How Jeep Got Tech Geeks and Lifestyle Enthusiasts to Watch Its Ads on Yahoo

Pinpointing specific mobile users shopping for cars

Despite all the negative chatter about Marissa Mayer's leadership and increasing pressure from Wall Street, brands like Jeep are seeing success advertising on Yahoo.

The automaker recently ran a native video campaign promoting its Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV with 15-second and 30-second ads specifically targeting people who were in the market for a new car and had already done a bit of research online.

"It was a little more than a native ad [buy]—it was the targeting behind it on the actual humans we were reaching out to," said Amy Peet, senior manager of digital marketing at FCA U.S. "The creative is very prescriptive to [specific] people."

Jeep first zeroed in on people who recently searched for SUV content from mobile devices, including competitors' content. The automaker also built mini ad-targeting profiles for people who had shown an interest in technology and gadgets as well as lifestyle content.

In terms of creative, copy that specifically positioned the Grand Cherokee as a luxury vehicle performed best, Peet said.

"If you look at the people we were targeting, they were people who had an affinity for lifestyle content like travel and shopping," Peet said. "Luxury took off with the set of parameters we put in place. If we could go back, we would look at actually putting more creative pieces into the rotation."

According to Yahoo, the campaign's completed-view rate was 50 percent higher than average for the auto industry, and the cost per completed view was 60 percent lower than the industry average.

The combination of search and native ads could make Yahoo a more interesting platform for brands in 2016.

According to its third-quarter earnings, mobile accounted for 24 percent, or $271 million, of Yahoo's revenue, while search ads represented $509 million in revenue, up 13 percent over the same period last year.

"What's powerful about these ads is that they bring together two very engaging formats," said Brad Piggott, vp and industry lead of autos at Yahoo. "Native video ads are proven to drive results, including high view rates, as well as boosting brand metrics such as favorability and purchase intent."