Yahoo’s Dynamic Creative Bet


Yahoo has been hounded for years to declare simply what it’s all about in an era where the portal, to be kind, is looking a little long in the tooth. The Internet company, considered by many adrift for the past several years, seems to have a vision on the ad side: art, science and scale.
Look no further than its bet it can become a leader in the growing market for dynamically generated ad creative. For now, the Web has obsessed — and poured billions in venture capital and tech resources — into building a data-based system for delivering ads to audiences efficiently. Great, but what about the ads themselves? Yahoo’s answer: SmartAds, a project it began back in 2007.
Yahoo is expanding on SmartAds by moving them onto its most treasured real estate: the Yahoo front page. Despite the insults hurled Yahoo’s way, its front page is still one of the Web’s few marquee placements, reaching 113 million visitors per month. Yahoo will now let brands dynamically change their ads on the fly. SmartAds campaigns can result in a near-infinite number of permutations, ranging from 300,000 to 1 million.
“We’ve had success in both brand and performance,” said Dev Patel, vp of advertiser and publisher solutions at Yahoo. “They’re not cheesy.”
Patel wouldn’t give figures for how many of Yahoo’s total ads now involve dynamic creative.
SmartAds is a mixture of partnerships Yahoo has with outside tech companies and its own technology, most notably dynamic ad platform Dapper, which Yahoo acquired last October.
As part of the partner program, Yahoo is building out SmartAds to include video. The in-banner execution lets a user mouse over to expand it, featuring any number of customizable elements on the fly, from the video creative served to geography to offers. The technology powering the ad is a mix of Yahoo’s and tech startup Mixpo’s.
“If we can marry offer-attractiveness of pretty creative and message it appropriately, you’re beginning to hit that sweet spot,” said Patel.
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