One day following the news that Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson will step down due to controversy over his resume embellishments, the company announced at Internet Week in New York City on May 14 the scheduled debut of a solution called Genome in July, designed to help brands leverage big data for their online advertising campaigns.
Despite the upheaval, Peter Foster, GM of audience advertising at Yahoo said the company’s agenda, as it relates to Genome, will “continue to be focused on our advertiser and agency partners.”
Both Foster and Rich Riley, EVP of Yahoo Americas, declined to elaborate further on the extent Thompson’s sudden departure will impact Yahoo’s endeavors in e-commerce and data-mining projects, which Thompson was supposed to spearhead. Multiple outlets reported that Yahoo’s head of global media Ross Levinsohn will serve as interim CEO.
Ignoring Thompson’s absence, Riley and Foster focused attention on its Genome solution, which is built to help marketers organize significant quantities of unstructured data, combining datasets from interclick — Yahoo’s marketing solution platform — as well as Yahoo’s various media assets, user data and third-party data partnerships.
“Online data is not collected like offline data,” Riley said. “Display advertising is not as targeted or relevant. Yahoo has been very focused on this challenge for a while.”
Riley said the five key features in Genome include Yahoo’s “unmatched data set;” analytics that provide actionable insight for marketers; privacy tools designed to protect consumers; the overall quality of Yahoo’s audience technology; and the company’s large media footprint.
“We have the best analytical tech in the market,” Foster added. “We have data that nobody else has and we have a supply footprint starting with 500-plus media partners.”
Additionally, Yahoo continues to work with marketing and data services companies like Acxiom and Experian “to match data with offline profiles,” Foster said. “We can augment data that we collect with non-PII [non-personally identifiable] offline data.”
Ultimately, the goal for brands is to consolidate the best data in order to better understand the customer. “Having one centralized view of a customer [is a priority],” said Michele Morelli, SVP and head of online display acquisitions at Citibank. “The second thing is identifying what is the right data.”
Morelli explained that Citibank, for instance, might want to market to women, but even within that community, it’s important to know what specific datasets are important and applicable to Citibank’s outreach.