SUNNY VALE, California: Yahoo is to offer online advertisers a range of tools to create more personalized messages that can target the most likely buyers.

The SmartAds system allows US marketers to create a template for ads with several variables and then compile those elements on the spot to suit a specific viewer.

The ad is based on a consumer's web profile, including data such as their location, recent product searches and, in some cases, age or household income.

For example, a person who had recently searched for information on washing machines might see an ad that gives prices for such goods in the store closest to their home.

Comments Todd Teresi, Yahoo's svp of display marketplaces: "It starts to marry the concept of targeting ... with the construction of the ad. We now can get scaleable one-to-one marketing."

He adds: "We're doing real-time creative assembly that leverages what we know about our audience.

"You can buy the entire Wall Street Journal site, and when a female shows up, we will create a different ad or when someone from New York shows up, another one."

According to research firm eMarketer, Yahoo's 'behavioral targeting' is tapping into a market set to double from this year's total to $1 billion (€736m; £497m) in 2008, and surge to $3.8bn by 2011.

The internet search giant, which has reshuffled its advertising functions following the departure of ceo Terry Semel and chief US sales executive Wenda Millard [WARC News: 25-Jun-07], will begin to roll out SmartAds for two leading airlines. It will be offered to automobile companies and retailers by the end of the year.

Comments Digitas chairman/ceo David Kenny: "Yahoo has a real advantage in SmartAds because of the data from their big and engaged audience, the combination of deep display and improving search capabilities, and the new changes to work with us at the technology level instead of just selling inventory."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff