Just yesterday I was following a link to an article and ended up over at Reuters.com, but before I could see the article, of course I got blocked with an introductory message. And, guess what - it was for Yahoo's new Personal Finance page. The intro message was well done and you should have expected no less from Yahoo. After, I was redirected to the article, it turned out that Yahoo has a block on almost the ads on the homepage, including a sponsorship on the upper right, two box units, and a small banner unit on the left. Hmmmm....
Then I found a purple ad spread over three pages in today's Wall Street Journal print edition touting their new sponsored search platform, code named Panama. The ad was again tastefully done, but I thought to myself, only MSN was so desperate to advertise in newspapers for their search platform. I wonder what gives because both are slightly odd.
The Reuters ad buy is a little strange because Reuters already powers a lot of the news article in Yahoo Finance so there is a huge overlap between the two. In fact, this was confirmed in a test I did with Reuters a few years back when I looked at the actual audience duplication. Plus, doesn't Yahoo already have a huge advantage with the traffic on Yahoo Finance and the cross promotion found on their finance homepage? I know you are probably saying, maybe they got it for free or as a makegood, but nothing is free in web advertising and Reuters has to be "charging" something because they didn't sell the spots to another advertiser.
While Yahoo might have some valid reason for the Reuters buy, the print advertising campaign for Panama is even stranger. At first, I wasn't going to bash this, but then I remembered that this is an online product targeted at a unique audience (media buyers and advertisers) promoted with a highly untargeted, expensive, and in my opinion a complete waste of an advertising channel. Yes, I have no love for the print ad in a national newspaper and when I've been associated with campaigns, I've seen ZERO results attributed to this and that includes new accounts, sales, visits to a website, word of mouth, etc. The only reason it could possible make any sense was to target it to Wall Street and other industry execs to show that Yahoo is fighting back versus Google. Again, even that is a waste of money and surprises me a bit.
Both advertising campaigns seem a little off for Yahoo and typically of what you'd find MSN doing on behalf of their search products and website pages. I didn't think Yahoo was so desperate to advertise in this manner especially when they have one of the crown jewels of advertising channels, themselves.