Yahoo’s Dora Michail: ‘As an industry we’ve got to think about the user experience’ | M&M Global
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Yahoo’s Dora Michail: ‘As an industry we’ve got to think about the user experience’

Dora Michail, senior director for programmatic and audience solutions at Yahoo EMEA, explains why advertisers must consider the user experience of digital advertising. 


Alex Brownsell: “Hello my name is Alex Brownsell, I’m the editor on M&M Global. I’m delighted to say I’m joined by Dora Michail, the Senior Director for Programmatic and Audience Solutions at Yahoo EMEA. There’s obviously a huge amount of new avenues opening and new opportunities for advertisers but there are some challenges in the industry as well. Elements like adblocking and viewability are concerns that have developed over the last couple of years. What’s your position on those challenges for advertisers at the moment?”

Dora Michail: “I think adblocking is a challenge for all of us in the industry. I don’t think that there is one side or another that has to take accountability or responsibility over any other. I think we all have to acknowledge that as an industry, and we talked about how we’re still very nascent as a digital industry, we should all take responsibility for where we are now with regard to the high adblocking numbers. We’ve allowed for a long time in general as an industry bad practice – sort of unpalatable advertising on some sites and it’s been allowed because we haven’t taken a big enough stand against it. Ad revenue dollars are still being passed through and I think it’s got us into a bit of a spot here. So as an industry we have to accept and acknowledge what we have done and work together to work out how we go forward and how we improve the user experience because that’s really what it is about.”

“At Yahoo, we take that responsibility very seriously. We have options for users where they’re able to literally pick the type of advertising that they want to see. They can tell us what they’re interested in, whether it’s something to do with sports advertising, finance advertising or whatever it may be. They can say yes or no and that improves relevance and that’s a really key part of it. We also think about the type of advertising we do. We talked about how our DSP is both multi-channel and media agnostic, we think about multi-channel and multi-device. Native advertising in particular has been very successful for us. It’s our only way of advertising on mobile and it makes the user experience very clean, very smooth and very uncluttered. We see a great response from the more inoffensive way in which we do our advertising on mobile and I think as an industry we’ve all got to think about the user experience and try and make further improvements.”

Alex Brownsell: “And the viewability question, rather than being a consumer issue, is something for which advertisers need to work out their ambitions, i.e. the level of viewability that their advertising receives. Is that something they need to understand, the impact of user experience as well?”

Dora Michail: “I think so. I think you’re right to combine the two actually. I think often you can’t really decouple the two things: sometimes they can mean the same thing for a user. I think it’s important that we provide measurement – we have to know what the viewability looks like, absolutely. A brand has to know that their ad dollars mean something, that there is a return on that. So measurement is key.”

“I think in general this idea of viewability is going to get a little bit more complex when we start to think about some of the ways in which we set the standards. We’ve got a certain standard set now by the IB industry body. I think we’re already seeing a lot of advertisers, the bigger ones, pushing against that and being much more aggressive against it, which is ok. I think that we should strive for more and strive for better but it has to be in partnership. Publishers and advertisers need to work together to improve that overall.”

Alex Brownsell: “Well it’s going to be a fascinating journey and thank you so much for your time. Thank you for explaining the BrightRoll product for us.”

Dora Michail: “My pleasure, thank you.”

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