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Blending in is the new ‘standout’: Yahoo’s Nitin Mathur

The year 2015 has been dubbed as the year of native advertising in India. Native in India still has a long way to compete with developed markets such as US and Europe but it is fast catching up with global strategies, and Yahoo claims to be making headway in the space.

In conversation with Digital Market Asia, Nitin Mathur, Senior Director Marketing – APAC at Yahoo elaborates on Yahoo’s native advertising platform – Yahoo Stream. Yahoo is servicing brands across the platform such as ecommerce, financial services and automobile in the field of native advertising.

Yahoo Stream Ads
Today the traditional aspect of display advertising does not convert well on connected devices because it is considered intrusive by the user. For the new-age, connected consumer, there is a need for new advertising formats which can blend seamlessly across connected devices.

“We need to create formats that are less intrusive and more natural in terms of their integration. One of the features of native ads is that it should not be intrusive or interrupt user’s experience and it really blends well. ‘Blending in’ is the new standing out,” said Mr Mathur. According to him, what helps Yahoo standout in the native advertising space is its incredible reach and depth of content.

Publishers cannot ignore personalisation and customisation of content in advertising and Yahoo’s technological backing that helps it in achieving the same. “We can personalise the stream for the user and when the stream is personalised, it is easy for us to personalise the advertisement. Our ability to do it across devices sets us apart,” explained Mr Mathur.

Yahoo keeps options around the targeting and analytics on advertising strong and will continue to making it stronger. Going forward, it will focus all its energies on making advertising more targeted and relevant for the consumer, the marketing expert added.

Native advertising v/s Content marketing
Mr Mathur also cleared air around the misconception of putting native advertising and content marketing under the same head. According to him, they are not similar but complementary to each other.

“Some people like to consider native advertising as a sub part of content marketing but it is not true because native advertising can just be pure play advertising where you are just telling the story in a different way,” Mr Mathur said.

Yahoo’s content marketing ambition is realised through Tumblr, a platform for brands to build on and look at as a content marketing hub. “Advertisers can take relevant sections from their content marketing hub and push it in the market through platform such as Yahoo stream ads,” Mr Mathur added.

Mobile driving native advertising
Going forward he believes that mobiles and other connected devices will be driving the adoption of native advertising in India. The tech giant already attributes 55-60 per cent of the traffic on its properties to the mobile users.

According to a study in collaboration with Mindshare, it emerged that 80 per cent of the mobile users are happy to click on ads through their mobile devices in the native advertising format because it is not disruptive, Mr Mathur shared.

Yahoo makes sure that it does not miss out on the immense opportunity in the mobile space. So far, it has been successful in leveraging the exuberance around the mobile story and grown its mobile base by adding 575 million users per month from 190 million per month, earlier.

Similar trend has been reflected in Yahoo’s balance sheets as well. “In 2014, we garnered mobile revenue worth USD 1.26 billion and it is projected to grow at a rate of 23 per cent quarter on quarter. In Q4 our mobile revenue was USD 254 million, i.e. a growth of 23 per cent quarter-over-quarter,” Mr Mathur pointed.

Mr Mathur is optimistic on the future of native advertising. “In India, native advertising is the fastest growing advertising revenue stream for us and we look forward to scaling it much faster,” he said. Native advertising blends some of the brands advertising attributes to performance advertising. The price point and delivery mechanism is such that you can optimise the campaign like a performance campaign. So, the blended approach works very well for Yahoo, he concluded.