Social Bar and the Future of Social on Yahoo!

The Team

Jonathan Katzman shares what the success of Yahoo!'s Facebook integration means for advertisers

Yahoo! connects people to what matters most. One of the new, social ways we're doing that is through our integration of Facebook's Open Graph across our global media network. After Yahoo!'s "Harnessing the Power of Social Content" session at Social Media Week NYC, we caught up with one of the key Yahoos behind "Social Bar," Jonathan Katzman, Director of Product Development, and asked him the top five things that marketers need to know about social on Yahoo!.

Yahoo Advertising Blog: What is the Social Bar?

Jonathan Katzman: Social Bar is a product that Yahoo! launched last September at F8 with Facebook. We really thought of Social Bar as a way to have users discover and navigate content through their friends. It was something that we heard loud and clear from users that, in addition to the great editorial voice that Yahoo! has, there are times they really want to discover content through their friends.

I know it's true for me, too. My friend Steve really knows about sports, so I want to discover sports content through him. My friend Patrick knows about tech news, so I want to follow tech news through him. I really love food and my friend Francine knows about cooking recipes, so I want to look at that, as well. Social Bar simplifies this content discovery by adding your friends as "social editors" of your experience.

YAB: What has been the adoption of Social Bar by Yahoo! visitors?

JK: We were one of the initial partners for the Facebook Open Graph, and it's been incredibly successful since then. To really give advertisers a feel for that: In just three months, on any given day we were able to get more traffic to US News now from Facebook than from Google. That's a really gigantic shift for us.

Twenty-five million users have opted in to the Social Bar; overall, we get more than two million on any given day. They are sharing more than three million articles on Yahoo! to Facebook. So it's really been this huge, overwhelming success. And now we're not just on US News, we're worldwide, across a hundred Yahoo! properties, and we'll be rolling out to all the remaining properties as time goes on.

YAB: Which people are using Social Bar?

JK: It's bringing us a much younger audience: Over 70% of the people who have adopted Social Bar are under 30. That's a big shift for Yahoo!'s traditional demographic. And we have found that these users aren't fly-by-night users. They are sticking around and engaging at the exact same rate that our traditional users engage with the properties. So whether it's news, sports, finance, things on omg! or Shine, they are coming in and staying.

When users are coming in, we're finding that it's 50/50 men and women. They are coming in and doing the sharing. Then they are clicking on the Social Bar to see what their friends are reading, and engaging in that content.

YAB: What does this mean for advertisers?

JK: We strategically focused on having the Open Graph experience with Facebook happen on the Yahoo! site because we have a loyal user base. We want to innovate in that user experience and, unlike other publishers, we wanted to bring users to where the content exists. We made that work for users by giving them control, so it was very obvious that they could turn sharing on and off. We also created this very immersive social experience so users could really tell that they are in this frictionless, sharing world.

Advertisers need to know that it's worked really well. We've had 98% of users leave sharing on. So users are voting with their clicks and obviously telling us that they like Social Bar.

The other thing that's been really promising on the advertising side has been Yahoo!'s Social Sentiment Slider, which allows brands to really engage readers around the content and have them take polls related to the content. It really shows that when you engage consumers with the right content and the right discussion, users will engage. It brings the experience much closer to a conversation with the brand, as opposed to simply an ad on a page.

Can you give us a glimpse at the future of social on Yahoo!?

Dianne Molina