Google, Facebook, MySpace have all done it. Now another player, Yahoo, is dipping its toes into the self-service ad industry.
Yahoo recently unveiled its self-service option for display advertising aimed at small-to-medium sized businesses. The display ad solution is called Yahoo My Display Ads, and according to Yahoo it “puts display advertising within reach for businesses of all sizes.”
Should small businesses jump on board and start advertising with Yahoo My Display Ads?
To get the scoop on Yahoo’s latest venture, we chatted with Tamara Brooks, co-owner of Vancouver-based October 17 Media. Tamara is a seasoned marketing professional, having working in online marketing and the branding industry for roughly 12 years. With her business partner Brenda Cadman, October 17 Media has worked alongside clients such as Future Shop, Fitness Town, Canadian Gene Cure Foundation, Leahy Music, the District of West Vancouver, Homeworks Services Inc, Pennzoil Quaker State US, NAPA Canada and DDB Canada.
Could you briefly describe Yahoo’s latest display ad product?
October 17: Well, what Yahoo is trying to tap into is the fact that display advertising has traditionally not been very accessible to small business. To run banner display advertising, you required a large budget and a web design team on hand to develop the ad creative.
With Yahoo My Display Ads, you have 800 templates from which to choose to develop your banner ad. Once you have created your banner ads, you’re set and can then run them across the Yahoo network. You can do all of this yourself, using Yahoo’s basic platform.
Is Yahoo display advertising any different from Google’s program?
October 17: Yahoo’s display advertising program is actually identical to Google, but with a few twists. You have added control in targeting because you can target your display ads geographically, demographically and within specific content network placements. You can also schedule ads to run at particular times of day.
Another interesting twist is that contrary to Google; Yahoo’s new display advertising is not linked to your Yahoo-sponsored search account. What this means is that you do not have to have a Yahoo-sponsored search account to advertise with the display ads.
How cost effective is Yahoo’s display advertising product for small businesses?
October 17: It is difficult to say at this stage what the potential ROI of this product is for a small business. There is a minimum budget of $30 per day, which is lower than the costs associated with traditional display advertising, but at the same time, $30 a day roughly equates to a minimum spend $900 a month. For a small- to medium-sized business, this could fall out of the budget they have allocated to online marketing.
What is the pricing model? Is it the traditional display advertising cost-per-impression (CPM) model?
October 17: Actually, there are two pricing models. Yes, there is the traditional CPM model, but probably the better option is the cost-per-click (CPC) model just like in regular Yahoo search marketing.
Why do you say the CPC model is better than the CPM model?
October 17: Well, I don’t entirely see why people would want to pay for searchers to simply see their ads. Certainly, the CPM model may have its benefits from a brand building perspective, but even if a searcher does not notice your ad on the page where it is displayed, you will be charged for the impression.
A click on the other hand, as in the CPC model, indicates a higher level of searcher interest and intent if they make the effort to click on your ad.
How easy is it to manage the creative aspect of Yahoo’s display advertising?
October 17: Yahoo’s solution to managing the creative aspect of the display banner ads is actually pretty cool. You can choose from different business categories and Yahoo will provide you with various display ad design templates that you can quite easily edit and customise to your business.
Another neat aspect is that Yahoo gives you the impression count and click-through-rate for each template. You can then choose your design based on the past performance of that template. Though, given Yahoo’s product is still in the pilot stage, this will probably become more useful over time as more data is collected.
What is your overall impression of Yahoo’s move into display advertising?
October 17: In general, I think the process is super easy! Anyone can create an ad with Yahoo’s templates and then customise it for their business with their own logo, images, information and ad copy. So people who are creatively challenged or previously could not afford to have banner ads professionally designed can now do it themselves.
Is there anything that you haven’t liked about Yahoo’s new product?
October 17: Overall, I’d say the solution is pretty neat. The only bad thing I noticed was with the budgeting. Whether I selected a CPC model or a CPM model, Yahoo recommended a minimum CPC / CPM based on my ads and the industries I targeted. If I tried to bid below that recommendation, Yahoo indicated that it was too low based on my targeting selections.
Based on this, the recommendation looks more like a requirement. If you choose more than one channel in Yahoo’s content network where you would like to display your banner ads, your cost-per-click could rise quite quickly.
Also, at the moment, Yahoo’s My Display Ads are currently only deployable within the US, but I look forward to the product becoming available in Canada so that we can give it a proper test run.