Erin Chao

Head of Platforms


With the combination of 2 big powerhouses – AOL and Yahoo, Oath holds the potential to grab a substantial portion of the Indian digital market. How is the strategy to ‘grow in India’ evolving, and how important is India as a market for Oath?

Oath has undoubtedly become a brand powerhouse for the Indian market, post the AOL and Yahoo integration, be it consumer brands such as HuffPost, Yahoo, AOL and Tumblr or AdTech brands like Flurry and Oath Ad Platforms. This combined with the exponential increase in digital and mobile penetration that India continues to witness, has led to our goal of reaching 2 billion users globally by 2020.

Our strategy is very focussed towards introducing innovative mobile-first products and experiences for our users, and hence we put consumers at the heart of every product or service that we develop. Therefore, we are super charging our mobile innovation to reach consumers across every screen, using technologies which range from AR & 360 to OTT and IoT.

Cognizant that the future of content and advertising is mobile, we are poised to reinvent and innovate our advertising and publishing solutions to become one of the global leaders in this space. Being backed by one of the largest mobile companies in the world, will help us further reach scale and dramatically improve advertising for the world’s mobile consumers.

Just last week, we introduced Oath Ad Platforms as a simplified suite of intelligent advertising and publishing solutions globally. Oath Ad Platforms combines the best assets from BrightRoll, ONE by AOL and Yahoo Gemini into a set of solutions that make it easier for advertisers and publishers to drive growth.

With branded content gaining ground in India as well as globally, how is the Oath strategy poised to create opportunities for brands it works with?

Content is the key accelerator driving consumers down the funnel, empowering brands to cut through the clutter. In a fragmented media world, the first question for any brand is how to get their messages heard. And this is where branded content comes into play, as it helps brands gain attention and is the key to unlocking hearts and minds.

While working on Oath’s recent Brand Love Index, we identified what made consumers love the brands they were engaging with. And we found that over 61% of consumers don’t mind if the content they see is branded, as long as it is good quality, original, actionable, informative, thought provoking and visually appealing.

By understanding the motivations for content consumption and what resonates best, advertisers can become more effective in their strategies. Using the best storytelling voice and format, can help brands draw people in and create memorable moments. To this effect, our content marketing platform RYOT Studio has developed a proprietary content moments segmentation tool that helps marketers understand what type of content will resonate best with their audience and serves their needs.

Can you share some interesting case studies on branded content that Oath has executed in the recent past?

Quite recently, we partnered with Air Asia to help them engage with audience through a wide range of content designed to promote the ‘fun and cool of Air Asia’, drive awareness around new sectors added by the airline, and enable travel possibilities by providing itineraries and trip suggestions. To execute this, Yahoo Singapore ran a total of 25 articles over a 5-month campaign, each of which was designed to pique the interest of young and fun travellers and make them aware of the possibilities for exploration that Air Asia offers. These were then backed up by native and display advertising, featuring high impact images of destinations. The results were tremendous as the campaign received 12.3% rise in brand favourability and a 10.7% increase in purchase intent.

Another one which still comes out as one of our most creative campaigns was the one with Madhya Pradesh Tourism in India. For Madhya Pradesh Tourism, to activate their brand promise of “MP mein dil hua bache sa” (Reconnect with your inner child), we tapped into the creative community on Tumblr and commissioned four illustrators to create art-based travelogues. Over the course of the campaign, 32 articles were posted on MP Illustrated and shared through native advertising as well as earned social reach, thanks to a fresh approach to content.

Yahoo &AOL ruled over the early internet audience with Mail, News and other products. How are you planning to capture the cord cutters, and GenY?

By 2020, 80% of the global population will be mobile users, and 14% of the purchases worldwide will be made on mobile. And these trends are reflecting in our approach as well.

Therefore, Yahoo Mail recently released an entirely new mobile web experience, besides an Android Go app specifically meant for consumers using entry-level smartphones, and those who experience poor Internet connectivity and data limitations. The aim was to give them a superior, enjoyable and productive Yahoo Mail experience, irrespective of their hardware or connectivity issues. We also relaunched our Yahoo Cricket app last year, which has already seen a tremendous response in India with over 1.5 million downloads in the first 4 months of its launch.

With HuffPost’s India edition, we are focusing on a range of issues that audiences in India care about the most, including gender, politics, lifestyle and entertainment. HuffPost recently did an investigative story on Aadhaar’s database being compromised through a security patch, and the news saw widespread response and appreciation across India.

Whether it is immersive experiences on Yahoo Cricket, or the trust that a brand like HuffPost enjoys, we are combining the power of our content, scale and data to connect with our consumers.

‘Women in tech’ is a topic that is getting a lot of attention of late. Awareness about the support they need, and the kind of cultural shift required for their inclusion is growing. What do you think is the biggest factor/factors that will encourage more and more women to step into this sector, and embrace technology as a mainstream career?

I think it is very important for any workplace culture to be inclusive, supportive and diversified. My own professional growth and progress in the organization reflects these values. I have been consistently equipped and empowered to take on greater leadership responsibilities. For me personally, this is a very exciting time to be in digital advertising. And with workplaces encouraging their women leaders, this can only lead to a more well-thought out strategy.

We see tremendous potential for women in technology and hence have been supporting and encouraging through our international brands like Makers and #BuiltByGirls.

Technology/digital is still in its early stage as compared to other industries and it's evolving in a speed never seen before in any industry. The boundaries have been pushed forward every year and the game continue to change. Everyone in this industry is participating in the evolution and creating a new working environment and model. This is the best time and sector where a wild open future and possibilities are presented to women who are in to create, not just adopt.