As the internet metamorphoses from web 2.0 to web3, marketers the world over are wondering — what does the future hold for digital strategy? As a household name within the digital realm with 28 years of history, Yahoo is better positioned than most to answer this question. And answer it they did: at the company’s 2022 APAC Growth Summit, high-level executives spoke about the technologies the company had invested in, their plans for innovation and growth, and the importance of openness and collaboration.
Themed “Inspire to Win,” the virtual event took place over May 26 and 27, with each day devoted to innovations within the ad tech and digital immersion spaces, respectively. The packed programme brought together 24 industry leaders to “inspire [viewers] to accelerate digital growth, [and] improve customer experience and business sustainability,” said Yahoo’s new head of APAC, Paul Sigaloff.
Powering the advertising of tomorrow
Kicking off the event with a few words, CEO Jim Lanzone spoke about the company’s efforts to drive “value creation through our brands, adtech, and search products,” adding that Yahoo would be “increasing our focus on platform growth to maximise our full stack opportunities” in APAC.
Iván Markman, the chief business officer of Yahoo added, "The digital transformation that has accelerated over the past few years reminds us that the only constant is change. There are three key trends shaping our industry today. First, the urgent need for identity solutions in a cookieless world. Second, the advanced TV acceleration with measurement at the forefront. Third, the access to commerce that is anytime, anywhere, around the world."
Paul Sigaloff, head of Yahoo APAC
In a session on the company’s APAC growth strategy, Sigaloff elaborated, “We think of this as transformational growth. Our reimagined Yahoo is set to reshape the industry by pairing the premium content brands you know and love with the continued investment in our market-leading technology.”
In preparation for the cookieless future, Yahoo is continuing to improve its technology stack with a unique digital ID product and online channels, such as digital out-of-home and advanced TV, with built-in data and audience analytics tools provided through its regional partnerships with Near and Samba TV.
The company’s capability across multiple channels is best exemplified with Yahoo Exchange, the newly debuted consolidation of its video, digital, and mobile exchanges that “underpins its unified stack,” said Simon Halstead, VP exchanges and supply international. Offering “a direct, premium, and transparent platform for buyers to access top publishers at scale, with a focus on premium content,” the platform can “power success for publishers and marketers alike” in one single exchange.
That focus on a streamlined experience was echoed by John McNerney, senior director of platform for Yahoo APAC, who noted that Yahoo was “uniquely placed” to target consumers, even as their online behaviour becomes “increasingly complex” due to its privacy-first identity solutions, omnichannel inventory, and open, “community garden” approach towards partnerships and transparency.
On the topic of what Halstead called an “integrated future-proof approach to identity,” Dan Richardson, head of data for Yahoo APAC, emphasised how crucial a direct and trusted relationship between a brand and a user is when obtaining consumer data. Richardson delved into two new privacy-proofed identity products — ConnectID
and Next-Gen Audiences
— an encrypted persistent identifier, and an advanced contextual targeting solution that incorporates real-time signals as well as content, at scale.
Chief business officer Iván Markman DJing in Decentraland
Immersive is no longer subversive: virtual productions, NFTs, and monkeying around in the metaverse
As every marketer knows, the next big thing in the digital realm is virtual production — NFTs, the metaverse, crypto, and all the other hallmarks of the web3 era are officially mainstream. Speaking from one of the company’s XR studios in London, the international head of Yahoo’s RYOT Studios, Mark Melling, outlined a few cases where RYOT had partnered with brands to bring larger-than-life experiences to the metaverse.
As a visually engaging medium, the metaverse pairs naturally with the fashion industry; a recent collaboration between RYOT and heritage British retailer Selfridges saw the creation of a neon-drenched immersive shopping experience called Electric/City
for the launch of Selfridges’ Pokemon fashion collection with designer Charli Cohen. And while avatars can’t taste or smell (yet), Melling explained that “experiential marketing is where marketers, regardless of whether their product is physical, or can be translated directly into the metaverse or not, should focus. Case in point: the afterparty that Scottish whisky brand Monkey Shoulder created
with the help of Yahoo Creative Labs at Decentraland’s Metaverse Festival last October.
Further underscoring Yahoo’s investment in metaverse experiences, Markman DJed in Decentraland on both days of the APAC Growth Summit.
Roger Li, senior director of ad creative of Yahoo APAC Creative Studio
But embracing the new age of the internet can look very different from brand to brand; at its core, it’s all about moving towards seamlessness and innovation. “As we step into the next gen internet, there is a growing complexity as the digital ecosystem evolves,” said Roger Li, senior director of ad creative of Yahoo APAC Creative Studio. Zoe Cocker, head of innovation and creative studio, Yahoo ANZ, added that company research indicated that 86% of Gen Z expects digital interactions and experiences to “enhance the real world.”
(L–R) Lance Tsang, associate e-commerce director of ITeShop, and Matthew Chan, head of sales, Yahoo Hong Kong & China
In some cases, that could be as simple as an omnichannel campaign that cleverly uses adtech such as real-time dynamic ad integration, programmatic digital out-of-of-home (DOOH) ad placements, and retargeting to reach prime customers. Citing an especially effective example of such a campaign, Matthew Chan, head of sales, Yahoo Hong Kong & China, highlighted how Hong Kong-based luxury fashion retailer I.T utilised Yahoo adtech to promote a week-long online sales event, ultimately driving conversions and building brand awareness. Other advertisers, such as Schroders Singapore, Volkswagen Taiwan, and Tourism Tasmania, also shared their successes in campaigns that utilised Yahoo’s full spectrum of adtech.
Growth, but make it personal
While much was said about business growth over the two days, ESG-related topics such as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and sustainability were threaded throughout the programme. In honour of May being mental health awareness month, the summit culminated in a panel on mental wellness.
Making her debut in a fireside chat about driving DEI in growth and innovation in the industry, Yahoo’s new chief diversity and inclusion officer, Alicin Reidy-Williamson, mused, “We often people think of it as a challenge or a problem to fix, where in fact, if we are able to lean in and get this right we all win.”
“And when we’re talking about who benefits from equity and access and knowing and having more transparency and connecting more deeply to each other,” she continued, “don’t we all benefit from that?”
Yahoo APAC Growth Summit 2022 took place on May 26 and May 27, 2022. The two-day, 160-minute program can be streamed in full and on demand on Yahoo TV
and Yahoo AdTech