Yahoo! has been using online and offline initiatives to establish its presence in India over the past few months. The Yahoo! Creative Conference that was held on April 26 was one such initiative, and it marked the arrival of the property in the country. The conference also became a platform for testing creative excellence in digital use of online advertising.
Reiterating on the importance of the Indian market for Yahoo! Gregory Coleman, EVP, Global Sale, Yahoo! Inc., observed, “The statistics which we have reveal that over the last two years, advertising for Yahoo! in this market has grown five times and that is an explosive growth. I guess it will take another three years to grow five times again. Advertisers are beginning to realise and more formally understand how the time spent by people online is a very good opportunity to reach their TG.”
However, Coleman was quick to point out that some Indian advertisers are still wary about advertising online. He explained, “In a market like India which is really just beginning to wrap up, there are certain marketers who are still focussing on traditional media and are thinking through how they can adopt to the Internet. So, adoption is fairly low in this market and it is gearing to see a pick-up quite dramatically.”
Speaking on Yahoo!’s development in the mobile web advertising space, Pearl Uppal, Director Sales, Yahoo! India, elaborated, “On the mobile front, we have One Search and Yahoo! Go, for which we have partnered with several OEMs. We continue to distribute Yahoo! very strongly on this wireless hand-held access device, which we strongly believe will be the next big device for providing the first experience of Internet in this part of the world. On the advertising side, we are meeting up with six or seven advertisers for the display side of advertising and we are soon going to launch search marketing technologies for mobiles.”
Coleman believes that video advertising is not going to happen. Elaborating it, he explained, “Due to Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, and Google with YouTube, there is a lot of video content appearing online. Finally, we are heading towards the point of critical mass. The big barrier we are facing today is the creative from the agencies which are not where they are needed to be. When I am watching a music video online, I don’t want to see a 30 or 60 second ad. So what we believe is going to take place is that advertising will take place on video streaming and it will be much smarter.”
“I don’t have the final answer, but you can imagine a series of 5 second ads that are interesting and creative. Everyone hates pop-ups. At Yahoo!, we made a conscious decision of not having any pop-ups as it is a terrible user-experience,” he added.
Yahoo!’s sponsored search listing service determines the frequency of website crawling, based on the amount of money paid by the publisher. The listing of the website is determined on the number of updates and crawling by the search engine. As a result, the more number of crawls, higher the website listing goes.
When queried whether this paid listing process short-changes the user, Prashant Mehta, VP-Global Sale, Yahoo! Inc., said, “It is a two-way process. For us, it ensures that we have fresher content when we crawl the sites, and it also ensures that companies update their websites more often. So, when a website is updated and we crawl them, the website also automatically ranks higher. It is not that when one pays they will be ranked up; it has to be relevant to be listed higher.”
Uppal added, “There are a group of publishers who find these services helpful, but we do not have any particular number of website publishers using the service as there is no tracking of the same.”
Talking about the revenue models in place for Yahoo! Maps and Yahoo! Our City, Uppal noted that these products have been launched very recently. She said, “We are still evaluating the advertising models and are in talks with advertisers. Agencies have some ideas which we will take to the product table and work with them. We have consciously not opened it for advertising as the product is just evolving now. Monetisation can take place where audiences are. But as of now, we do not have any plans in these products as they are in the consumer behavioural study stages.”
As India continues its growth in the online medium, Yahoo! is trying its level best to leverage this medium during the growth phase itself. Promising many initiatives in the pipeline from Yahoo!, Coleman signed off by adding, “Mobile is the way to go for us!”