Yahoo focused on growing its advertising business in India: Paul Sigaloff

Yahoo!, the 30-year-old American tech giant, is the third-largest property on the Internet and has nearly 900 million monthly active users worldwide. Yahoo ended fiscal 2021 with 141% growth in CTV YoY.

Yahoo said its ad tech business is growing steadily and the company is forging strategic partnerships in the connected TV segment to drive growth.

On that note, e4m interacted with Paul Sigaloff, Vice President, Director of Sydney-based Apac. He talked about the company’s strategy to advance its advertising business to compete with Google.


There is a new government in Australia. Do you expect major changes in media policy?

There are many opportunities with the new government in place. However, it is too early to tell if major changes are on the way. It’s an interesting time as everyone is talking about privacy and compliance, and obviously the call for scrutiny of some of the larger media companies that have taken a lot of revenue from traditional media companies will likely continue.

What has been your vision and strategy for the Yahoo business since taking over as head of APAC?

This is a very exciting time for our business. We call it “New Yahoo”, which has been in a transformation phase since Apollo acquired Yahoo. With Apollo’s backing, we want to take Yahoo to the next level with our impressive array of assets, including premium iconic brands, industry-ready ad technologies, and billions of data points that help us improve audience personalization for better and meaningful engagement.

We are focused on creating value through great, iconic brands and advertising technologies that help us grow in all markets. In 2021, India’s DSP (demand-side platform) business grew by 130% YoY compared to 2020, which is quite impressive compared to a global growth of 105% and our overall CAGR by 115%. Our growth in India is through our native DSP products.

We have many local and global partners in India on our exchange side. In addition to direct publishers, we have brands like Times of India, Zee5 and Daily Hunt as partners. We achieved strong revenue growth through strong engagement. We want to double partnerships in APAC regions.

Recently, we partnered with Near (which offers cookieless advertising identity solutions) and Hivestack (an outside programmatic digital ad technology company) to access inventory in DOOH and have identity solutions for the world without cookies.

Yahoo had shut down its news operations in India last year. What impact has this had on the business? Do you intend to restart the news domain?

There has been a change in the regulations and that is why we have to end our 20 year relationship with the news in India. This is not a decision we took lightly. We always have search and courier service which is the largest courier service in India. Currently, we are focused on growing the advertising business in India, which is a strategically important market for us and a significant contributor to our global growth.

We will continue to engage with the Indian government to understand the future opportunities available to us.

What are your biggest challenges right now, as tech giants like Google, Meta, and Amazon dominate the digital advertising landscape?

They’re pretty big competitors, but our scale and global reach are pretty similar since we have 900 million users. However, we work as an independent actor. We are much more collaborative and we don’t have a “walled garden” approach (like competitors). We keep our partners first.

We are one of the founding companies of the Internet and we have learned a lot along the way. New Yahoo is focused on creating value through our global brands, ad technology solutions, and search businesses. We have extensive and productive experience with the arrival of Apollo. We are free from the public market.

Personally, I’m very excited about Yahoo’s future. We have the ability to unleash our full potential through collaboration with major brands, omnichannel full stack, and partnership with Apple and Microsoft.

How do you plan to develop Yahoo Creative Studios and the Metaverse? Do you plan to produce branded content?

We are the pioneers of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and AR (Augmented Reality), which are much more immersive and have a lasting impression. It is important to know how to keep your brand in the mind of the audience for their future buying needs. According to studies, 46% of shoppers are interested in AR content, 80% of people have viewed 360° products, and many people are opting for the e-commerce experience before shopping.

The metaverse is about experiences and how we can bridge the gap between the physical and virtual worlds. Brands learn more by exploring this space. Interestingly, millions of consumers are already playing in this space. When you read you understand 10%, when you hear you understand 20% and when you see you understand 30%. However, when you experience it, you understand 90% of it.

We did a study in the UK on an alcoholic product – Monkey Shoulder. The brand recreated virtual music content in Decentraland (metaverse) that appealed to many people who hadn’t had a drink outside their homes due to the pandemic.

Many people buy digitally through the metaverse. In New York, Yahoo was Fashion Week’s innovation partner. We collaborated with renowned designer Maisie Schloss who showcased her brand “Maisie Wilen” with moving holograms of models that people could interact with and purchase using the QR code.

The popularity of Metaverse events has shown that we need to look beyond the traditional approach to marketing. It’s not just the adoption of the metaverse, it’s about the democratization of the metaverse. Yahoo is exploring and identifying many opportunities in this space.

What are the current digital advertising trends in India? What categories of brands advertise on the Yahoo India platform?

Omnichannel marketing definitely stands out in India. It offers a seamless connection with consumers across all digital platforms. It’s not just about display, video and TV ads anymore. Now we have to do Connected TV (CTV) and Digital Out Of Home (DOOH). The number of connected TVs in India will be 40 million by 2025. Both CTV and DOOH are available programmatically, making it easier for buyers. CTV and DOOH are going to be a big driver in India for advertising and are attracting huge demand. In our studies, over 56% of shoppers said they purchased an item after seeing the ads featured on DOOH and 65% of purchases were unplanned. Additionally, brands have started to prepare for cookie-free and ID-free worlds. Yahoo is a pioneer in solutions for the post-cookie world with an integrated approach to identity – Yahoo ConnectID and Next-Gen Solutions.

When it comes to brand categories, Yahoo India works with brands from FMCG, automotive, banking, financial and other industries. Some of our customers are Amazon, Apple, ICICI Direct, Renault and Mercedes. We also have a strong network with advertising agencies such as Madison, OMG, Connoisseur and Amnac.

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