Questions for Yahoo’s Head of Mobile Advertising and Publishing

David-Katz_Yahoo.2008.jpgYahoo may not have its own mobile OS or branded phone like Google, but its mobile offerings — such as Yahoo Go, OneSearch, and OneConnect on the iPhone — reach hundreds of millions of users worldwide.

At the helm of Yahoo’s advertising initiatives is David Katz. Appointed in June, Katz has overseen the launch of a search and display ad partnership with AT&T and one with T-Mobile. ClickZ talked to him last week about Yahoo’s mobile progress and its plans for 2009.

Q. What has happened in the two months since you took over?

A.We’ve had a busy couple of months in terms of what we’ve accomplished. We launched a mobile search and display partnership with AT&T. We launched partnerships in Asia as well [with carriers in Malaysia and India].

On the product side, our big [news] is the launch of rich media ads in the Yahoo Go product. The challenge was most phones don’t have Flash support. With Yahoo Go we can control the media experience. A great set of brands can get excited about [the ad offering], with recent campaigns from Ford, Mountain Dew, Nationwide, and we just launched with the Sci-Fi Channel.

Q. What is the reach of Yahoo Go?

A.Yahoo Go is available on more than 280 devices in 19 countries. We have millions of users that use the product. The U.S. is our number one market for Go.

Q. What are the highlights of your agency and client relationships?

A.We’re pretty proud of relationships we’ve built with agencies. We struck a relationship with Publicis and [its mobile agency] Phonevalley; they’ve adopted Blueprint (define) to help its clients scale brand messages globally. We’ve got a pretty exciting campaign launching later this quarter with a major retailer so we’re pretty excited about that partnership.

The final thing that we’ve been excited about this year is getting depth and repeat business in key categories. For so long mobile advertising has been about consumables. With…Jaguar, Citroen, Porsche, we’ve seen renewals from these brands.

Q. Is automotive one of your stronger categories?

A. At Yahoo we’ve had terrific interest from the automotive category. Both Citroen in Europe for the launch of the C5 and Ford in the U.S. came to us with launch campaigns. Jaguar came back to Yahoo twice and Ford came back to Yahoo twice as well.

Q. What’s the big goal for 2009?

A. The number one priority is to simplify the ad buying process [and] spend a bunch of time trying to figure out how to unlock demand and get more people to mobile. It’s too challenging: too many sizes, complexities, buying, tracking, reporting. For all those reasons, advertisers struggle a little bit with mobile. Our priority will be to make it easier to get ROI out of it and make it easier as the year goes on.

Note: A mention of T-Mobile in the U.K. was removed from one of David Katz’s answers. The deal was signed prior to his promotion to VP of moble advertising and publishing at Yahoo.

Related reading