Yahoo! Canada personalizes homepage

The portal debuts its redesign tomorrow, featuring a new look and more customization opps for both users and advertisers. Hyundai and Scotiabank are already on board.

Yahoo! Canada is aiming to become a web surfer’s single destination with a new homepage launching tomorrow. will feature a new ‘My Favourites’ section and a dashboard of more than 57 apps from major email providers like Gmail and big-league sites such as BBC World News and, giving users at-a-glance functionality for all their favourite sites. Users can also create their own apps by adding any URL from the web, and receive and update their social media status directly from the homepage. Each app pops up as a window-like overlay on the homepage (see photo).

‘It’s all about personalization,’ says Max Tremblay, director of marketing, Yahoo! Canada, and not just for users but for advertisers too. ‘People come to the web to do social networking, get their news and financial information. It was important that we allow advertisers to create a more one-on-one, personal relationship with our users,’ he tells MiC.

The new site functionality allows advertisers to execute a media strategy customized to the different apps within the My Favourites menu. Whereas today’s features a single big-box ad on the homepage, the new will also feature additional big-box opportunities through the apps in the My Favourites menu. When an app opens, it includes a big box unit, and its content can be customized to the app it appears on. So an advertiser may choose to do a takeover – purchasing the homepage big-box and the app ad units – and have each ad’s creative tailored to the app it appears within.

Hyundai will soon debut their 2010 Tuscon vehicle with a homepage takeover (handled by Bensimon Byrne), says Tremblay, and Scotiabank will also be featured with their new RSP campaign, arranged by PHD Canada.

Yahoo! relaunched in the US last year, and the change resulted in a 15% increase in reach, and a 20% increase in page views within three months, says Tremblay. A big media promotion for the new site will launch after the Olympics, arranged in part with Ogilvy & Mather.

Until then, Yahoo! is relying on their Olympics coverage to bring in extra traffic – they expect upwards of three million Canadians to visit their Olympics site. ‘We’re the third most accredited media outlet in Vancouver. We’ll have 60 or 70 editorial staff on the ground in Whistler,’ says Tremblay.