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New SmartAds: The Future Of Graphical Advertising At Yahoo
SmartAds that deliver display ads to people across the web based on their
demographic and geographic profiles, plus search and web browsing behaviors.
These ads represent the future of graphical advertising at Yahoo, according to
Gaude Lydia Paez, director of corporate communications at Yahoo.
SmartAds have been successfully tested over the past four to five months in
the travel category, and they will eventually roll out across the larger Yahoo
network and ultimately on RightMedia and other partner sites.
While SmartAds won’t replace pure branding in all circumstances, they will
provide brand and display advertisers with the option to target audiences based
on demographic, geographic or behavioral profiles – or a mix of all three.
Yahoo has been offering these various flavors of targeting, including
behavioral targeting, for some time. The really new thing about SmartAds is the
"creative assembly platform," for which Yahoo has applied for a patent. The
idea, according to Paez, is to take "templates" of advertiser-generated creative
(e.g., copy, logos, graphics) and assemble those elements dynamically depending
on the targeting opportunity. An 18-year-old woman in New England looking for
hybrid vehicles, for example, might see a different ad from the same marketer
than a 50-year-old male in Texas.
Yahoo can also take offers or inventory feeds and present "the right offer at
the right time" via SmartAds, Paez said. Accordingly, it can make graphical
advertising and branding perform much more like direct response and search. It
offers something of a cure for so-called "banner blindness." (See, for example,
Seek a Banner-Blindness Cure," from the Wall Street Journal).
When questioned about how personal this ad platform could get, Paez was
categories and subcategories but not individually targeted. A range of
behaviors, including search queries, are factored into the determination of what
ads are served to what users.
As a practical matter, Paez also emphasized, marketers want large audience
segments and if those audiences are "too thinly sliced," they’re not going to be
interested. But SmartAds effectively allows brand marketers to target the head
and the tail more efficiently. Paez added that Yahoo hoped direct response
marketers would also be attracted to the new offering because of combination of
branding and direct response elements.
Microsoft currently offers geographic, demographic and behavioral targeting,
but the "creative assembly platform" component of Yahoo SmartAds is unique.
Google offers various targeting options, though not behavioral targeting
currently. However, through search personalization and other efforts, it can
reasonably be expected that Google will eventually introduce some form of