Yahoo and Bebo Ink Partnership for U.K. Advertising

Yahoo U.K. and Ireland has signed a deal with Britain-based social network Bebo to handle the majority of its display advertising needs, which the search engine describes as a key part of taking on its biggest rival, Google, in that market.

The partnership consists of three components; Yahoo providing the majority of Bebo’s display advertising, inclusion of Yahoo Answers on Bebo, and the creation of a Bebo-branded toolbar. But the overall goal for Yahoo is to provide U.K. advertisers with a greater level of behaviorally-targeted advertising for the 16-to-24 year-old market via Bebo’s collected information about its users and the integration of online ad exchange Right Media technology, as well as the targeting technology from BlueLithium, which Yahoo acquired last week.

“We started looking at how do we start to go off-network to bring about a more scalable marketplace. The Right Media exchange helped a little bit, the BlueLithium does a great job as they line up with our core values, and the Bebo deal is the icing on top of the cake,” said Blake Chandlee, commercial director for Yahoo U.K. and Ireland. “This puts us in the number one position in the media perceptive in the U.K. with inventory and page views…to set our sights on Google.”

Chandlee concedes Google holds the lion’s share of the U.K. search query market at nearly 75 percent, but said that the combination of Bebo as the U.K.’s largest social network, along with BlueLithium as “the number two ad network behind in the U.K.,” and Yahoo’s own offerings will provide stiff competition once those integrations are complete.

“For me the biggest and most exciting bit is obviously when you walk into the marketplace and have the scale we will have is tremendous,” he said. “But scale without relevance falls short of what it could be, so the ability to target the platforms, the Bebo and the BlueLithium as well the Yahoo owned and operated properties, to be able to bring that level of targeting as we’d like to bring is a step change.”

The integration of BlueLithium’s behavioral targeting technology with Yahoo’s and Bebo’s information for display advertising is also something advertisers have been clamoring for in the U.K. market, said Chandlee, as the technology has only been available in that region from Yahoo since January.

“We’ll be leveraging some of our targeting platforms like behavioral targeting and others to bring more value into the inventory. And when we can, and where we can, in early ’08 we’ll start to leverage some of the BlueLithium capabilities as well,” he said. “The feedback we’ve gotten from the agency has been tremendous. The agencies and clients are really supportive of behavioral targeting.”

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