Yahoo goes all in on mobile ads while Instagram and Pinterest take a slow but steady approach



Yahoo adsYahoo is rushing headlong into the advertising fray with a bold, new look on mobile. Instead of trying for unobtrusive ads that won’t disrupt the viewing experience, Yahoo is going with large, image-rich ads that lead to great content. In a funny way, these native ads are hiding in plain sight because they blend in to their surroundings in a good way. They look like content and though they’re clearly marked as sponsored ads, many people won’t notice or care.

Good content is good content, after all, so does it really matter if Netflix sponsored the behind the scenes look at Orange is the New Black? No!

Here’s where I was going to say that this format is great for entertainment stories but won’t work for. . . . (fill in blank) stories – but honestly, I couldn’t think of a good argument against.

I know, trust factor, unbiased reporting, etc. etc. The reality is, we have to form our own opinions about who we can trust and who we can’t and having a “sponsored” label on an article doesn’t change that one way or the other.

Yahoo’s going for it and I think it’s going to work.

Pinterest is taking a much more cautious approach to advertising in the feed. Yesterday, they posted what sounded like a preemptive apology on their blog.

In September, we told you about our plans to experiment with Promoted Pins on Pinterest. Now, we’re working with a small group of brands to roll out a paid test in our search and category feeds.

In other words, we warned you this was going to happen and you’ve had plenty of time to get used to the idea and now it’s time to take your medicine – but just a little at a time. It won’t hurt. We promise.

Early testers include ABC Family, Banana Republic, Kraft, Old Navy, Disney Parks and Ziploc. Nothing to scary there. As a matter of fact, we might even get some beautiful images and great ideas that we can share on our own feeds.

Instagram also took a cautious approach to adding ads and it appears to be working. Taco Bell, one of the early adopters, told Adweek that they saw a 29% point gain in ad recall for their new breakfast menu thanks to Instagram. But what’s really got them excited is that fact that they were able to connect with the illusive, young male audience.

Adweek says that for some brands like GoPro and RedBull, the free service Instagram provides is an even bigger key to success. Why pay for an ad when you already have 1,000’s of followers sharing everything you post.