It’s Advertising Week — a time when big announcements flow. While others in the digital ad space are quick to announce upgrades to their services, Yahoo is staying mum.

Already this week, both Facebook and Google have unveiled new ad products. Last night, Facebook relaunched Atlas, a “people-based,” cross-device ad platform the company bought from Microsoft last year. The new Atlas shifts away from the use of cookies to target users and relies instead on Facebook users being logged in on their smartphones.

Not to be outdone by the number-two online advertiser, Google said it would roll out four new ad display types that make ads even more visible on mobile.

Yahoo, so far, has been silent on new advertising initiatives, though the company did host a discussion earlier today called “The Science and Design of Successful Advertising” featuring the company’s senior director of advanced creative, Graham Harris, and its principal research scientist, Eric Bax. The discussion centered on leveraging data to create beautiful and personal ads. During the conversation Bax noted there’s some public perception that targeted ads are somehow creepy, but according to his research, “consumers want to be identified,” he said. They want advertisers to know what brands they like.

While some of Yahoo’s products, including its mobile apps, have focused on creating more personal experiences, its mobile ads aren’t quite there yet.

Earlier this year, we reported the company sank from the third largest digital ad network to the fourth — though not for lack of trying. In February the company unleashed Gemini, a platform that lets advertisers serve up ads in mobile search results. But by July, in its most recent earnings report, the company still wasn’t breaking out mobile earnings, even though competitors like Facebook and Google were seeing growth in mobile ad revenues.

The company also purchased mobile analytics company Flurry and, most recently, photo ad network Luminate, which Yahoo will be shutting down. Analysts agree that acquiring Flurry was a good move toward giving Yahoo insight into mobile audiences. And the Flurry data could jumpstart Yahoo’s mobile ad game, but the acquisition likely won’t start bearing fruit any time soon; acquisitions take time to work their magic. Having a mobile analytics component will be key to the company’s success, but again it’s not clear how the company will be forging ahead.

With its competitors publicly building their networks more and more, we’re left to wonder — will Yahoo get left behind or is there still time for the company to work its way back?


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