Yahoo Uses Online Behavior to Target Ads

Yahoo Inc. aims to boost the effectiveness of its advertising -- and rates -- by targeting ads to users based on their surfing behavior on its site, the company's advertising sales chief said on Thursday.

"The new, new thing at Yahoo, even though we've had variations of this, is getting much more into behavioral targeting," Yahoo Executive Vice President Greg Coleman told the Reuters Media and Advertising Summit in New York.

Search functions on Yahoo and rival Google Inc base ad placement on words searched, but the Yahoo behavioral targeting would use other factors.

The Web portal company does not give personal information to advertising clients but tracks a few types of behavior by its users, including search queries, movement through Yahoo sites and the specific ads clicked. That lets it decide on the fly what ads are most appropriate for a user.

For instance, a person who searches for information on cars is likely to be sent an auto ad, Coleman said.

Traditionally, Yahoo's advertising targeting have focused on customer demographics or geographic location instead of behavior.

Advertisers will pay more for placement of the right ad at the right time at the right place, said Coleman, who emphasized that the targeting would be done anonymously based on behavior.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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