ADOTAS – Mobile is no longer a supplementary feature; rather, it’s a requisite aspect of consumers’ lives. Marketers are catering to on-the-go content consumption and discovery – and search is no exception.
A couple weeks ago, Yahoo introduced Gemini, a unified marketplace for mobile search and native advertising. Gemini is accessible through Yahoo Ad Manager, the self-service ad-buying platform debuted by CEO Marissa Mayer at CES.
Billing Gemini as the “first and only” tool of its kind, Yahoo says the marketplace will allow users to streamline mobile search and native ad spend, driving efficiency and scale.
It’s an approach to mobile that’s very different from Google’s.
When Google rolled out Enhanced Campaigns in 2013, it consolidated desktop and tablet paid search campaign management. It also expedited the adoption of mobile search advertising, since advertisers only needed to create one campaign to manage across all three devices. While bidding multipliers could be used to differentiate between mobile and desktop behavior, Google claims that the user behavior strategies needed to be similar; clearly, however, it is also a way to monetize mobile.
Gemini, on the other hand, features a separate management interface for mobile and tablet, reflecting Yahoo’s belief that advertisers should have the option to manage unique campaigns for each device (this is Yahoo separating itself from the shadows of Google). Mobile behavior, while usually considered more end-of-the-funnel or short tail, can also have impact at a different point of the consumer journey. Advertisers using Gemini will be able to gauge volume and performance differences between Yahoo and Bing mobile ads, previously impossible under the Yahoo Bing Search Network.
What This Means for Advertisers
Yahoo has revealed expedited timelines for onboarding advertisers onto Gemini. The first wave of advertisers will be able to use the platform on March 10. Out of the gate, only 1% of mobile search traffic will see Gemini ads, but Yahoo expects to onboard additional advertisers by March 31.Advertisers that leverage the Yahoo Bing Search Network for mobile search advertising and choose not to migrate will risk lower Yahoo mobile traffic levels.
At launch, Yahoo Mobile Search Ads will appear only on Yahoo’s U.S. mobile web search across smartphones and tablets. Owned and operated and partner sites will ramp over time. Additionally, Yahoo will be working to create parity between Yahoo Search Ads and Bing Ads. At the outset, advertisers will be able to target and optimize campaigns using geo-targeting (state, DMA, and city level); broad and exact match; and negative keywords. Over time, Yahoo will add additional functionality, including location, call and sitelink extensions; phrase match; day parting; and operating system, device, radius, and language targeting.
Whether Yahoo Gemini will be a formidable alternative to Google’s mobile search product is yet to be determined. However, Yahoo’s focus on mobile search is a positive sign for the search marketing industry and for advertisers, as increased competition should result in greater differentiation and innovation. The release of Yahoo Gemini also begs the question of whether broader changes are on the horizon for the Yahoo Microsoft Search Alliance and Bing Ads.