Commentary

Yandex Hyper-Targeted Ad Platform Uses Emails, Telephone Numbers

Yandex unveiled a service Wednesday that lets advertisers use their customer data to segment audiences for hyperlocal ad targeting on the search engine and across its network of partners. The product, called Yandex.Audience, was announced at the company's marketing conference Wednesday.

Yandex advertisers can now upload their customer information such as phone numbers, email addresses or mobile device IDs to Yandex.Audience, which will match this information to user IDs on Yandex. The company said that using the anonymized IDs allows advertisers to hyper-target offers to offline customers visiting Yandex pages or Web sites in the Yandex Advertising Network.

Advertisers can use the same data to identify groups of people — lookalike audiences — who exhibit characteristics similar to those of the existing customers and are likely to be interested in the offers as existing customers.

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Although unconfirmed, the service seems similar to Google Customer Match audiences, a targeting option that allows advertisers to create customer audiences for AdWords campaigns using their first-party customer data such as email addresses.

Yandex said advertisers must use about 1,000 records to start, but there's no limit in the number of records uploaded to the service or a limit for the number of types of audiences or hyper-targeted advertising campaigns.

Yandex also plans to add what it calls behavior analytics technology Crypta," which can identify Web users' interests, age, gender, family status, and even if they have a car or a pet, based on their behavior online.

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