A discussion with Jonathan Avni about connecting with customers on Yahoo and beyond
What area of the Yahoo Gemini product are you responsible for?
I am the product owner for the Yahoo Gemini marketing API, and I also work on various targeting and data initiatives across both search and native.
So tell us about custom audience - what is it exactly?
Our new custom audience targeting feature enables advertisers to use their own first-party data, such as actions from their website or list of mobile device IDs, to target native ads across screens.
Why would advertisers want to use this feature?
It’s perfect for retargeting potential customers who’ve already shown interest in your products, or re-engaging mobile app users who’ve previously used your app. So any marketer who is interested in retargeting would find this very useful. Even advertisers who are not running any retargeting campaigns elsewhere will find the custom audience to be very simple and effective. We designed it so that’s it’s easy to find existing customers across devices at scale, and customize ads and bids based on the actions these customers have taken on your website or in your app.
What is really unique about custom audience?
At a high level, the great thing about custom audience is the ability to get cross-device targeting at scale. Marketers today understand their customers use multiple browsers and devices, and are looking for ways to effectively reach them wherever they are. Yahoo reaches nearly a billion users every month, and many of our users are logged in and very active - few platforms out there can provide such scale and data. More specifically, many marketers have been seeing performance at scale promoting apps on Yahoo Gemini leveraging Yahoo and Flurry data for targeting and optimization. These marketers will now be able to upload and manage audiences within Yahoo Gemini based on actions people have taken in their apps.
Do you have any advertiser feedback or results you can share?
Overall feedback has been extremely positive. We have seen significant performance lifts when looking at engagement rates and post-click conversion metrics. Advertisers have been able to decrease CPAs and CPIs while maintaining a high volume of delivery. In fact, one entertainment category advertiser started using custom audience targeting in August, with a test budget under $1000. Performance was so good that by September they had increased spend 10X on peak days.
You know this product inside and out. What’s your top tip to help advertisers successfully use this feature?
I’d have to say managing custom audience and targeting at the ad group level is a good strategy because it allows you to optimize bidding at the audience level. Keep in mind that a small custom audience can mean limited reach so make sure you bid appropriately for your high value customers.
What was foremost in your mind when creating this feature?
We really wanted to keep it simple. Many types of advertisers use Yahoo Gemini on a daily basis to achieve different marketing objectives. We believe they can all benefit from bringing in their own data in order to find their customers on Yahoo, and we wanted to make it as effortless as possible for them to do so. The UI does a great job of exposing core audience functionality in a very clean and friendly flow. More advanced audience capabilities are available to our preferred API partners.
Any plans to enhance this feature further?
Yes, this is just the start. We see first-party data being key to how advertisers optimize campaigns going forward, and we’ll be supporting additional first-party data types such as emails.