Yahoo's new chief executive, Carol Bartz, explained on Tuesday how the firm's latest advertising strategy will give the company a significant competitive advantage, but that care needed to be taken not to alienate web users.
Bartz talked for the first time openly about her plans for Yahoo at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in San Francisco.
Over the past few years internet advertising had got "same old, same old", she said, which is why Yahoo is looking at new ways to engage with marketers. Advertisers are particularly looking at gaining customers though video engagement and behavioural monitoring of web users, Bartz added.
In recent weeks Yahoo has made moves in this direction, introducing a Rich Ads In Search offering that will let advertisers put images, video and location information into adverts hosted in Yahoo search results. The company has also launched an initiative that will allow marketers to target users based on their search terms, and enable adverts to be customised according to the web user's age and gender.
Bartz said that Yahoo intends to get "better and better" at targeting ads at user behaviour, but mentioned that it is hard getting users to experiment with ads and it will take "a long time to be perfect".
Bartz also discussed the importance of advertising strategies maintaining a good balance between "display and performance".
Yahoo will look at ways to remove adverts from certain properties and take down ads that are ineffectual in order to give Yahoo customers a "fun, easy and non-frustrating time", she said. The example was given of how Yahoo had removed ads from its email offering in low bandwidth countries in order to speed up user access to the service.
In an additional point on the subject of product roadmaps, Bartz said that customers deserve "not to have abandoned products floating around in space", adding that all Yahoo products are "open to examination".
"Great companies in these types of environment can get stronger if they are smart. Smart is not just cutting expenses or cutting prices, but cutting bad expenses, being sympathetic to your customers and on pricing if you need to," she argued.
Finally Bartz said that the intention of her latest management reorganisation was to give employees "hope, clarity, simplicity and the ability to work for a winning organisation".
She said that her main aim is to get products and editorial working fast. Before that, no one could make decisions and it slowed down the processes inside Yahoo.
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