Yahoo! Gets Passionate About Ads

By Oct 03, 2005

Internet portal Yahoo! gets positive results from its online advertisements because it combines its best fundamentals of branding and its best direct marketing practices, chief marketing officer Cammie Dunaway said during her keynote speech on Sept. 28 at the OMMA Conference & Expo.

The object of online advertising is to engage the consumer and communicate a clear benefit to the audience, Dunaway said. This builds passion for a product, which in turn creates brand loyalty.

She showed examples of online Yahoo! Personals advertisements that generated a 60% rise in clickthroughs. The ad targeting men featured a single woman, and the ad aimed at women showcased a couple.

But Dunaway also showed examples of how not to win consumers: flashy “click here for a prize” boxes and pop-ups, and sports gambling banners that featured women in bikinis.

“We have to be champions of great work and great creativity, and we’ve got to get rid of this kind of schlock,” Dunaway said.

Among the practices Yahoo! uses to connect advertisements and consumers, according to Dunaway:

  • Matching the creative work to your market. Guys going to Yahoo! Dating are not looking for their fantasy woman, Dunaway says, so there’s no reason to use one in the ad.
  • Connecting with the consumer emotionally. Dunaway said men look forward to returning to Yahoo! Fantasy Sports every football season to rekindle their fantasy-sports rivalries. The ads therefore combines the brand message with emotional, rather than clinical, sports images. Examples included an individual uniformed football player raising his helmet in glory, and groups of players celebrating a victory.
  • Integrating the customer experience. Yahoo! likes to use the same message in its ads as on its landing pages. If an ad doesn’t contain a message, consumers aren’t likely to react. If the ad does have a message, it still needs to be reinforced on the landing page.
  • Supporting your brand’s personality. If your brand is lighthearted and fun, that should be portrayed in both the ad and the campaign. Creative for Yahoo! Alpha Mail includes a tutorial led by a cartoon version of a Yahoo! employee. In some cases, he is seen wearing a tutu.