Yahoo launches SmartAds

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yahoo-y Yahoo has put a funky name to their targeted ads service – SmartAds, and has added some extra juice. Yahoo’s been strong in demographic and behavioral targeting for some time – they have a significant team working on it – but SmartAds is new for a couple of reasons:

  • It allows targeted ad delivery based on in-session activity (i.e. what the user just clicked on)
  • It allows ad creative to be dynamically composed based upon the targeting information available

At the moment the service is being tested by a couple of airlines in the travel sector. The idea is that if, for example, a male is browsing the Yahoo network looking at information about Vegas, a profile-specific ad will appear, say, offering flights to Vegas from his city for $99 (see this demo). The ad copy and the offer can be dynamically varied, essentially offering a very large number of creative variations for different audience segments.

Obviously, varying the creative dynamically requires that the variants be created by the advertiser (or their agency); and if offers are to be varied, then the advertiser’s site will have to honor those offers, which also implies a degree of sophistication on the part of the advertiser. So it will be interesting to see how far down Yahoo’s advertiser tail these kinds of capabilities penetrate. I can see dynamic composition of text ads being something that even smaller advertisers could handle. And perhaps Yahoo Stores will add functionality to carry through any custom offers to the advertiser’s site.