we make our inventory available, programmatically, to all our agency partners, regardless of which DSP they are usingNick Hugh, Yahoo, VP and managing director, EMEA, now heads up the internet advertising stalwart's efforts in Europe, and recently outlined the company's MaVeNs vision in the closing chapter of IAB Digital Upfronts.
Here he speaks to The Drum about the recent consolidation of Yahoo's programmatic offering under the BrightRoll banner, how its offering differs from alternative online advertising players, plus his plans for leading the company's turnaround in the region.
Yahoo posted its quarterly results earlier this month, with earnings of $1.23bn for the period amounting to losses of $86m - despite improved take-up of its MaVeNs (mobile, video and native advertising) offering.
This announcement was preceded by the revelation of its search pact with Google - essentially an expansion of its search agreement with Microsoft's Bing - plus the rebrand of its programmatic offering, which is now grouped under the BrightRoll banner post the purchase of the video advertising unit in November last year.
The Drum: Can you explain what's on offer with the BrightRoll offering, and how does it differ from the earlier Yahoo Advertising Exchange (YAX) positioning?
NH: BrightRoll is still the DSP [demand-side platform] and encapsulates all the other offerings, such as Yahoo Gemini [its native and search offering], and all of this is available under one brand, with one U/I [user interface] where advertisers can access native, display, video, etc.
This is because advertisers care about audience, and now they can get that with all of Yahoo's data in one consolidated platform. When you think that some DSPs don't have the data that we have, that's the key difference for us.
Also, display inventory was only available via YAX, whereas BrightRoll has everything, including video, and native ads, etc.
The Drum: What's your position on the ongoing 'open Vs. closed' debate when it comes to walled gardens, and access to data?
NH: It's my opinion that we're the most open party out there [compared yo Facebook and Google]. AS far as I know we're the only publisher to make our data accessible across the web, as long as they use our platform to buy media. We make our inventory available available to anybody, for we make our inventory available, programmatically, to all our agency partners, regardless of which DSP they are using.
The Drum: How do you see the Yahoo/BrightRoll differentiating itself from other ad tech stacks on the market?
NH: We see a polarisation in the market between those that deliver programmatic advertising services, and then there's the content creation. Those that will succeed, will be the ones that stitch the two together skillfully. With Yahoo - and native - we have premium content available.
From a features perspective, we are third-party accredited, and we're verified in terms of viewability, etc. [This is unlike platforms such as Facebook which doesn't allow parties outside of its ecosystem to verify its campaign measurement].
And although there's no across-the-industry standard for video ad viewability, as I said, we are working with specific advertisers to make sure their needs are met in that respect. To help with things like this, we're working with companies like comScore, Moat, and Meetrix.
The Drum: How does Gemini fit into the offering?
NH: Gemini advertising can be bought via BrightRoll, whereas previously they could only be bought via an I/O [insertion order] or an API. The difference is now an advertisers truly can book a cross-screen campaign, we've seen companies reduce their cost-per-lead by as much as 80 per cent as a result of this.
The Drum: You've spoken a lot about the content, and obviously this is an area of focus with high costs associated - compared to say Google or Facebook which curate content.
NH: We're investing more and more in the audience, and looking towards things like live events, such as music and sports [such as the live-streaming of events like NFL games, plus concerts]. We also have a our news sites that focus on verticals like celebrity, news, and finance. In addition, we also look towards third parties so they can help us tell good stories, like Tumblr creators, or content that is curated by our own editorial staff.
The Drum: You've recently been appointed as European head, what will your priorities be?
NH: One thing I'd say about my new role is it's to try and make sure that our good news stories are shared.
I think it's important to point out that Europe has been outperforming the global average in terms of the gains we announced in our MaVeNs revenue, so I think we're already doing well there.
Obviously privacy is a big issue to focus on [given the pan-European data privacy regulations scheduled to come into effect next year], and we work in full compliance with all applicable legislations and will obviously work with any changes that might come
In addition, I'm also looking to make sure we're appropriately resourced to tap into drivers such as programmatic, native, content marketing, all of the areas that make us grow faster. Basically, I want to try do more to make sure that advertisers and agencies understand the elevator pitch.
This can be summed up in three words: audience; insight; measurement. There's only a few players in the industry with the data at scale that deliver insights about audience delivery. When you're going into a pitch, it's always interesting to be able to go into a pitch, and tell an advertiser five things about the audience they're after that they may not have known before.