Friday, 20 February 2009

The lines between Search and Display blur on Yahoo!


Today I read about Yahoo! introducing Rich media ads within its search listings. Brands to trial it so far include: Pepsi, Pedigree, Staples and Esurance who have reported uplifts in CTR of about 25%.

Campaign creative as reported by Brand Republic as follows:
  • US office supply company Staples shows a Staples logo next to the text ad.
  • Pepsi's 'Rich Ad in Search' reveals a minute-long viral featuring Bob Dylan, rapper Will.i.am and Bruce Lee.
  • The service also lets users search for products or a store location directly using their post code -- for example Esurance's listing lets users enter their zip codes from the results page for insurance quotes."
My thoughts:
Pricing Model:
My first thought, how to charge for this?
  • CPC: wont work, as people will click randomly our of curiosity and or excitement.

  • CPM: wont work, as its just not practical for search.

  • Tenancy: Yahoo! have opted for a tenancy based pricing model on a monthly basis. Not bad, except this detracts from the accountability of New Media and does not guarantee interaction much less attention. But agencies will undoubtedly pay, if nothing else to be at the forefront of media trends.

For me, the next step for Yahoo! would be to experiment with a Cost per engagement model as introduced by Video Egg. Once users get familiar with the format of course.

Budget:
As a planner I immediately wonder, where would the budget fall under? Search of Display?

It is technically Display, but in a search environment. I would say at the very least these placements couldn't come out of the search budget. This would surely skew results, particularly with campaigns such as Esurance which have a DR aspect.

This budget surely has to come from the display budget or ideally from a separate budget altogether dedicated solely to experimenting with this format. However, if the only way to implement the creative is via a search booking, budget must also be allocated to search for this. Confusing? sounds like it.

As more details emerge of course it could be that Yahoo! have covered these issues. So for now I can only speculate.

Overall...
...I really welcome Yahoo! dipping its toe into the unknown. Innovation is what keeps our business interesting and Yahoo! seems to get that. I look forward to feedback from the Yahoo audience once the excitement wears off. Right now 25% click through doesn't mean very much in terms of the formats longevity. Only with time, will we see if rich media search can take its seat in the IAB hall of fame...

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