Yahoo Launches SMB Display Ads Pilot Program

Yahoo aims to give cost-conscious midmarket businesses a boost with My Display Ads, a DIY online advertising solution. The My Display Ads service is powered by online display advertising company AdReady.

Web search giant Yahoo announced June 22 the launch of a pilot program for My Display Ads, a self-serve display ad solution designed to help small and midsize businesses reach audiences via Yahoo and its network of partner sites. Yahoo said the service, powered by online display advertising company AdReady, will help "a new segment of advertisers" reach Yahoo's U.S. users with locally targeted display ads.
Through a Web-based, self-serve interface, advertisers can create and customize campaigns using more than 800 display templates, according to Yahoo. Additionally, advertisers can elect CPM or CPC-based pricing to fit branding and performance marketing goals. My Display Ads can also help advertisers track and manage campaign performance goals with daily reporting on key metrics. The service is an extension of a limited program Yahoo and AdReady offered to a number of managed Yahoo Small Business customers in 2008.
"Yahoo My Display Ads allows small businesses to build on their search marketing with display campaigns that reach a targeted audience on some of the Internet's most popular Websites," said Joanne Bradford, Yahoo's senior vice president of North American revenue and market development. "This new solution provides an affordable and accessible option for businesses to run brand and performance campaigns that reach the local audiences that matter to them most."

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Yahoo's opportunity to attract small business owners was suggested by the results of a March survey by BBI (Bredin Business Information), which found major marketers continue to move online to reach SMBs, despite midmarket preferences for some offline tactics such as direct mail and trade shows.
BBI conducted two surveys in late January and February, asking 50 leading marketers about their outreach and research efforts for 2009 and 741 SMBs about their online and offline media preferences, top business concerns and brand ratings. The surveys found SMBs are relying less on traditional marketing tactics because of the economic downturn, but that's one of the top ways they like to receive product and service information, major marketers said.

Moving marketing online is a high priority for the businesses surveyed. Offline tactics received an average rating of 2.6 on a scale of 1 (plans to significantly decrease versus 2008) to 5 (significantly increase) while online marketing will increase, with an average rating of 3.5. However, the survey results suggest the online tactics that will grow the most are social networking (3.7), resource centers (3.7) and then search marketing (3.6).
Yahoo isn't the only search giant tweaking its advertising ecosystem. In May, rival (and current search leader) Google announced changes to its trademark policy concerning its advertising product, AdWords. Google said the shift, which concerned modifying the company's U.S. trademark policy, would offer advertisers the opportunity to provide users with more relevant information and options.