Unless you’re living under a rock or on a remote island with no internet, you’ve obviously heard about Verizon buying Yahoo! No big deal, right? Just another acquisition in the telecomm/internet space. It’s not a surprising move since Verizon bought AOL not too long ago. (Yes, that AOL from the 90’s.) So why am I bringing up another M&A play? Well, if you’re into increasing the performance of marketing campaigns and gaining more customers, this acquisition should make your ears perk up.
What the Verizon / Yahoo! merger means for advertisers
Let me explain. AOL, the sender of a bazillion CDs in the 1990s, reaches an estimated 15 million people each month in the U.S. According to Quantcast its ranked the 85th most trafficked site in the country. Now, Yahoo! is ranked 8th with a reach of over 105 million people in the U.S. monthly. And Verizon Wireless itself isn’t too shabby with 145.7 million subscribers. So when you put all that together this new family reaches an estimated 265 million or the equivalent of 82% of the entire U.S. (with duplication of course).
Yes, that alone is note worthy, to say the least. But what’s more fascinating is another side of this marriage. One that I’ve talked about while presenting on travel trends at a few conferences in the last year, ever since the Verizon and Yahoo! talks began. A cell phone carrier is a powerful entity, rich in data and information. Specifically, information on their subscribers, where they live, their data usage and (for DMOs and those in the travel/hospitality world) where they travel. And in this case that’s data on 145.7 million people.
Tracking consumers from interest through purchase
Now, marry that wealth of data with an infrastructure like Yahoo! and AOL that delivers information, entertainment, news, promotions, etc to millions of people each month. Now you have a group that not only knows where people are and where they go, but through marketing technology you can see what type of information they consumer online, what they shop for and what they ultimately purchase. Are they researching travel destinations? Purchasing a new car? Refinancing a home? The combination of information that both sides of the table possess (cell phone subscribers, online behaviors and interests) is powerful and brings enormous potential to a marketer’s bag of tricks.
Using cell phone data with promotional campaigns
But wait, there’s more! Hotels want to increase occupancy. So they promote specials and packages to raise interest and hopefully convert potential travelers into a guest. What if that hotel could merge its database of customer cell phone #s with Verizon’s subscriber base? Verizon could then find out a lot more about the hotel’s regulars, which could help in market analysis and audience segmentation. Great. But what if Verizon could then take that information, including the actual cell phone account, and serve the hotel’s promotional ad to its Verizon customers who fall within a predetermined profile and are highly likely to react positively to the offer. Within the same initiative, the hotel could track campaign performance by cell phone numbers, directly attributing conversion back to the Verizon initiative.
This is not just another acquisition in the telecomm/internet world. When the pieces of the puzzle are laid out correctly, this marriage of Verizon, AOL and Yahoo! has the potential to become a powerful marketing strategy.