Yahoo introduces behavior targeting in SmartAds

Yahoo has introduced a new form of online advertising that enables advertisers to target potential customers by using demographic information.

The product, called SmartAds, allows advertisers to create product-specific ads customized to the age, gender, geographic location, and online activities of the people seeing the ads.

SmartAds allow advertising agencies to create a template for ads with several variables, then compile those elements on the spot to suit a specific reader. SmartAds make heavy use of information extracted from data Yahoo keeps on visitors, including their shopping, searching and Web surfing behaviors, as well as registration information and location data.

For example, a Web user who has shown an interest in certain car models and who logged on from a computer in Los Angeles could receive an ad for that vehicle that combines information on their nearest dealership, actual price information, and a real-time feed of inventory levels, said Todd Teresi, Yahoo's senior vice-president of display marketplaces.

"Yahoo's SmartAds gives marketers what they have long wanted from online advertising: the ability to deliver more personalized marketing messages to consumers, and still engage very large audiences with their brand," said Teresi.

SmartAds is a "breakthrough marriage of brand and direct marketing that advertisers have been waiting for," said Digitas and Publicis Groupe Digital Chairman David Kenny. The platform will be of particular benefit to companies that have many offers to present to many differing audiences, he said.

Yahoo is launching the product in the travel category and expects to expand to three vertical categories by the end of the year - most likely retail and automotive, said Teresi.

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