Yahoo’s new Ad solution targets user behaviour, hopes to increase click through rates!


Yahoo! today announced its Behavioural Ad Targeting solution for advertisers in India. According to Prashant Mehta of Yahoo, behavioural targeting is the next generation of targeting for advertisers.

According to the report, Yahoo! tracks 4 different activities of its users:

  1. searched keywords or key phrases by Yahoo! users
  2. Sites and content they have visited
  3. Search and banner ads they have clicked
  4. Microsites that users have visited.

All this information is aggregated and a profile of each user is created so that relevant ads can be served to him on Yahoo’s network. For example, a user searching for a job on Yahoo! Search or visiting the Yahoo! India jobs page may be served search or display ads which offer him more job opportunities.

Now, I feel this is a serious threat to user’s privacy. Even though the Yahoo! officials have assured that they follow strict privacy policy, a normal user will be quite uncomfortable knowing that everything he/ she does is tracked and stored !

I am okay with search words stored anonymously, but here Yahoo! not only tracks activities, but stores it as a user profile.

Even Google stores searches done, however, user has the facility to stop storing these results. Also, I am not sure if google keeps the track of which user has searched for what !

Even with all this, I fail to understand how Yahoo! will know what banner ads user has clicked (unless they are Yahoo’s own ads ) and which microsites they have visited.

Although, it may sound good from Advertiser’s perspective, Yahoo! users will not be too happy with this development.

  1. trakin says

    you are right. Companies have been trying to get targeted ads using various methods, however, my contention is that Yahoo will not only track but store it as a user profile – something that many people will object too.
    Nitin, thanks for the link of extension. It sure is useful..

  2. Nitin Srivastava says

    Perhaps we can easily get away with this through a very useful firefox extension, TRACK ME NOT. What this software does is to periodically send bogus search queries to Google, yahoo, AOL and MSN.

    This extension can be viewed and downloaded from :

    Ofcourse, it does not stop search engines from profiling users, yet ensures that these profiles are incorrect.

  3. Jolsna says

    The behavioral ad targeting is a must of the Digital Media/Ad serving and Management/SEO business.
    I would say Yahoo is a late entrant to this. The force on the Yahoo was the market itself. As you see the last year has been a acquisition trend for all the Major players in the Internet Advertising line. WPP buying 24X7 real media, Google buying Double Click, Microsoft buying aQuantive and Yahoo buying Right Media.

    The strong contender being Google+Doubleclick have the largest share in the market in their respective indutries. The acquisition has forced the other big players to emulate the business as Google is one company who have the database of happenings around the world. The threat to it is the competitor’s move is closely watched and this invited a concern which inturn delayed google’s approval in the USA, they are still fighting the approval in the european union. However, with the promise of maintaining the user’s privacy google might find their way out in Europe.The only remedy to this yahoo competitor’s move would be to emulate the process.

    These players can geo-track 2 billion IP addresses over 200 countries including state, zip code, srea code, SIC code, Bandwidth – latitude/longitude and more. On that note tracking the user’s behavioral pattern on the net can be forgivable i think.

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