Yahoo is set to launch new tools designed to help advertisers better target their ads to the company's users.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Yahoo is preparing to launch three new tools that will give Yahoo advertisers the ability to target specific audiences across Yahoo's properties.

According to, they are:

  • Enhanced Targeting, which allows advertisers to schedule text search ads to appear during certain times of the day and to target those ads by demographic characteristics, including age and gender.
  • Search Retargeting, which allows advertisers to better target display ads based on a user's search activities.
  • Enhanced Retargeting, which allows advertisers to target Yahoo display ads based on activity that occurs on the advertiser’s site.

Yahoo believes that it has an advantage with targeting tools because its massive userbase makes the audiences that can be reached through targeting significant. On some properties, targeting is of minimal value because targeting only reaches audiences on the order of thousands of users. According to Joanne Bradford, Yahoo's senior vice president of U.S. revenue and market development, "Size does matter".

Given that display advertising is a big part of Yahoo's business, it's no surprise that the company also believes that advertisers need to look at search advertising and display advertising as complementary.

At a speech to be given by Bradford and SVP Michael Walrath at a conference this week, the pair will "urge marketers to stop thinking about search and display advertising as separate products and to take advantage of tools such as Yahoo's search-targeting product to bridge the two".

The question, of course, as always, is whether or not Yahoo can convince advertisers that its offering has substance. As's Rafat Ali points out, "some of [Yahoo's] other sites/competitors have been using similar functions for a while now, and Yahoo’s timeline for its launch has constantly slipped over the last two years".

That said, Yahoo's userbase is still quite impressive and Yahoo's new tools might be worth a try for advertisers looking to reach very specific audiences within that userbase.

Patricio Robles

Published 25 February, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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