New ad category targeting added to YPN

Yahoo Publisher Network has added a brand new ad category targeting feature for publishers, which should help create tighter ad targeting.

In addition to the contextually-matched ads that Yahoo! serves, Ad Targeting enables you to target your visitors with ads based on their specific interests. You can choose up to two ad categories to apply to your web site (e.g.,, a specific directory of your web site (e.g., or a content-specific web page on your site (e.g., Your ad category selections, in combination with our matching technology, will determine what types of ads will be displayed. Selecting ad categories for a Targeted URL, however, does not guarantee that only ads from those ad categories will appear.

Here is a screenshot (click the screenshot to view full-sized version of the page):


They have quite a number of categories and sub-categories, much more detailed than I expected, a total of 20 categories and 134 sub-categories. For those who are still eagerly awaiting a YPN beta account, here they are:

  • Apparel and Jewelry
    1. Clothing
    2. Fashion Accessories
    3. Glasses and Contacts
    4. Jewelry
    5. Shoes
    6. Specialty Apparel
    7. Tattoos and Piercings
  • Automotive
    1. Aircrafts
    2. Automotive Resources
    3. Automotive Services
    4. Boats
    5. Commercial Vehicles
    6. Military Vehicles
    7. Motorcycles
    8. Parts and Accessories
    9. Passenger Vehicles
    10. Powersport Vehicles
    11. RVs
    12. Trailers
  • B2B
    1. “Commercial-Industrial Processing
    2. Commercial-Industrial Products
    3. Commercial-Industrial Services
  • Books-Movies-Music-Tickets
    1. Books
    2. Celebrities
    3. Movies
    4. Music
    5. Tickets
  • Computing
    1. Computer Hardware
    2. Computer Security
    3. Computer Service and Repair
    4. Computer Software
    5. Internet
  • Education and Career
    1. Careers
    2. Education
  • Electronics and Appliances
    1. Business Telecomm Equipment
    2. Cameras and Optical Equipment
    3. Consumer Electronics
    4. Home Appliances
    5. Office Electronics
    6. Professional Entertainment Electronics
    7. Scientific Electronics
  • Entertainment and Social Event Services
    1. Art Galleries
    2. Astrology
    3. Bars and Night Clubs
    4. Botanical Gardens
    5. Dating Web Sites
    6. Event Venues
    7. Events
    8. Museums
    9. Online Recreation
    10. Parks and Recreation Centers
    11. Radio
    12. Restaurants
    13. Social Event Services
    14. Television
  • Financial Services
    1. Accounting and Taxes
    2. Banking
    3. Collection Services
    4. Credit, Loans and Debt
    5. Financial Aid and Grants
    6. Financial Planning
    7. Insurance
    8. Investment
  • Flowers and Candy
    1. Candy
    2. Flowers
    3. Gifts
    4. Stationery
  • Health and Beauty
    1. Alternative Medicine
    2. Anatomy
    3. Beauty Products
    4. Beauty Services
    5. Diet and Exercise
    6. Eyecare
    7. Massage
    8. Medical Conditions
    9. Medical Services
    10. Medical Supply
    11. Spas
  • Home and Garden
    1. Furniture
    2. Home
    3. Yard and Garden
  • Mass Merchants
    1. Apparel and Accessories
    2. Automotive
    3. Baby Products
    4. Computers and Electronics
    5. Entertainment
    6. Food
    7. Health and Beauty
    8. Home and Garden
    9. Industrial Services
    10. Major Retailers
    11. Novelty and Gift
    12. Office Supplies
    13. Pet and Pet Supplies
    14. Sports and Outdoors
    15. Thrift Stores
    16. Toys and Hobbies
    17. Wholesale Warehouse Stores
  • Professional Services
    1. Advertising and Marketing Services
    2. Appraisal Services
    3. Architecture Services
    4. Business Services
    5. Child Care Services
    6. Engineering Services
    7. Financial Counseling Services
    8. Fund Raising Services
    9. Funeral Cemetery Services
    10. Government Services
    11. Laundry Services
    12. Legal Services
    13. People Finders
    14. Photography and Video Services
    15. Private Investigative Services
    16. Tailor and Alteration Services
    17. Web Designing Services
    18. Writing Services
  • Real Estate
    1. Apartments-Lofts-Flats
    2. Commercial Real Estate
    3. Condominiums
    4. Home Construction
    5. Houses
    6. Investment Properties
    7. Land and Acreage
    8. Manufactured Homes
    9. Moving and Relocation Services
    10. Property Managment Services
    11. RE Companies-Agents-Brokers
    12. Real Estate Business Space
    13. Real Estate by Owner
    14. Real Estate Foreclosures
    15. Real Estate Inspection Services
    16. Rental Housing
    17. Time Share Properties
  • Reference
    1. Academic Reference
    2. Charities
    3. Education Reference
    4. How To Online
    5. Information
    6. Maps
    7. Medical Reference
    8. News
    9. Online Information
  • Sporting Goods
    1. Sports Reference
    2. Sports Apparel
    3. Sports Equipment
  • Telecommunications and Internet Service Providers
    1. Internet
    2. Telecommunications
  • Toys and Hobbies
    1. Hobbies
    2. Toys
  • Travel
    1. Accomodations
    2. Cruises
    3. Flights
    4. Ground Transportation
    5. Travel Destinations
    6. Travel Services
    7. Vacations

