Yahoo and Bebo, UK’s number one social networking site, reached an advertising agreement that would let Yahoo serve advertisements on Bebo’s sites in both UK and Ireland. With an estimated 11.6 million users in UK and Ireland, the deal would tremendously increase Yahoo’s inventory of advertising expanding to a younger audience dominates the user demographics of Bebo.
Yahoo is following rivals Microsoft and Google which have existing advertising arrangement with Facebook and MySpace. Yahoo managing director for Europe, Toby Coppel told Reuters that this is a big deal for Yahoo and is the first step towards building the largest advertising network.
“We think this is a groundbreaking move in the online advertising industry in the UK and Ireland”, said Coppel.
For its part, Bebo president Joanna Shields said that Yahoo’s advertising program suits well for Bebo’s aim of getting appropriate targeted ads for its constituency, the Bebo users.
“In an environment like Bebo where our users are our core constituency, we had to be sure that the ad partner that we selected could deliver a targeted ad that was going to complement the experience of the social network”, said Shields.
Aside from getting targeted ads, Bebo’s site would also benefit from the integration of Yahoo Answers and a new Bebo toolbar that will enable Bebo users to monitor their social network.
With Google and Microsoft already serving ads on the two top social networking sites, MySpace and Facebook, it is but normal and expected of Yahoo to take on the next popular social networking site in line. This advertising deal will provide Yahoo with a test bed for its ad serving program that is complemented by its recent acquisition of two major advertising companies, BlueLithium and Right Media.
The question now is, could Bebo sustain its user base to such extent that it would give Yahoo the needed ad conversions to sustain its advertising network? Are the young audiences of Bebo active consumers in the online industry?