Observers at the IAB conference, which was titled Big Data & Big Ideas, any hope of insight into how Yahoo would match its gargantuan content and its huge visitors with specifics about advertising were probably a bit disappointed. There was no mention of its exchange platform Right Media or its data management system, Genome. Instead, De Castro asked for patience on the advertising front.
"If you don't get the content right, you won't get the advertising right," he said. "We need to personalize the content at scale. That is how we will find advertising success."
The content would come mostly from big media content partners through homepage integration with the likes of ABC's Good Morning America, which has worked with Yahoo in some capacity for roughly a dozen years. There would also be room for vertical integration with marketers -- perhaps a microsite or special sponsorship opportunities and native advertising, as well as e-commerce opportunities, such as the one Yahoo has with Shop NBC.
"Yahoo can be a publishing platform for different types of mixes, both editorial and advertising," he said. "Web 3.0 is going to be immersive and will require a lot of scale – and very few media outlets have our kind of scale."
During a brief Q&A period moderated by IAB chief Randall Rothenberg, De Castro was asked what happens to media planning when Yahoo "personalizes" its content. What do agencies do to create plans?
"The planning is going to look at the audience backwards, because you will pick and choose the targets," De Castro said.
Asked about his transition from Google to Yahoo, De Castro said the change gave him a new appreciation for the mundane, behind the scenes work done at department stores. "All retail is the same: you take products from suppliers, put it on the shelves," he said. "The product assortment is critical and it takes time. Merchandising content and advertising on the web and merchandising on TV is different. There's an art and science and I never appreciated much until I came to Yahoo."
Rothenberg helped elaborate on De Castro's points about the featuring of well known content partners alongside its own in-house editorial product, suggesting that Yahoo is like Bloomingdales, in that it "sells its own store brands and others brands."
"I agree with the analogy," De Castro said. "Everybody can be on our platform. That is our vision. And with Web 3.0, we have expanded it."