Yahoo will now rely on Cox Digital Solutions for political ad sales. Over time, Yahoo has placed less and less emphasis on in-house political ad sales, and the sales representation deal with Cox Digital suggests 2012 will be no different. Cox Digital also said it will now enable online ad targeting to congressional districts on the Cox Digital network and Yahoo.
According to the agreement, Cox Digital will now be the exclusive national ad seller of Yahoo inventory to political and advocacy advertisers. Cox has also opened an office in Washington, D.C. to better serve political clients and their agencies.
Cox Digital has improved online ad targeting for political advertisers, and can now aim ads on Yahoo and Cox sites to specific congressional districts using IP mapping and proprietary data. In the past, Cox Digital has not been able to target to the district level across all of its inventory, said Steve Shaw, president of Cox Digital Solutions.
The company is currently evaluating additional data types that could be layered with district targeting, such as psychographic and demographic data. “We’re exploring a bunch of different possibilities,” said Shaw.
The agreement gives Cox Digital access to a variety of ad types on Yahoo, including pre-roll and in-banner video, an increasingly popular form of digital advertising for political campaigns. While Cox will control most of Yahoo’s political ad sales now, the deal does allow for Yahoo’s newspaper consortium partners to continue selling Yahoo inventory to their own political clients, said Shaw.
According to Shaw, a “significant amount” of online advertising sold recently to political advertisers has been video-based.
Cox Digital opened its D.C. office a few months ago, hiring away former Washington Post Digital national account manager Matt Ross to run the new office. “We’re making a concerted effort to make sure we can sell at scale and deliver…in a very timely fashion,” said Shaw, noting the company may hire additional sales and ad operations staff for the D.C. office in the future.
It’s common for TV networks, online publishers, and online ad networks to unveil advertising programs geared towards political advertisers each political cycle. For instance, NCC Media, the sales and marketing firm owned by Time Warner, Fox, and Comcast, has planned its Elections 2012 platform, which includes targeted video on demand that can be combined with online ad offerings. Online ad network ValueClick is also up and running with a new political ad platform.
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