For online advertisers, Yahoo Auto’s Green Center provides a rich opportunity for targeting consumers receptive to a green message. While Yahoo has clearly enabled opportunities for contextual advertising, smart marketers may work with Yahoo to enable targeting of consumers based on user behavior within the Green Center and an across the Yahoo portal based on an affinity for products that are green.Yahoo’s Green Center offers advertisers a powerful way to focus their ad spend by targeting only those that are interested in green cars. Today, Yahoo enables two ways to do so within the Green Center:
- Affinity marketing. It is likely that everyone who visits the Green Center has an affinity for green cars. For advertisers, therefore, any ad placements within this section are likely to have greater impact than equivalent placements within the general auto portal due to this affinity.
- Contextual advertising. Yahoo offers its advertisers the opportunity to place contextually relevant ads on key content pages of the site. Contextual advertising is common practice today and entails matching page content or page categorization with relevant advertising. For Yahoo’s Green Center, this means that if a user is searching for information on the Toyota Camry hybrid, Toyota has the opportunity to serve ads on related (contextual) content pages. In a sense, the ad complements the site content, providing Toyota the opportunity to reinforce its brand message and value proposition.
Contextual Advertisement (on right and at top) Aligns with Search for Toyota Camry
While current options provide advertisers with valuable ways to target prospects, Yahoo may have the opportunity to do more for its advertisers. Specifically, Yahoo may have the ability to enable:
- Behavioral targeting within the Green Center. Not only can ads be dynamically served based on page content or categorization, but they also could potentially be served based on online user behavior. For example, let’s say that the user who was browsing Toyota Camry hybrids decided to click on financing options. Using behavioral targeting, Toyota (or a local dealer) could place a relevant ad – highlighting current financing options and incentives for the Camry – next to the generic financing content on the page. If that same user clicked on the generic gas mileage impact calculator, Toyota could serve a relevant message about how the Camry has higher gas mileage and lower emissions than its competitors. If the user had started by searching for a Honda Civic instead, Honda could serve similarly branded messages on these content pages based on the consumer’s online behavior.
Opportunity for Behavioral Targeting on Generic Financing Page
- Affinity targeting across Yahoo portal. When a user visits any site, a cookie is dropped onto his/her web browser which enables the site server to recognize that user when he/she returns. This cookie may also store specific information about the user including site preferences. When a user visits a particular page of the site, embedded site “tag” appends additional information to the cookie that enables tracking of usage patterns on the site. Smart green marketers may work with Yahoo to leverage this information to target consumers in two ways by:
- Serving different ads to returning visitors (e.g., different messaging, more aggressive offers) within the Green Center.
- Targeting users that have a green affinity (i.e., those that previously visited the Green Center) across the Yahoo portal. By leveraging this information, green car companies may serve (green) affinity-based ads to users anywhere on the Yahoo portal to entice them to reengage. It would even be worth a test by other companies to leverage this “green affinity” in order to target prospects that may be more receptive to eco-friendly messaging than others.