Separate from all the hoopla this week about the iPhone, advertising has also made a leap forward. Yahoo has announced a system called SmartAds for on-the-fly composition of display ads – meaning a firm could set up an ad for an item the user has recently searched for, with its price in their location, as well as images/colors appealing to their demographics. The system can use behavioral, geographic, and demographic information to pick ad components.
This isn’t the first system to use behavioral information, but it seems to be the first offering customization at the level of parts of ads rather than at the level of the whole image. So then the problem is figuring out how to use it.
The NYTimes’s Bits blog brings up the point that most companies don’t know yet how to take full advantage of behavioral targeting. Thousands of versions of an ad are hard to manage – how do you tell what’s working? Tracking the clickthrough information will be as much work as tracking web analytics for a good-size website – especially as companies move toward microsites in display ad spaces. Will this become a new specialty within marketing/advertising companies?
NYTimes article (registration required)
NYTimes’s Bits blog
Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
Editor and Publisher
Search Engine Land
PC Magazine’s AppScout blog
New Media Age (UK)
Marketing Shift blog