Monday, May 08, 2006

Is Yahoo! setting the pace?

After a few weeks on other things, it’s back to some old fashioned search engine shenanigans.

Yahoo! has today revealed it will be massively overhauling its search advertising platform later this year.

[Read story here]

This essentially, some are already saying, is what is commonly known as a Good News Story For The Travel Industry, and for e-commerce in general.

While the 30-minute campaign turnaround and enhanced performance analysis were the key strands in terms of PR in the announcement today, it was a paragraph tucked away at the end of the official release from Burbank in the US that is perhaps the most interesting.

“Future versions of the new platform will include additional distribution options and audience targeting based on factors that could include demographic information or online behavior, as well as additional ad formats enhanced with graphics or rich media,” the statement says.

In other words, Yahoo!’s enormous base of around 420 million users could be targeted through some very clever systems – especially in the online behaviour arena – that the likes of Google have made little or no mention.

This development would put Yahoo! on a par with the widely anticipated MSN AdCenter, due for launch some time this year and which is being hailed in some quarters for its ability to geo-target and follow user behaviour.

But where Yahoo! will have a head start is in its estimated 30% share of the search advertising market, coupled with the power of having strong consumer products such as Mail and Messenger.

If Yahoo! is about to up the ante in the search marketing arena, with the obvious benefits to travel advertisers, then expect rumours of Google's Troogle to re-appear again.

[Read the last Blog entry on Troogle]

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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