Tuesday, July 5th, 2016 | 6 min read
With more consumers choosing their mobile over their desktop daily, brands find themselves striving to create an engaging, personalized experience for the small screen.
Last week at Cannes Lions, I chatted with Leo Polanowski, Yahoo’s general manager of emerging markets for the Americas, to get his take on combining creativity and personalization in a mobile-driven world.
Creativity is obviously top of mind for everyone here at Cannes. As we’re sitting down with clients, everyone’s talking about the intersection of data and technology and how that comes together. Mobile is a very big and important part of everyone’s conversations.
For us at Yahoo, we’ve had a leading native, social, and mobile advertising platform in Gemini. We announced our Yahoo Storytellers offering and I think that’s been interesting for brands. It allows them to extend what we’ve been doing, while creating more personalized content, post app mobile specific for consumers. That’s one of the things that brands are challenged with—trying to figure out how to do that real one-to-one marketing in a mobile world.
The transition to mobile has been bumpier than most people expected for advertisers, brands, and even for publishers. The consumer experience is very fragmented—it’s very different. I think a lot of advertisers are trying to figure out how to have that same engagement level that they had in a PC-centric world in the mobile world. What we’re trying to do with Storytellers is really leverage the access that Yahoo has.
Our core value proposition is really across our platform and our tech, but also the content network that we have that we’ve been known for for years and the data that we bring to bear. What we allow people to do is basically leverage that vast editorial network for both social amplification and distribution, and creation of content.
As a brand, you can have our editors help create that content, tell that story, and use the data that we have across a billion users to really target and tailor it specifically to the individual. Then the distribution comes obviously through the tech platform. We bring all three things to bear and wrap it up in a nice, neat bow and call it Yahoo Storytellers.
Change is the one constant, for sure. One of the things that I’ve always done is look for opportunities to take pilots to the market, different betas, and opportunities. I was fortunate enough to be involved when we first launched Yahoo Gemini two years ago where we reinvented our main display platforms via in-feed, native offering. We were one of the first out there. That was absolutely disruptive.
You take what is a premium environment that was traditional banner display and you’re transitioning into a native, scroll, feed-based consumption experience geared towards mobile. A lot of bumps along the way, but we’ve actually grown that fairly significantly and it’s come full circle.
We also announced Yahoo Tiles, which is the ability to create a premium experience in mobile post app. It’s come back around where now we’ve figured out a way for brands to have a really rich media experience. You can have video, social feed integration. It’s swipe and interactive, dynamic creative on the mobile device. So we’re bringing together the things that we’re really good at—the premium—and blending it into the mobile world and the new world.
When leading an organization through change—you have to have a clear vision and direction as to where you’re going and why you’re doing it. You also have to have patience. Things move very fast in tech, but they also tend to move slowly.
People have to change over their way of thinking, their processes, their technology, etc. I think a combination of innovation and patience gets you where you need to go.
Sleep! I’ve had a chance to pop into a couple of things, between meetings. I think some of the innovation and conversations around how messaging is changing, and it’s beyond just messaging. We’re experiencing that ourselves with mail and our own messaging platform. I think that’s going to be interesting.
I think some of the location-based solutions that are out there that are just emerging, whether it’s a beacon or not a beacon, are pretty interesting. I think that will change how digital commerce is done and the ad experience. There’s a lot more to come. One takeaway I have is that there has been some consolidation in spend in the space, but it’s still pretty wide open.
A lot of brands and agencies are just figuring out their programmatic strategy, they’re still considering various platforms, they’re trying to get it right in mobile. There’s a pretty open opportunity if someone can come in, or multiple people can come in, and have a solution in the end that really brings together tech, consumer experience, creativity, etc. and do so at scale.