Yahoo to upgrade ad system

Yahoo has launched a much-anticipated upgrade to its online advertising system as it tries to bring to graphical display ads some of the innovations that powered Google's rapid rise in search marketing.

Playing to Yahoo's strengths in display ads and technology targeting pitches to users' interests, the new "Apt from Yahoo" platform will initially involve just the newspaper companies in a 2-year-old consortium led by Yahoo. Many of the papers joined that effort hoping for relief from the decline in their industry.



The platform, renamed from Amp because of a trademark conflict, is intended to make it easier for advertisers and publishers to buy and sell display ads, borrowing self-service techniques that have made text-based search ads lucrative for internet companies, especially Google.



By tapping data Yahoo already collects on users' locations, demographics and surfing habits, Apt aims to help advertisers narrow their pitches to specific groups of customers because sharper targeting will let websites charge more for ads.



William Dean Singleton, vice chairman and chief executive with MediaNews Group and chairman of The Associated Press, said the typical newspaper now sells more than half of its inventory at deeply discounted rates because it can't offer such specific targeting.



Singleton said Apt should help eliminate or reduce the need for deep discounts.



"If we can sell the amount of online advertising we are selling today at rates that were much more normal, you wouldn't be hearing people talk about the woes of the newspaper industry," Singleton said at a launch event during the ad industry's Advertising Week.



Ken Doctor, media analyst for the research firm Outsell, said newspaper websites are too small to do much targeting by themselves. Sales through the Yahoo platform, he said, is one of the newspaper industry's top growth potential in 2009.



It's unclear whether the technology will give Yahoo the lift it needs. A previous technology revival focusing on search ads, called Panama, failed to resonate with Wall Street despite accolades from advertisers, and Yahoo has remained in a funk, its stock recently sinking to its lowest level in nearly five years.



The new platform comes at an inopportune time because advertisers are pulling back spending as the US economy weakens, said David Hallerman, a senior analyst with eMarketer.



But even if it isn't a game-changer, Hallerman said, it can help Yahoo reach the companies that are still advertising.



Apt seeks to automate many of the tasks now handled manually with display ads. Such automation has been crucial to the growth in search, but display ads involve more variables that have made automation challenging.



Addressing those challenges took 18 months, hundreds of employees and hundreds of millions of dollars to buy startups with key technologies.



Apt also allows websites to pool their available ad spaces so advertisers can make larger purchases more quickly. That's especially important with targeted advertising because a single site may not deliver enough readers matching an advertiser's criteria.



Yahoo President Sue Decker said Apt positions the company to capture growth in display advertising and replaces legacy systems "created 10 or 15 years ago when the internet first started."



Noting that Google still is weak in display ads, Decker said Yahoo is trying to build the technology and assemble a large enough network of websites that it becomes "a must buy" for advertisers.



Hallerman said the technology could help newspapers' websites, in particular, because of its large inventory of display ads and the comfort advertisers already have with newspapers' brands.



Online advertising at newspapers has been growing, but too slowly so far to compensate for steep declines in print advertising.



Yahoo is initially offering the platform to Hearst Communications' San Francisco Chronicle and MediaNews Group's San Jose Mercury News, both near the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.



The company said it will eventually open the system to rivals, too, so companies like Google, Microsoft and Time Warner's AOL can add inventory available through their existing networks of websites. Yahoo already has a deal with Google on search ads, but government regulators are assessing whether the alliance will diminish competition.







Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A full-service agency based in ...

Recruitment Genius: Subscriptions and Marketing Assistant

£12500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A subscriptions and marketing a...

Recruitment Genius: Advertising / Media Sales Executive

£15000 - £22200 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious candidate is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Sub-editor - Editorial - Publishing

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A sub-editor is required to joi...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high