Mike Kerns

Yahoo Announces New Ad Formats: Mobile-Friendly Native Ads And A Big ‘Billboard’ On Its Front Page

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Yahoo is hoping to bring in more advertiser dollars with two new units that it’s announcing today as part of the Digital Content NewFronts.

Vice President of Product and Media Mike Kerns pitched the new formats as the flip side to the front page redesign that the company rolled out in February. Now that Yahoo has improved its consumer experience (or at least one of the main parts of the consumer experience), he said “the next big push” will include new ad products.

“The main message is, we want to commit to investing in new advertising experiences,” Kerns said.

The first units are Yahoo Stream Ads — as the name implies, they’re going to be be sponsored posts that show up in a stream of content (across desktops/laptops, smartphones, and tablets) including the news stories in the new Yahoo mobile app. In other words, this is Yahoo’s take on the current excitement around native ads.

Kerns described the Stream Ads as taking “a very broad approach,” allowing the company to “let the market and let data tell us” how to refine the formats. However, he did say that he wants to keep the pricing as simple as possible, and that he’s committed to ensuring that the ads “mirror the content.”

Billboard

The other unit, meanwhile, is going to be something a little more traditional — a big “billboard” that sits on top of the Yahoo front page for an entire day. With the announcement, Kerns said Yahoo is covering “both ends of the advertising spectrum.” The native ads should be accessible to a broad swath of the advertisers, while the billboard is aimed at bigger companies with deeper pockets.

When I asked how the new ads will affect the consumer experience, Kerns didn’t say specifically, but he did note that’s something Yahoo will be tracking — specifically how the ads affect the consumer engagement numbers on its properties.

The company has already been talking to some advertisers about its Stream Ads, so Kerns predicted that the first campaigns will start running this week. And while it hasn’t talked to advertisers about the billboard unit, Kerns said it probably won’t take long to get campaigns up-and-running there, too.