Marketers care about Verizon deal, not the hacks, says Yahoo chief revenue officer

Speaking with The Drum at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Lisa Utzschneider, Yahoo chief revenue officer, claimed that marketers were more concerned about the now confirmed Verizon deal, rather than the recent hacks.

Lisa Utzschneider talks Yahoo and Verizon deal at CES

Utzschneider was speaking ahead of an announcement that means Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will leave the company and Yahoo will rebrand to become Altaba.

She said advertisers she was meeting with were inquiring over what a “post-deal Yahoo” would have to offer them, and also explained how it also intended to distinguish its adtech offering BrightRoll from the existing market leaders.

“In these meetings they [advertisers] ask me what’s the status of the deal – I can’t think of one meeting I’ve had this week where I’ve been asked about the [data] breach [referenced above]. The questions I get asked are: ‘what’s the status of the deal; is it on track to close?’," she told The Drum.

"Marketers are so excited about the prospect of the combined entity. They just want to make sure it is on track to close, and they also just want to make sure that Yahoo continues to drive its business during this process … so our team doesn’t get too distracted [from the business of conducting ad campaigns] before, during and post close."

She went on to say: “We’re still in the integration phase, and I can’t speak to a post-close world, but we planning right now, and when we’re ready with our go-to market strategy, we’ll be happy to talk about it.”

Last year, Yahoo had centered its advertising offering around content, data and technology, which Utzschneider claimed “has really resonated with our marketers and so it’s a continuation of that story, and how we’re refining and investing in those three pillars”, as well as distinguishing itself in terms of customer support with its Gemini and BrightRoll offerings that will be the focus of its energies before then.

On top of this customer service element, an area where Google’s DoubleClick is notoriously lacking, advertisers are also interested in Yahoo’s live content proposition, according to Utzschneider, who also explained how its bank of first party data, made available through its Yahoo Mail, search data plus insights gleaned from its Flurry Analytics platform that make its proposition of interest to advertisers.

“Advertisers have been very enthusiastic about creating more refined solutions with that data, and feedback on the technology and adtech side has been positive over the last 12 months,” she said.

“Over the past 12 months we’ve been focusing on combining BrightRoll [a video DSP] with our existing display DSP, and we’ve called it DSP+, which is a way that advertisers can access both video and display via one interface programmatically,” she explained, adding that it also wants to extend BrightRoll to win over more brand advertising dollars.

Verizon too has remained purse-lipped about its intentions for Yahoo, but the purchase almost replicates its takeover of AOL (a purchase completed last year) a relationship the online advertising outfit leveraged last week when it announced AOL BrandBuilder at CES.

This tie-up saw AOL pair with its owner Verizon Wireless with a proposition that would see the carrier’s customers agree to engage with ads in return for a more generous mobile data allowance, plus video ads that undercut industry-norms in terms of length.

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