Yahoo Expands Search Ad Platform

When Yahoo signed its search ad partnership with Microsoft last year, it promised that the deal did not mark the end of the Yahoo Search brand and that it would continue to innovate in the space.

On Wednesday, the Web giant unveiled a pair of new search ad products that go a long way toward keeping that promise. First, during a special search marketing event held at the company’s Sunnyvale, Calif., campus, Yahoo announced it was testing Y!our Ads, a product that delivers text ads that take into account users’ previous search histories, rather than serving ads based solely on specific search terms.

In addition, Yahoo executives said the company would begin delivering ads via Yahoo Search Assist, i.e., the words and phrases that automatically appear just below the search box based on commonly searched terms. For example, a user typing the name “Lindsay” would instantly see search suggestions for actress Lindsay Lohan, skier Lindsay Vonn and others. Going forward, brands will be able to pay to be featured within Yahoo Search Assist results.

Yahoo last June agreed to hand over the technology side of its search business to Microsoft. At the time, Yahoo executives insisted that the company would control the look and feel of the interface, and that the Yahoo Search brand would be front and center over Microsoft’s fledgling Bing platform.