Yahoo’s story in mobile advertising hasn’t exactly been a zinger of late: figures from IDC published earlier in the week note that as the mobile ad business continues to grow, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) is actually losing market share. Yahoo, of course, isn’t giving up so easily, and this week we’re seeing it launch some new mobile products — the idea being to build more on what it does well, to catch the next wave of growth.
– Mobile ads. Today Yahoo is launching three new ad formats for mobile devices, all of which build on the company’s established display advertising business and are designed to run across Yahoo’s own content, rather than be served on other sites, says Paul Cushman, senior director for mobile sales for Yahoo. Yahoo has developed 15 mobile apps for its content, but Cushman says that by far more of its content is consumed via the mobile web.
Two of the new ad formats — the mobile screen takeover and expandable ads — are templates that are increasingly appearing across other mobile content properties (eg Shazam launched the same formats for its music apps earlier this week). Yahoo says the expandable ads will exist in a “tasteful way” that “users will be eager to interact with,” but given the size of a mobile screen it may turn out that this “interaction” will be unavoidable (read: annoying).
Meanwhile, the third format — iPad video ads — is Yahoo’s first big attempt at cracking into the tablet market.
If mobile advertising at this point is still a relatively small part of the digital advertising market, then advertising focussed around tablets is even more niche. But Yahoo has released some stats on mobile web consumption that give a glimpse of how it will pitch these ads to brands:
During the last Academy Awards, traffic to Yahoo’s mobile sites increased by 12 percent during commercials, with browsing activity up by 125 percent on Yahoo News and 39 percent more consumption of content on Yahoo’s home page. The World Cup produced similar, if smaller, results: overall traffic went up by 10 percent during commercial breaks; browsing activity was up 57 percent; Yahoo saw 12 percent more searches; and 24 percent more content was consumed on Yahoo’s front page. Presumably the numbers for the World Cup are lower than for the Oscars because soccer has fewer ad breaks worked into its TV format, and also because it attracted less viewers.
– Local mobile push. The other area where Yahoo is trying to extend its mobile presence — all in the name of extending its mobile advertising reach — is a refresh of its local mobile content. Joe has a good write up of what Yahoo is doing to revamp its local pages on the web.
In mobile, we’re seeing more of the same. According to its blog:
— More hyper-local neighborhood and city content. This will be a mix of other users’ posts on places and events as well as content from local publishers and Yahoo itself.
— Integration of Local Offers: giving a Groupon-style element to the service
Yahoo says these local features, currently still in beta, will first be available via web browsers running on iPhones and Android devices. The first 30 neighborhoods featured include those in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Brooklyn, NY as well as Birmingham, Ferndale, and Royal Oak in Michigan.