How Yahoo Stream Ads Opened Up Doors For One Client

By Diane Anselmo | @diane_anselmo | Associate Director of Services at Hanapin Marketing

There’s been a lot of talk about Yahoo Stream Ads (also known as Yahoo Gemini) and its ability to provide results to advertisers. Many are concerned that the platform is mostly for branding and won’t provide a direct path to revenue. While it might not be a perfect fit for every client, there is an opportunity to provide growth to clients who are well prepared to handle “top of funnel” traffic.


With the right mindset and monitoring in place, many advertisers may see that this platform actually performs well. In this piece, I’ll be reviewing one client’s journey through Yahoo Stream Ads and how it’s making a difference in their business.


Yahoo Stream Ads are considerably different from the traditional PPC ads that we usually work with on Google and Bing. Rather, it’s a form of native advertising that is intended to flow seamlessly with the content that the user is consuming. Here’s an example of a sponsored Stream Ad within the stories section of Yahoo.


Image of Yahoo Stream Ads
Example ad


Along with this new form of advertising come different expectations. The results from Yahoo Stream Ads can’t be compared to those of Google and Bing because the user experience and user intent is completely different. Whereas our traditional PPC users are actively searching for something on their own volition, our Yahoo Stream Ads users most likely aren’t. In many cases, they’ve stumbled upon your content while browsing other content. That’s where the biggest difference lies. The Yahoo Stream Ads users most likely don’t know that they want your product or service at the time they discover your ad, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t turn them into customers.


The Advertiser


The particular client that I was working with is primarily results-based. However, Yahoo Stream Ads was appealing because it gave them an opportunity to present themselves to users in a way that they simply can’t in traditional PPC ads. Rather than a short ad that just focuses on their current offers, they used this as a chance to provide relatable content to the users that was in line with their overall marketing efforts.


We decided to use a more general content-filled landing page that was congruent with the headline in their ad. Of course, with that comes the risk that the users wouldn’t convert, but the strategy behind it was to provide relevant content that would engage the users and have them eventually convert into customers.


The Expectation


As I mentioned earlier, it was really important for me to set the expectation with the client at the forefront of the campaign. With the understanding that Yahoo Stream Ads was not going to perform the same way as Google or Bing, the advertiser embraced the opportunity to welcome in “top of the funnel” users who might eventually be interested in their business.


The Targeting


Yahoo Stream Ads provides less targeting options than Google and Bing, so we made sure that we took advantage of as many as we could. Targeting options include location, gender and interests (the interface provides a list of interests that you can select to target).


Image of Yahoo targeting
Audience settings


Taking the time to review your analytics and really understand the demographics behind your customers can make all the difference with this advertising platform. While we don’t have control of which specific pages Yahoo is going to show our ads, implementing their targeting options will help your ad appear in front of the right users. Before launching your Yahoo Stream Ads campaign, make sure you take this important step. It could make or break your performance.


The Results


Once the campaign started running, we noticed that there was no shortage of traffic whatsoever. In fact, the campaign was able to always hit its daily budget without any issue. However, we also noticed that the ads weren’t generating any leads. That wasn’t a huge surprise, as our expectations indicated that this platform was going to differ from the traditional PPC platforms.


At the end of the first month, we took a look at our analytics and saw that the ads were appearing on some pages within the Yahoo network that were very much in line with the user demographics. The client was impressed, as it allowed their ads to appear on Yahoo in a way that wasn’t previously possible. The client decided to continue on for a second month, with the knowledge that lead generation from this platform was not going to be immediate.


However, in the second month, the leads started to come in. Though not at the same volume as other PPC platforms, we were starting to see users who became engaged with the ads in the first month, take action a few weeks later. Knowing that Yahoo Stream Ads introduced them to the brand was powerful, as they may not have captured those users on traditional PPC platforms. With that said, the client decided to put more budget behind Yahoo Stream Ads, as it has proven itself to be a winner.


What We Learned


The biggest takeaway from this experience is that Yahoo Stream Ads need to be thought of differently than other platforms. What works with your other PPC ads may not work with Yahoo Stream Ads. You need to put thought into relating to your users in a way that tells a story for them and engages them with your brand, product or service. If that process is done properly, you’ll have opened yourself up to a new audience that wasn’t available to you before.


You’ll also need to target users precisely, as you want your ads to fall on pages where your interested audience is likely to appear. Most of all, I’ve learned that expectations need to be set at the beginning of the campaign. Just because you don’t see immediate results doesn’t mean it’s not working. We just need to think a bit differently with this platform and have a little patience. In the end, you may find yourself with a whole new world of customers.