Yahoo! News Gets Facelift for Users, Advertisers

Yahoo has re-designed its Yahoo News product to create a less-cluttered environment for both content and ads.

The number of ad units on each story page was reduced from two — a banner at the top and a skyscraper down the right side — to a single 300×250 ad placed within the content well. Yahoos intention is to make the ads stand out more and give the advertiser a greater share of voice, said Neil Budde, general manager for Yahoo News.

“With the redesign, we were trying to open up the page, and make it cleaner for users as well as advertisers,” Budde said.

The company also hopes that reducing supply will help it bring in more dollars per impression. The 300×250 units are more in demand, so they tend to fetch a higher CPM, according to Budde.

This strategy was also recently employed by Ask Jeeves, which reduced its ads above the fold on search results pages by 31 percent, and still upped its profit. The company attributes the improvement to giving users a better experience

Budde said Yahoo will also begin introducing more rich media ads to the news pages, a plan which will benefit from the switch of ad units, since the 300×250 units have a more familiar TV-like aspect ratio that is more popular with rich-media advertisers.

The 300×250 ad units appear on all story pages and news category pages, but not on the news home page. That page was left ad-free to provide the most room for content, but special advertising opportunities could be made available for that page in the future, Budde said. Since most of Yahoo News’ visitors come to the site through a story page, that is where the ads get the most reach.

Targeting of these ads takes many forms. Advertisers can choose a category within Yahoo News or employ demographic and behavioral targeting across the Yahoo network. Registration data from its 172 million registered users also gives Yahoo data points to use in its targeting.

As part of the redesign, Yahoo implemented a tabbed navigation interface, giving each section its own page that’s reachable from the news home page. Putting the navigation across the top of the page also makes more room for content, and the page’s ad, above the fold.

Yahoo News is also using Y!Q search technology to find and list below each story links to related content on Yahoo and elsewhere on the Web. Contextual links from Yahoo Search Marketing’s Content Match program are also listed at the bottom of each story.

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