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.







PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
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

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Sales Manager

£60k - 80k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Full Stack Software Developer

£35k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Opilio Recruitment: Senior Digital Designer

£50k - 55k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An exciting opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game