The Yahoo News Digest iOS app originally launched in the US in September last year and provides users with summaries updated twice per day from publishing partners including Reuters and Sky News. The launch followed Yahoo’s reported £18m acquisition of mobile news app Summly, created by then 17-year-old entrepreneur Nick D’Aloisio.
Cahan told Marketing Week at Mobile World Congress the News Digest app is unique to other news curation services because it has a notion of “completeness” – a finite amount of stories rather than an endless feed and by addressing the morning and early evening news consumption habits of consumers.
When Cahan first joined the company in 2012, Yahoo’s platform reached 200 million users on mobile. That number has grown to more than 400 million, with 100 million unique monthly mobile users added in the last eight months alone, he said.
In that time Cahan has been building out the size of the mobile team, while Yahoo has also completed a number of acquisitions – like Summly – to gain talent and technology.
Yahoo has mobile teams based in San Francisco, New York and London helping to fuel the “remarkable growth” in mobile users.
Cahan said: “We have 800 million users and 400 million of those are on mobile so by definition we are a mobile company. 2013 was that cross-over year. We had more product launches in 2013 than in the 10 years previous.”
He added that 2013 was also the year Yahoo “figured out mobile advertising formats”.
“Early on whenever you see a platform shift, like the move from desktop to mobile, you always hear mentions of cannibalisation – is my $1 on desktop going to turn into 10 cents on mobile – but we now find the opposite is true. Once you get the formats right, the monetisation can be superior to desktop – and that format for Yahoo is native ads,” Cahan said.
Those native ads run through Yahoo’s self-service tool Gemini, which allows marketers to submit a range of assets that can be repurposed across Yahoo’s mobile and search offering.
Cahan admitted Yahoo’s early attempts in the mobile advertising space tried to port desktop ads on to a small mobile screen but that over time the shift towards native means the company now offers a far more immersive and contextual experience.
The UK mobile advertising market doubled its share of all UK online ad spend from the first half of 2012 to the latest figures released by the IAB and PwC in October. Mobile advertising grew like for like by 127 per cent to £429.2m in the first half of 2013.
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