New Focus, New Role – Leading Native & Mobile Ad Analytics Group

As of this quarter in Yahoo Labs, I’m leading a small team of Research Scientists in a new group focused on Native & Mobile Ad Analytics. Native Advertising has become a hot topic in the Web and advertising spaces in recent years. Given it involves creating and placing engaging, relevant content that matches the underlying intent and context of the end-user, there are lots and lots of open research questions in this space. In particular when we think about native advertising in the mobile world!

The ultimate goal of this new group is to conduct research that will enrich our understanding of native and mobile ad experiences and will improve these experiences. We’ll be focusing on large-scale mobile user behavior modeling; understanding and mining mobile-specific signals like mobile device and app use to help enhance mobile ad engagement and conversion; as well as methods and novel studies exploring offline conversion in mobile, i.e. if I show a person an engaging, relevant ad on their device, do they ever act upon that ad in the physical world, e.g. visiting a store, eating at a restaurant, etc. To this end we’ll be analyzing very, very large datasets across a range of Yahoo properties as well as conducting large-scale in-the-wild mobile experiments / studies. Some of the open research questions / challenges in this domain include:

  1. How do we get mobile users to the right online content, including the right ads (i.e. mobile targeting, mobile information retrieval, mobile content recommendation);
  2. What makes for compelling ad-related experiences on mobile, thinking about location-based advertising, social advertising, etc;
  3. What is the effect of contextual cues on users’ ad consumption patterns, their interactions with ads and their underlying intents and needs;
  4. What novel signals and metrics can we extract, mine and develop that help us assess mobile ad engagement and more importantly mobile ad conversion (i.e. acting upon an ad like installing an app from an app install ad).
  5. What are mobile users’ motivations and perceptions around native ad consumption, engagement and conversion?
  6. What are the underlying characteristics of mobile users who click on and engage with ads?
  7. How can we explore and understand cross-device ad interactions and conversion? And lots, lots, more….

We’ll likely be looking for interns so if any of those topics or areas sound appealing, feel free to drop me a mail. In particular if you have experience or expertise in large-scale data analysis, human behavior modeling, mobile computing, context-aware computing, recommender systems, etc. we’d love to hear from you!