Marketers Laud Yahoo's Ad Expansion

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Search marketing firms praised Yahoo's announcement yesterday that it will expand its Publisher Network to small and midsize publishers and add Content Match contextual advertising.


Yahoo, Pasadena, CA, said Content Match, launched in beta, will let publishers place Yahoo's contextually relevant listings on their sites and get a share of the revenue that they generate, while the Publisher Network will open relevant advertising products and content to the broader publishing community, including bloggers and small newspapers.


"Any opportunity for our advertisers to reach more content across the Internet in a relevant way is fantastic," said Will Margiloff, CEO of search marketing and optimization firm 360i, New York.


Yahoo's inclusion of blogs and RSS feeds in the Publisher Network also came as welcome news.


"Search clicks are in short supply, and many marketers are finding that contextual advertising can work for them, particularly on blogs that rate or review product," said Kevin Lee, chairman of search marketing firm Did-it.com, New York.


Yahoo rolled out the beta Publisher Network program last week to 2,000 publishers -- by invitation only -- with plans to expand it by the end of the year.


Content Match is expected to give publishers more flexibility and control over the types of ads that appear on their site than some programs, such as Google's AdSense. It will let publishers customize the ads that show up on their sites as well as display ads that are "consistent with the look and feel of their site," Yahoo spokeswoman Guade Paez said.


"It's going to give a lot more flexibility to the publishers that Google doesn't give today," Margiloff said. "Publishers will have the ability to select certain types of ads they want to show on their site, instead of just using the technology."


Marketers expect the Publisher Network ad program eventually to be more transparent than Google's ad services.


"One of the biggest gripes about Google is ... they don't give the publisher a lot of visibility into how many impressions they've served and what the effective CPMs are," Margiloff said.


Currently, the beta includes standard reporting, such as click-through rates, impressions and CPMs. In the future, Yahoo wants to provide publishers with data on their share of revenue from the ads -- not exact figures, but a range or percentage, Paez said. "We do recognize that publishers want more insight."


In response to Yahoo's reporting features, Google likely will change its program to provide more visibility, Margiloff said.


Yahoo also is differentiating Publisher Network by offering contextual ad opportunities in blogs and RSS feeds. Its "Add to My Yahoo" feature will let publishers of all sizes -- from professional Webmasters to independent bloggers -- promote and distribute their content on Yahoo.


Advertising in blogs is a "fantastic way to have very hyper-targeted advertising," Margiloff said.


"If you're going to have a publisher network, you've got to cater to where the eyeballs are," he said. "People are spending time reviewing very specific user-generated content."


Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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