A great variety of categories are included, as you can see. Although some do strike me as a little on the odd side, such as the inclusion of tattoos/piercings and botanical gardens. And some seem to overlap, such as telecommunications selections. Publishers can select up to two categories per URL (can be targeted on a site, directory or page level), which would make the overlap workable for publishers with sites or pages in those areas.

YPN has really jumped on this option, and it seems much more in depth since I heard Will Johnson talk about it at Search Engine Strategies San Jose last month.

Active publishers will also see the option to “suggest additional ad categories and subcategories” to the YPN Support Team when viewing the Ad Targeting tab in the control panel.

This also gives YPN a leg up on Google AdSense. While they have a similar option, it is not something given to all publishers by default, but rather to those publishers suffering from chronic targeting problems.

I am curious to know what ads will be targeted under the “mass markets” category. Will this include things such as eBay and types of ads? These are generic ads, such as “Buy ____ on eBay” that many publishers have been blocking because of low relevance and many incidents of things like “Buy Used Dogs on eBay” which AdSense publishers are familiar with.

Using targeted categories also opens up an interesting possibility, since it is available to all YPN publishers. Since publishers can select specific categories for pages and sites, this could also give the option for advertisers to target those pages using those categories, allowing for a wider audience for their ads. An advertiser could potentially select to run their ads – either on a CPC basis as usual, or as a CPM basis, similar to how the Google AdSense CPM ads work – on a specific category such as “Cruises” or “Office Electronics”.

Do keep in mind that category selections won’t automatically change the ads, particularly if you are choosing financial categories on a page about a particular dog breed, for example.

Ad categories serve as suggestions and will be used in combination with other technologies to determine which ads will be displayed on your web site. Selecting ad categories for a web page does not guarantee that only ads from those categories will appear.

To start using Ad Targeting:

  • Log in to your Yahoo! Publisher Network account.
  • Click the Ad Setup tab and open the Ad Targeting page.
  • In the Ad Targeting page, select the ad categories and subcategories that you think will be most appealing to your visitors.
  • Enter the Targeted URL in which you would like to see these ads appear. If you would like the ads to appear throughout your web site, enter your domain URL.
  • Click the Save button and verify that your selection appears correctly in the Manage Ad Categories section.
  • You may update your ad categories as necessary at any time.

It is a great bonus that publishers do not need to make any changes to the javascript to implement Ad Targeting, unlike similar category/keyword targeting with AdSense that require a line being added to the javascript on those pages. However, publishers are limited to a maximum number of 50 Targeted URLs.

Once implemented, it will take approx 4-6 hours to see the category targeting take effect.

You can read more specifics about Ad Targeting on the Yahoo Publisher FAQ page.

Kudos to YPN for releasing this much-sought-after feature. It will be interesting to watch and see if this improves ad relevancy, something that has been an issue with YPN so far. This, combined with the new ad unit makeovers, could be what is needed to give a boost to publisher CTRs. My testing comparing the two could have a new winner at the end of the month 😉

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6 comments to New ad category targeting added to YPN

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