Build privacy-safe solutions: Iván Markman of Yahoo on cookie-less world

In an exclusive chat with Storyboard18, Iván Markman, Chief Business officer, Yahoo, shares how they are going to be focusing on the areas of meaningful connections with consumers

Published: May 2, 2022 04:38:59 PM IST
Updated: May 2, 2022 06:48:12 PM IST

Iván Markman, chief business officer, Yahoo, believes 'commerce everywhere' is going to be one of the emerging trends.

Iván Markman joined Verizon Media in early 2019 as its chief business officer. Later, when Verizon media became Yahoo again in September 2021, he filled in the same role at the newly constituted Yahoo. After a successful start, there is no denying that Yahoo’s path has been full of twists and turns after many significant changes in the platform. Most recently, some of the Yahoo assets nested under the former Verizon Media umbrella have undergone a huge change. In an exclusive interview with Storyboard18, Markman tells us what this new Yahoo looks like, what’s the way forward, and what are users and brands looking for.
Edited excerpts.
Q. What are the new focus areas for the new Yahoo?
We are a large scale publisher with millions of users around the world. And we have a large and growing business across ad tech, search, and so on. So the new Yahoo is that search engine and we are stronger than ever, backed by the might of Apollo Funds around the world. We are going to focus on the areas of meaningful connections with consumers, and helping that connect advertisers and publishers for growth in the ever-evolving ecosystem of more immersive experiences in the ‘cookie less’ world.

Q. And what are the growth opportunities that lie ahead for you?
There are spaces that are growing very fast. Commerce everywhere is growing fast. When you think about how sports and finance are also evolving—also how advertisers and how they connect with consumers are evolving across all of these different channels, those are areas of high growth. In India, our DSP (Demand Side Platforms) more than doubled last year, and it has been doubling every year. A lot of this is on the heels of consumers wanting to connect with their brands they are passionate about across many different screens—outdoors and in the virtual world.

Q. What are brands looking for from a platform such as yours?
First and foremost, they are expecting brand-safe, highly performing engagement with their consumers. And they are expecting to do this across different channels. The landscape is evolving when it comes to identity, and they expect to take these into the cookie-less world. They expect to take this into the metaverse. So, their expectations continue to evolve, but it is all about engaging with the consumer, wherever they are, in meaningful, privacy safe and brand-safe ways.

Q. What are the kinds of opportunities for marketers and brands in the metaverse?
We have had the opportunity to work with brands, helping them test and learn highly immersive opportunities. So the metaverse just takes that to the next level. For example, in our Taiwan market, we created the concept of a digital twin for our virtual dance championship. This enables consumers to live in both spaces and engage with brands in both places in a unique way. Another example is when at the New York Fashion Week, Rebecca Minkoff's fashion pieces were turned into NFTs for the virtual world. So not only was it an immersive experience but consumers could also trade in the virtual world, could trade in the metaverse, and make use of its capabilities.

Q. Borders and markets are now opening up. What are the big trends that will shape digital advertising?
I would say three very important trends. One is around the notion of the changing identity landscape. Cookies are going away, they have already gone away in certain privacy browsers. The Apple ecosystem has changed. So, one big trend is evolving the advertising model into a world that needs a new identity solution. The second aspect is the notion of commerce everywhere. It is helping brands and consumers engage in new ways. And third is they move away from linear TV experiences to what we call advanced TV—connected TV and TV everywhere. As the economies reopen, we are seeing some of this flowing to digital and out of home as well. So I would say these are some of the big trends that we are seeing right now.

Q. How do these trends compare to the Indian market?
In India, we are seeing some of these opportunities as well. I mentioned some of the omnichannel engagement. In India, the adoption of these omnichannel strategies on our DSP has been tremendous. It has been growing a lot faster in the rest of the world. The other element that we are seeing is the connection between connected TVs and digital out-of-home and mobile devices. This is something that we are particularly seeing in India across multiple categories, from fast-moving consumer goods to automotive to finance and more.

Q. Some of the key concerns or headwinds faced by the industry are around the areas of brand safety on digital, consumer data safety and privacy and measurement. How is Yahoo addressing these issues?
The first thing I would like to say is that we need to start with people. People as consumers and their privacy. People as advertisers who are trying to grow their business, and people as publishers or app owners who are trying to grow their business and monetise it. So the way we are thinking about it is people first and thinking about each of these constituencies starting with true respect, transparency, and providing consent around privacy. We have relationships with hundreds and millions of consumers every day, around the world. So we start there, and then in privacy-centric ways we connect it with advertisers and publishers and build more and more of those relationships. But it doesn’t stop there. We have to build privacy-safe solutions and not use consumer data at all. These are next-generation contextual solutions and we are seeing a lot of growth in the advertising ecosystem.

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