Yahoo rolled out a preview of its new homepage redesign today, and the increased interactivity and streamlined experience reflects the company’s intent on balancing the interests of both users and advertisers.
“We designed the page with two audiences in mind: end users and advertisers. Both are our customers, and we need to keep both groups happy,” Tapan Bhat, Yahoo’s VP in charge of the portal’s “front doors,” told ClickZ News. “The new page is much more interactive, and much more personal, focusing on what users want to do. All things being equal, if you have a better page for users, it helps the advertiser too.”
The new home page, which has been spotted in limited markets for the past few months, utilizes AJAX, the same technology behind dynamic content of sites like Google Maps. AJAX allows Yahoo to deliver new content to a part of the page without refreshing the whole thing, and allows users to add content to the page on the fly. That will keep users on the page longer, Bhat expects, since they will no longer have to click away from the home page to check their local weather, Yahoo mail, IM buddy list or movie listings.
Those features and other personalizable content is located in a “personal assistant” section at the top of the page. Yahoo strategically placed an ad unit under that module, hoping that the increased content interactivity will keep the ad in front of users for a longer period of time, according to Bhat.
“The Yahoo home page has been extremely successful as a place where advertisers go to do mass-market brand advertising. That appeal is something we took pains to re-emphasize,” he said.
The redesigned page, expected to be released broadly this summer, offers the same amount of ad inventory and number of ad placements as before. The company conducted research with both users and advertisers to determine which placements would best serve both groups. With the new dynamic content, Yahoo has given extra thought to the increasingly popular home page takeovers, what it calls “Tier One” ad units. The design allocates a band across the page, creating a “showcase area” for advertisers, Bhat said.
“We’ve designed those opportunities in a way that will bring them to life for the advertiser,” he said.