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Storyboard18 | Iván Markman, Yahoo: Brands want high performing engagement with consumers in a safe, cookie-less world

Iván Markman, Chief Business officer, Yahoo, on how the company is going to be focusing on areas of meaningful connections with consumers.

April 30, 2022 / 07:02 PM IST
Iván Markman, chief business officer, Yahoo.

Iván Markman, chief business officer, Yahoo.

Iván Markman joined Verizon Media in early 2019 as its chief business officer and then later, when Verizon media became Yahoo again in September 2021, he filled in the same role at the newly constituted Yahoo.

After a successful start, there is no denying that Yahoo’s path has been full of twists and turns with many significant changes in the platform; most recently some of the Yahoo assets nested under the former Verizon Media umbrella have undergone a huge amount of change.

In an exclusive interview with Storyboard18, Markman spoke about what this new Yahoo looks like, the way forward and what users and brands are looking for. Edited excerpts:

What are the focus areas for the new Yahoo?

We are a large scale publisher with millions of users around the world. And we have a large and growing business across ad tech, search, etc. So the new Yahoo is that search engine and we are stronger than ever, backed by the might of Apollo Funds around the world.


We are going to be focusing on the areas of meaningful connections with the consumers and helping with that connect advertisers and publishers for growth in the ever evolving ecosystem of more immersive experiences in the ‘cookie less’ world.

And what are the growth opportunities that lie ahead for you?

There are spaces that are growing very fast. Commerce everywhere is growing fast. When you think about how sports and finance are evolving and also about how advertisers and how they connect with consumers is evolving across all of these different channels, those are areas of high growth. In India our DSP (Demand Side Platforms) more than doubled last year and it has been doubling every year and a lot of this is on the heels of consumers wanting to connect with their brands with what they are passionate about across many different screens - outdoors and in the virtual world.

What are brands looking for from a platform such as yours?

First and foremost they are expecting brand safe, highly performing engagement with their consumers and they are expecting to do this across all of the different channels.

The landscape is evolving when it comes to identity and they expect to take these into the cookie-less world.

They expect to take this into the metaverse.

So, their expectations continue to evolve, but it is all about engaging with the consumer, wherever they are, in meaningful, privacy safe and brand safe ways.

What kinds of opportunities are there in the metaverse for marketers and brands?

We have had the opportunity to work with brands helping them test and learn highly immersive opportunities. So the metaverse just takes that to the next level.

To give you an example, in our Taiwan market, we created the concept of a digital twin for our virtual dance championship. This enables consumers to live in both spaces and engage with brands in both places in a very unique way.

Another example is when in fashion week in New York, in the virtual world for Rebecca Minkoff, a lot of her pieces of fashion were turning to NFTs. So not only was it an immersive experience, but consumers could also trade in the virtual world, could trade in metaverse and make use of its capabilities.

Borders and markets are now opening up. What are the big trends that will shape digital advertising?

I would say three very important trends. One is around the notion of the changing identity landscape. Cookies are going away, they have already gone away in certain privacy browsers. The Apple ecosystem has changed.

So, one big trend is evolving the advertising model into a world that needs a new identity solution.

The second aspect is the notion of commerce everywhere. It is helping brands and consumers engage in new ways.

And third is they move away from linear TV experiences to what we call advanced TV which is connected TV and TV everywhere.

As the economies reopen, we are seeing some of this flowing to digital and out of home as well. So I would say these are some of the big trends that we are seeing right now.

How do these trends compare to the India market?

In India we are seeing some of these opportunities as well. I mentioned some of the omni-channel engagement and in India the adoption of these omni-channel strategies on our DSP has been tremendous and it has been growing a lot faster in the rest of the world. The other element that we are seeing is the connection between connected TVs and digital out-of-home and mobile devices. This is something that we are particularly seeing in India across multiple categories from fast moving consumer goods to automotive to finance and more.

Some of the key concerns or headwinds faced by the industry are around the areas of Brand Safety on digital, consumer data safety and privacy and measurement. How is Yahoo addressing these issues?

The first thing I would like to say is that we need to start with people. People as consumers and their privacy. People as advertisers who are trying to grow their business and people as publishers or app owners who are trying to grow their business and monetize it. So the way we are thinking about it is people-first and thinking about each of these constituencies starting with true respect, transparency and providing consent around privacy. We have relationships with hundreds and millions of consumers every day around the world. So we start there and then in privacy centric ways we connect it with advertisers and publishers and also build more and more of those relationships. But it doesn’t stop there. We have to build privacy safe solutions, and don't use consumer data at all. These are next generation contextual solutions and we are seeing a lot of growth in the advertising ecosystem.

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Shibani Gharat
first published: Apr 30, 2022 07:00 pm
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