April 7, 2020
Yandex and Advertising

Yandex and Advertising

The efficiency of advertising now is ten times better than what it used to be It used to be horses, now it’s more like cars When I started at Yandex, I was plagued by the feeling that I necessarily had to learn some kind of a programming language I didn’t learn any I haven’t seen a single piece of text in Latin in 17 years I forgot my Latin but haven’t learnt C++, either In all these years, advertising has changed dramatically, of course Even ten, let alone twenty, years ago advertising was confined mostly to offline methods: glossy magazines, billboards, fly posters, leaflets in mailboxes At some point Arkady Volozh got on the phone and started calling around selling search ads to companies He did very well. So it went on for another couple of days and then he said, that’s it, I got it, that’s how you do it, hire people, let’s get ourselves a sales department It was then that it became clear that this was a huge business But just how huge, no one could tell When we introduced the cost-per-click auction some people who used to pay for their ads per impression were very unhappy Our sales director, at some point, quite late at night was patiently dealing with an unhappy customer who finally got to ‘talk to the manager’ She hung up after a ‘have a nice evening’, went red in the face and smashed her phone against a wall Suddenly it turned out that it was possible to generate profit from advertising directly and at the same time benefit the advertiser You invested $100 and made $500 This, of course, was a shake-up of the entire market The core magic of contextual advertising is that it is, well, contextual This means that if you are on the lookout for those proverbial plastic windows, or if you car needs emergency work, you simply put that into the search and get back offers from all sorts of businesses and repair shops providing these kind of services You see ads less frequently, but they match your intent so well and give you a feeling that that’s what you wanted that you click on them ten times more often And when you buy it, whatever you do with it, you use it ten times more than before The level of interactivity then and the level of interactivity we are used to today – you cannot compare now and then, of course Popping-up intrusive ads are gradually turning into an intelligent mechanism which is trying to figure out what it is that you feel like right now What’s cutting-edge now will look like such a plough in 20 years

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