Targeting a Mobile World: Q&A with Yahoo on the new Yahoo Gemini

October 28, 2014

Digital Marketing ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

With the ever-increasing popularity of mobile commerce, retailers with an eye toward the future require access to the latest ways to connect to consumers via mobile devices.

Yahoo Gemini, a new ad marketplace launched in March, is a direct response to this demand. Yahoo Gemini allows advertisers to buy, manage and optimize mobile search and native advertising in a single, unified platform. To help retailers get up and running on Yahoo Gemini, ChannelAdvisor offered first-to-market support for the platform.

Now that Yahoo Gemini has half a year under its belt, we wanted to discuss it in more detail with Allan Chuate, a director on the sales strategy team at Yahoo, where he focuses on search and native advertising. Below, we’ll get his thoughts on the reasons for Gemini’s launch, the success he’s seen so far and his predictions for its future.

Q: Hi, Allan. Thanks for joining us. Can you tell us a little about Yahoo Gemini? How is it performing so far?

Since launching this March, we’ve introduced more image-rich native ad formats and increased available native inventory by partnering with quality publishers like CBSi. And it’s paying off for our advertisers. We’ve heard many success stories — boasting about greater brand engagement and more leads than other online ad formats.

Q: Why should retailers be excited about using Yahoo Gemini?

Yahoo Gemini’s combined offering of native and mobile search ads gives retailers the ability to reach consumers throughout their purchase journey. Through one marketplace, retailers can use native ads to influence a consumer’s decisions before the active buying process begins, and then later use search ads to influence consumers during the research and consideration stages. We’ve seen this in action with high-profile apparel retailers finding success for new and well-established brands through our image-rich native offering. Our research has also shown that through the use of native ads, a retailer can see a +400% lift in branded search activity. Since our search marketplace is still growing, retailers have the opportunity to participate in a less saturated marketplace that allows them to acquire consumers at lower CPCs.

Q: What factors drove the decision to launch a new ad marketplace?

People are now spending more time online using mobile devices than laptop or desktops. In response, Yahoo has become a mobile-first company. With apps like Yahoo News Digest and Yahoo Weather, we’ve created new ways for consumers to get information on mobile devices. We are equally committed to building technology that simplifies and improves the buying experience for advertisers, while offering the latest ad products and formats. This is why we created Yahoo Gemini. We are helping advertisers reach millions of people on their mobile devices with smart, beautiful, integrated, multichannel campaigns.

Q: What advice do you have for retailers considering an increase in mobile ad spend?

We recently did a study looking at shopping behavior on mobile devices and uncovered some really eye-opening trends around search — namely, the fact that it’s more important than ever to have a robust mobile strategy:

  • Rethink where mobile happens: Despite common assumptions, mobile devices aren’t only being used for shoppers that are “on the go” or even at the shelf. They’re also in places where PCs and laptops are available. This has implications for location-targeting strategies, as well as resource allocation to mobile campaigns.

  • Give mobile proper credit: While almost half of searchers said they used sponsored search listings to learn about new brands and inform their purchase decisions, a mobile search may be one of many steps in a purchase journey. When creating attribution models for campaigns, be sure to give mobile search the credit it deserves for being an influencer.

  • Get a competitive edge with bids and cross-channel campaigns: Mobile searchers are motivated to buy, and they are more likely to do so within five hours of a search. Bidding competitively is key to ensuring you show up in those coveted mainline positions. Adding native ads to your marketing mix may help to drive even more engagement — and we’ve seen a 121% lift in top-of-mind brand awareness for a retailer that had mobile stream ad presence.

Q: What should retailers know about native advertising?

Yahoo gemeniNative advertising has become a very effective channel for all types of advertisers. At Yahoo, we have seen success across the spectrum of business goals, from performance to branding, and it has become the fastest growing, “always on” channel for many advertisers. Yahoo Gemini is a great fit for retailers that are not only concerned with conversions and cost efficiency in their digital advertising, but also those that want to be featured in safe environments with high-quality content. With the help of our simple UI and full API capabilities, advertisers can easily get native ads on top properties using flexible pricing options (cost per click, cost per thousand) that efficiently back into cost and ROI targets.

 Q: Native advertising has become popular with marketers in recent years. What’s fueling this investment in native ads?

Simply: native ads work. The rich ad formats are designed to integrate with content around them, regardless of the device they are viewed on. This means that users engage with them more naturally, and they outperform other online ad formats.

Q: What are the key components of a successful native ad?

The most important step is developing creative that takes full advantage of the ad’s native format. For Yahoo Gemini, this means choosing a 1200 x 627–pixel image that sets the right tone and leaves a visual imprint. It’s also important to include copy that grabs the user’s attention, just like the headlines in the content surrounding the ad. Surprisingly, we’ve found that sometimes ads can be “too native,” and thus less impactful. Including a small logo (less than 20% of the ad) may help avoid this. Finally, once your ads are running, it’s important to look at the analytics and adjust targeting, bids and budget to dial in performance to achieve your goals.

Q: What changes do you foresee in the near future for mobile search?

There will be continual, rapid growth as people choose mobile devices over desktop computers. What we’re seeing now at Yahoo is that while people are spending more time on mobile devices, they are doing so in shorter bursts. I anticipate a shift toward more curated, contextual and personal search results. Users expect to find answers and take action quickly and easily, and search engines are adapting to enable this. For example, with products like Yahoo Aviate, a user doesn’t need to even do a query, as content simply gets pushed to them based on where they are throughout their day.

Q: Native advertising is also quickly evolving. Can you share or predict what future native ad units will look like?   

As the online landscape evolves and content becomes more engaging, native advertising is the most optimal format to naturally adapt with this evolution. As publishers get more insight into what experiences maximize user engagement, native ads will adapt to drive results for advertisers. For example, I anticipate that native ads will incorporate more video and become more modular in order to be purchased programmatically.

Allan, we appreciate you taking the time to talk with us today about Gemini, mobile search and native ads, and we wish you all the best with the new platform.

Allan Chuate is a director on the Sales Strategy Team at Yahoo and focuses on search and native advertising. He partners with the Yahoo sales and account management teams, bringing new and actionable insights to drive maximum performance on the Yahoo Bing Network and Yahoo Gemini marketplace. Allan has over 14 years of digital advertising experience and has seen the search engine marketing industry evolve from his early days at and Overture through today.

In-app-autumn-release-2014Read more about Yahoo Gemini and how ChannelAdvisor can help strengthen and diversify your digital marketing strategies here.