To date, the world of geotargeting and local online advertising has been about IP-based lookups. There are some exceptions involving targeting with user registration data, ads on maps, default map-location used for ad targeting and a few other situations where targeting can get down “below” an IP-based framework.
One can advertise on a site that targets neighborhoods (e.g., Zillow, Trulia) for example. Urban Mapping also has a neighborhood-level ad targeting product. (I’ve also written quite a bit recently about how location in the browser will affect online advertising.)
I got a call on Friday from ClickZ writer Zach Rodgers who told me that Yahoo! was adding Zip-level targeting to its search ad platform (Panama). Here’s his piece today.
His question was whether Yahoo! was rolling this out to address US Department of Justice concerns about hypothetical Yahoo! complacency if the Google-Yahoo! paid search deal were to be approved. I said no it probably wasn’t because some work would presumably have had to go into such as system and so it was likely in development for some time.
He hadn’t been told how Yahoo! was doing this more specific targeting. I asked Yahoo! for comment but the company said it was in a “quiet period” (prior to its earnings announcement this week). So I don’t have insight into how their doing this. Assuming it works across the board it would give Yahoo! something that Google doesn’t really have (via AdWords) at the moment (but will soon).
Yahoo!’s extensive newspaper partner relationships also permit geotargeting on newspaper sites (search and display) but it didn’t sound like that was what was being described.
Update: See comments for Zach’s clarifications and explanation of the targeting methodologies — appears nothing new added to the mix.
Update II: More from the Y! Search blog:
Geo-targeting is a clever little feature that can analyze a user’s search query, their Internet Protocol (IP) address and other user information to determine where they are and what ads to serve to them. For example, if you select Portland as a geo-targeted region for the sale of your product, searchers with an IP address in Portland will be served your ad. If you’re a Portland business, you’re likely to get more relevant clicks that can lead to more sales. Our new updates give you the chance for even more relevant clicks.
There’s nothing new here vs. Google. This is essentially catch-up for Yahoo!. Here’s more on the interface and how it works from Matt McGee.