Yahoo Refines Display Targeting Capabilities

Yahoo is rolling out some new ad targeting refinements, including enhanced search retargeting for display ads and ads that are dynamically generated based on user activities on advertiser Web sites. The offerings improve on targeting capabilities the firm has enabled for years.

The former targeting feature allows advertisers to capture user interest information from search queries and use that information to generate display ads that can appear anywhere on the Yahoo network. Major online advertiser University of Phoenix used it to achieve an effective cost per lead about equal to that of its search advertising efforts. Rico de Leon, the advertiser’s senior director of media services operations, told Yahoo cost per lead was about 50 percent lower than for display ad behavioral targeting efforts.

Advertisers can also combine Yahoo’s standard behavioral ad tools with data drawn from advertiser sites for highly-customized ad retargeting. In an example shared by Yahoo, people viewing a specific flight offer on an airline Web site can later be served an ad offer for the same flight when they return to pages on the Yahoo network.

Yahoo has offered display ad retargeting based on recent search activity since as far back as 2005 through a product it called Impulse when it launched.

The company also already enables dynamic ad customization through its SmartAds offering, launched in 2007. The product combines information gathered through consumer shopping, searching, and Web surfing behaviors, along with registration information and location data to assemble customized display ad messages.

Additionally, Yahoo is rolling out some new targeting options for search campaigns and ads that appear in Content Match, Yahoo’s network of partner sites. Beginning in March, marketers will be able to specify demographic preferences as well as a time of day and day of the week to run ads when setting up their campaigns. They’ll also be able to vary bids for different audience segments.

Yahoo executives will discuss the new features during an address this morning before fellow publishers at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual meeting in Orlando. Joanne Bradford, Yahoo SVP, U.S. revenue and market development, said the theme of the speech is “10 things that matter,” a list that includes ad size, prices and data.

Also at the IAB summit, Yahoo rival Microsoft yesterday announced it has integrated its many ad networks and properties under a single media brand. Microsoft Media Network will include MSN, Windows Live, Office Live, and XBOX Live; partner sites like Facebook, Viacom, CNBC, and Dow Jones; and the performance-based ad network offerings formerly known as Drive PM and Microsoft Direct Response.

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