Yahoo Maps Out Genome Ad Strategy

Audience buying platform seeks to help leverage data

Rough as the past year has been for Yahoo, one of the company’s more head-scratching moves may yet prove beneficial. Last November, Yahoo snatched up Interclick for $270 million, leaving many in the industry to wonder, what does Yahoo need with yet another ad network? But on July 9, Yahoo plans to roll out Genome, a new audience buying platform built on Interclick’s proprietary ad targeting technology.

Genome promises to help Yahoo finally realize the potential of that audience data it collects: account registrations, search queries and user behavior­—data the company has been touting for a decade.

According to Peter Foster, Yahoo’s gm of audience and performance advertising, Yahoo has begun rolling out Genome’s tools to hundreds of existing clients, including BMW and STP. The pitch is that brands can build audience profiles using both Yahoo’s first-party data (including data from the social TV app IntoNow later this year) and third-party data from about 25 sources, including BlueKai and eXelate.

To meet demand, Yahoo has already increased the Genome sales staff by 50 percent to 60 percent. “Our strategy is to continue to focus on the top 400 or 500 advertisers in the marketplace,” Foster said.