoo gain search share on the strength of its new open SearchMonkey and BOSS platforms? Will users appreciate the company opening Yahoo Mail up as a major social network? These questions need to be answered in 2009 and beyond.


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