It’s APT to change

apt logoDon Draper of “Mad Men” would’ve loved advertising in 2009. Sure, he’d have to head out to the sidewalk with his Lucky Strikes and he wouldn’t have gotten away with philandering quite so easily, but he would’ve loved the opportunities that the digital age offers. He was a guy who knew how to connect -- whether it was with a prospective client, a new hire, or a bottle of Scotch. And what we have in store for advertisers and publishers ushers the notion of “connect” into a new era.

Don, aka Jon Hamm, joined me, President Sue Decker, and our US Region Head Hilary Schneider on stage at Advertising Week in NYC today to help unveil APT from Yahoo!, our new advertising platform (which was formerly known as AMP from Yahoo! or Project Apex). Jon helped us put our platform in context with the evolution of advertising over the last 40 years – from the time when the advertiser was the indisputable king, to today, when the consumer is clearly in charge.

I started dreaming about this day 18 months ago, when I laid out my vision for our board of directors on how Yahoo! could play a unique role in changing the face of online advertising. In fact, Sue and I called it Nirvana at the time – a platform that would be to 2009 what radio was to 1924, TV to 1947, color TV to 1965, and the Internet to 1993.

Sounds like hype, right? We don’t think so. As Sue posted in April, we listened to all of the pain points that our partners shared about the process of buying and selling ads. Would you believe it takes more than 30 manual operational steps to move from ad strategy concept to launching that ad? It involves faxes (!!) and sometimes weeks in proposal processing. Audiences are now distributed across a sea of web sites and are harder to find, understand, and put a value on. Madison Avenue might think it’s a shame Johnny Walker Red doesn’t flow at the office anymore.

APT looks to change all that. It’s simple. It’s open. It’s fast (like minutes vs. days). It provides a new level of control. It offers cross-selling more easily than ever been before. It will provide large amounts of quality inventory. It will help advertisers customize and target their messages more precisely through advanced targeting. And it will drive results. All this from a single online application. No more cobbled together processes or impressions. No more wasted time.

Our confidence in APT’s ability to transform the marketplace isn’t based on theory or conjecture. It’s because of the feedback we’ve been hearing from partners who have been working with us side-by-side as we developed and then began testing the platform. In fact, William Dean Singleton, CEO of Media News Group (parent company of the San Jose Mercury News), also joined us on stage today, using words like “extraordinary and “sea-change” to describe how APT will take MNG into the future.

APT is real today and we’re starting to roll it out to our Newspaper Consortium members, which will continue for the remainder of this year and into the next. They’ll be followed by other publishers, advertisers, agencies and ad networks beginning in 2009.

If only Sterling Cooper could be here to reap the benefits.

Jerry Yang
Chief Yahoo and CEO