Verizon Media reports bumper year amidst investment in Yahoo and AR

2020 has been a bumper year for the Australian and New Zealand arm of Verizon Media and its Yahoo platforms.

The company has reported 22% y-o-y business growth for 2020 and an 11% increase in monthly active users across editorial brands: Yahoo, TechCrunch and HuffPost/BuzzFeed.

It has also seen triple digit growth in its digital offerings according to director of platforms ANZ, John McNerney, and a significant increase in the use of out of home digital. “Verizon has invested a lot in the [out of home] technology and it is now far ahead of its competitors,” he said.

The media and technology company said that the expanded Omnichannel DSP offering, which brings programmatic, premium and native marketplace inventory, formats, targeting and measurement together into a single platform was getting significant traction with the market, in particular with enterprise brands looking to increase visibility of media buying in real time.

At present, 70% of the users are agencies, while 30% was large corporates, based on revenue. Westpac is one of the brands that has so far publicly announced it’s uptake of the platform.

The cost of accessing the Verizon Omnichannel DSP is based on spend on the platform according to McNerney.

Going forward, as third party cookies become a thing of the past on major search outlets, the Verizon Media’s DSP will be looking to deliver brands encrypted identifiers via its enhanced attribution solution. In preparation for cookies being turned off, Verizon has also launched its own search engine, OneSearch, which does not “track, store or share personal data” according to Verizon. It has been rolled out in North America only to date.

Local content still king

The various Yahoo branded content outlets in the region also reported positive audience growth throughout the year according to director of content, Simon Wheeler. In particular the finance and sports offerings. Yahoo Finance has seen a 69% increase y-o-y in monthly audience, taking it to 2.3 million monthly users as of July 2020.

It is currently in talks to become the media partner to behaviour change technology platform Thrive Global APAC. Under the new deal, founder and CEO of Thrive Global and founder of The Huffington Post Arianna Huffington will become a guest columnist for Yahoo Finance Australia and contribute stories on purpose and wellbeing.

Last month Verizon Media sold its digital publication HuffPost to BuzzFeed in a stock deal. As part of the purchase, Buzzfeed will bring Huffpost into its portfolio of brands while Verizon Media will take a minority stake in BuzzFeed.

The two companies have also entered into a strategic partnership across content and advertising, to create an innovation group to explore monetisation opportunities, and leverage emerging ad formats, including extended reality (XR) and Augmented Reality applications.

In 2021 Yahoo Sport will launch a new video series called ‘Mind Games’, featuring elite athletes sharing the mental toll of being an elite athlete. The animated series will tell the stories of athletes including Australian rugby player and Olympic Gold medalist Ellia Green, world champion boxer Billy Dib and Australian Olympic swimmer Daniel Kowalski, on how they dealt with their personal battles.

Wheeler said that content across the Australian Yahoo channels was currently 80% local content, and that they were continuing to invest in the news channels.

5G and AR a growing opportunity for brands

The company is also investing in its WebAR platform, which recently rolled out a campaign for Officeworks. Julia Edwards, head of strategic solutions at RYOT Studio, commented: “The launch of our Verizon Media Immersive Platform is what allowed us to take advantage of the rapid advancements we’ve seen in WebARin the past12 months, meaning that we’re able to create AR experiences that are easily scalable, accessible and extremely user friendly.

“Immersive formats turn passive audiences into active participants, which generates higher engagement and with the roll out of 5G across Australia, this will only enable these extended reality experiences to be even more captivating.”


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