Macy’s Memorial Day Ads Leverage Lots of Data for Custom Effect

Yahoo and PointRoll have worked together for about a decade, but a new Macy’s Memorial Day campaign represents a first for both online ad vets. The expandable, interactive ads targeted to female Yahoo Mail users are the first to combine Yahoo’s rich pullover format with PointRoll’s store circular format.

The Macy’s campaign – aimed at women aged 25-54 and running today and tomorrow on Yahoo Mail pages – represents the increasingly data-driven world of online advertising, not only from a targeting but a creative standpoint. The ads leverage demographic, behavioral, and geographic data from Yahoo along with local product and pricing data from PointRoll to generate customized creative.

A mom living in the Northwest who has searched for bathroom towels or read about home repair on Yahoo might be served the version of the Macy’s sale catalog that highlights home products on the cover, for instance. Or, someone living in the South where the weather is already beach-worthy might be shown the swimwear cover version of the ad.

“Data is becoming the new creative, and creative is being informed by the data,” said Catherine Spurway, PointRoll VP strategy and marketing.

The ad unit itself – known as the pullover – was developed by Yahoo and PointRoll, according to Mitch Spolan, Yahoo VP, advertising sales, who said Yahoo introduced it to clients in February. The format expands upon user initiation, and can include social elements such Twitter and Facebook sharing.

According to Spolan, advertisers including Olive Garden and flower seller FTD have used the format. Macy’s is the first retailer to use it.

Ads display the address of the store closest to the user based on Yahoo’s geographic data; however, users can enter a different Zip code to find alternative store locations. They also feature hot-spotting, making the name and price of a product more visible when scrolled over.

The campaign represents the type of efforts we could see more of from Yahoo, which stressed its focus on better monetizing its vast inventory yesterday at its annual investors conference. For example, the pullover format is available only on Yahoo Mail pages – where much of the company’s inventory is based. Selling such highly-interactive, data-driven ad formats to advertisers looking for brand and direct-response metrics is one way for Yahoo to better monetize that abundant inventory with a premium offering.

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