Yahoo! Intros Three Ad Products

Yahoo! is looking to boost the value of its display and search inventory with the launch of three new ad products, each of which promises better targeting by taking into account users’ previous Web activities.

For its display business, Yahoo! execs say they can now show users more appropriate ads by taking into account where they’ve recently surfed or searched.

For example, the new Search Retargeting product allows brands to serve display ads to users who have recently conducted searches on Yahoo! for particular keywords — theoretically boosting the relevance of such ads significantly by taking users’ self-stated interests into account.

Similarly, Yahoo!’s Enhanced Retargeting product delivers personalized display ads to users who have recently visited specific content or e-commerce sites. Officials believe this new product takes classic behavioral targeting to another level by delivering ad messages that showcase highly specific, offer-driven messaging.

For example, users might see an ad for current flight prices on trips from New York to San Francisco after they’ve recently conducted a search for that particular flight on a travel advertiser’s Web site.

On the search, Yahoo! also debuts a new set of offerings that enables advertisers to target ads based on user demographics or time of day. That innovation could be seen as a direct challenge to Microsoft, which has made demographic targeting a point of differentiation for its own struggling search product.

The new offerings are the just the latest ad innovations rolled out by Yahoo! in recent days. Just a week ago, the company introduced several new creative options for search ads consisting of video and banner placements rather than the text ads common to the medium.

Yahoo!’s Joanne Bradford, svp, U.S. revenue and market development, and Michael Walrath, svp, advertising marketplace group, are set to showcase each of the new ad products on Tuesday at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual meeting here. At that conference, the supposed clash between the art and science/technology sides of the digital ad business has been a hot topic.

According to Bradford, these new products blend the best of both worlds, while also potentially bolstering pricing. “These help us drive performance for brands,” she said. “The two sides don’t have to be in conflict.”

Regarding pricing pressure on the industry, Bradford added: “We think advertising is a cyclical business, but when things are down you have to continue to add value. These ads do that.”