Predictive Marketing Blog

Verizon Put Yahoo Out Of Its Misery, But Why?


Last week, Verizon said it was acquiring Yahoo for $4.83 billion.

If you peer hard enough through the Bay Area fog, you’ll see the telecom giant for what it is – a new digital media company.

One in the making, anyway.

Back up to a year ago and you’ll recall the Verizon-AOL acquisition. That purchase was largely an ad-tech play on Verizon’s part, rather than one driven solely by content (AOL-owned properties include The Huffington Post and TechCrunch). Armed with an immense amount of data from AOL’s broadband and mobile networks, Verizon could begin pairing its valuable location data and AOL’s capabilities in automation, ad targeting and attribution.

But Verizon needed another cornerstone to establish itself as a true digital media company – or shall we say, competitor. It needed a robust online video platform to attract content creators and advertisers alike. Yahoo’s online properties and mobile applications, which attract an estimated 1 billion monthly active consumer views, appear to be the answer.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam gave us this explanation: “We see tremendous opportunity in the digital video marketplace. By acquiring Yahoo’s operating business, we are scaling up to be a major competitor in mobile media. [The Yahoo purchase] expands our analytics and ad tech capabilities and enhances our competitive position and value proposition to advertisers.”  

Some within the industry are already calling Verizon the “Third Choice” in digital advertising, behind Google and Facebook. Verizon will likely merge its AOL and Yahoo sales teams to bring customers another option in data-driven ad sales, one that highlights the company’s heavy investment in mobile, video and automation technology.

So where does this leave those of us in the marketing and advertising industry?

Well, for one, it sets us up for possible alternatives to Google and Facebook. While both ad platforms offer crazy amounts of data and pretty great targeting, the Verizon-AOL-Yahoo trinity opens up new opportunities in attribution – online and offline. And that’s something the industry has been struggling with for some time. By trying on some new digital media attire, Verizon is smartly evolving beyond the mobile carrier we have known for two decades.

That said, it will take time for the company to settle into its new identity. As Brian Angiolet, Verizon’s Senior Vice President, Consumer Product Portfolio, put it: “We are not in a position today to be compared to a huge digital property because we just started,” he said. “But we are very happy with it.”

Where do you see Verizon headed with the AOL-Yahoo moves?