Report: Yahoo in Deal with Nokia

Wall Street Journal blog AllThingsD is reporting that on Monday Yahoo! will announce a partnership with Nokia:

And, according to sources, that will be a deal with Finland-based mobile phone giant Nokia (NOK) to build Yahoo (YHOO) email, search and other applications and services into a range of its devices.

While the pair had once discussed Nokia making a Yahoo-centric phone, sources said that is unlikely to be part of this deal.

Nokia remains the largest handset maker in the world, with the dominant smartphone share — though mostly outside the US. According to the latest Gartner numbers, Nokia has a 44% share of the global smartphone market. 

Obviously then if such a deal is confirmed, it would represent a huge boost for Yahoo!’s mobile efforts and network, which is considerable and global but has lost mindshare and coverage vs. Apple and Google’s mobile initiatives. 

Asked for a response to the rumor a Yahoo! spokesman said “We can’t comment on rumor or speculation.” That generally means some aspect of the rumor is correct. 

Y! Introduces Rich Media Mobile ‘Takeovers’

Google was busy grabbing most of the headlines today with its Android 2.2 “Froyo” update and the dramatic Google TV announcement (which is built on Android). But Yahoo! also made a mobile-related announcement about the introduction of more creatively engaging rich media units. According to the Yahoo! Mobile Blog:

Mobile display ads generally take the form of static banners across the top and bottom of the screen. Although behavioral targeting has drastically increased the effectiveness of all display ads, it has been challenging to engage mobile users at the same level as desktop. With advancements in smartphone technology and the next generation of HTML5 browsers, it is now possible to display highly engaging and interactive Rich Media content on high-end mobile devices.

While there has been a lot of buzz about HTML5, much of the investment has been focused on mobile web development. Many mobile sites have been upgraded to feature compelling interactive content for smartphone users. However from an advertiser point of view, banner campaigns remain the norm. At Yahoo!, we believe the Rich Media experience starts before the click and encompasses the transition to an advertiser’s landing page. This new class of mobile display format bridges the gap between traditional banners and landing pages with creative executions of interactive advertisements.

Here’s one example of one of the units:

Picture 7

Google also demo’d rich media ad units today at its developer conference. And of course Apple is trying to build more engaging ads for mobile devices with iAds. AdMob, Greystripe and others offer rich media units as well.

Mobile Web ads have greater reach than in-app advertising and are generally recognized as “more effective,” though that’s problematic when drilling down into the metrics used to determine effectiveness. 

Hybrid awareness-direct response (buy tickets) ads, like the one above, are going to be increasingly common. And the “takeover” (though not involuntary) creative above will give agencies more latitude to develop better mobile display campaigns.