These days, AI-driven performance improvement is very popular.

With the debut of Blueprint, a new feature for its DSP, on Tuesday, Yahoo is now joining the fray. This feature helps marketers evaluate a person’s lifetime worth and potential to convert, and it provides midflight optimization tips to fulfill campaign goals.

The solution makes use of purchase and location data gathered from logged-in users with Yahoo email addresses, as well as first-party behavioral data extracted from Yahoo owned and controlled websites. Yahoo’s DSP has long possessed AI capabilities, but Blueprint is able to present algorithmic advice for several campaigns on a single dashboard.

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Yahoo is concentrating more on assisting advertisers in driving campaign effectiveness after shutting down its SSP in February, according to CRO Elizabeth Herbst-Brady. This launch, along with Yahoo’s recently announced Backstage direct-to-publisher purchase solution, is the latest in Yahoo’s plan to give its DSP business top priority.

In response to the changing market

Adam Roodman, SVP of product strategy and management at Yahoo, stated that the company’s new strategy is a reflection of the programmatic marketplace’s progress.

He claimed that Yahoo left the SSP industry because a large number of publishers now possess the programmatic expertise to successfully monetize their inventory by altering their header-bidding wrappers. They therefore depend less on publisher tech platforms.

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In a similar vein, Roodman stated that the Blueprint launch was a reaction to growing buy side complexity.

Advertisers nowadays are accustomed to activating against consumer insights and have access to a vast amount of data, but they don’t want to get bogged down in the tedious process of debugging campaign performance and experimenting with various audiences. Like many others who are investigating AI’s potential, they would prefer algorithms to take on that responsibility.

According to its director of digital marketing Benjamin Cao, Red Moon Marketing, an experiential and digital agency, has been utilizing Blueprint precisely like that in early tests. For Red Moon, optimizing across numerous campaigns inside a single dashboard has freed up approximately an hour of work each day that can now be used for internal education initiatives and client engagement.

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In order to help advertisers reach their performance targets, Blueprint first looks at their KPIs before recommending audiences or PMPs. The suggestions and estimates of how focusing on certain audiences would impact those KPIs may be found in the dashboard. Clients can choose to accept any new campaign strategies, rather than having these suggestions automatically adopted.

Red Moon, for instance, would want to save money on CPMs if it were launching an awareness campaign, according to Cao, in order to make sure it was purchasing as many impressions as possible. The Blueprint offers suggestions for setting up low-CPM private marketplaces or modifying bids to minimize the CPM.

Similarly, Blueprint will suggest excluding underperforming audiences or recommending high-CTR marketplaces if Red Moon is optimizing click-through rates (CTR) for a lower-funnel campaign.

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first-party before

All Yahoo DSP clients can access the Blueprint capability through the current dashboard. Predictive audience modeling, customer lifetime value features, integration of an existing campaign forecasting tool, and new data visualizations and audience insights are all part of the first phase of implementation. Next summer, Yahoo intends to release more changes.

Furthermore, if it meets the requirements of a certain campaign, Yahoo’s Backstage direct publisher link will be made available as a supply source for Blueprint optimization.

Because advertisers are placing increasing emphasis on partners with big first-party pools, Yahoo is now stressing its own data trove in its Blueprint pitch, according to Herbst-Brady. Additionally, it is simpler to comply with privacy laws when first-party data obtained with user consent is used.

To be clear, though, Blueprint uses data from third parties as well, and it gives that data the same weight when making algorithmic decisions.

For instance, Blueprint is obtaining data via digital receipts sent to Yahoo email accounts, as opposed to depending on sales information from stores. Once anonymized, the data can be utilized to build lookalike audiences for comparable transactions as well as targetable groups.

According to Cao, Red Moon’s digital marketing for CPG giants like Coca-Cola are greatly aided by the email-based sales data.

Furthermore, Yahoo’s SDK integrations with Lifesight and Cuebiq, two location data providers, enable its DSP to suggest targetable audiences of individuals who frequently visit particular places, which is essential for attracting customers to physical stores, according to Cao.

Within the dark enclosure

Although AI-powered optimization solutions have their uses, there are many openness issues with competing products such as Google’s Performance Max and Meta’s Advantage+.

According to Roodman, Yahoo wants to be transparent with marketers about the information its algorithm uses to generate suggestions. Additionally, advertisers get the last word on campaign modifications and must consent to them.

While Cao acknowledges that Yahoo has been more forthcoming than its rivals in disclosing the data that goes into its algorithmic decision-making, his true worry is that privacy legislation will threaten these optimization engines if tech providers withhold information about the user data they collect and how it is used.

“It’s a good precedent if businesses like Yahoo are able to make their optimization engine more transparent up front,” Cao stated. “However, we’re worried about how long a black-box system will last and how long we can continue to operate in a setting with little to no transparency.”


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