Yahoo Content Behaviorally Targets Success

The success of Yahoo's CORE (Content Optimization and Relevance Engine) is getting a lot of attention right now, even though they have been using the technology for the past two years. It must be the reported 270% increase in clicks the programming has given Yahoo stories.

The Today box everyone sees on the homepage of Yahoo is personalized and tested, giving people tailored stories that Yahoo has found helps increase pageviews. The system is behaviorally A/B testing responses and using the information to deliver the stories it thinks will get more clicks from certain types of people. A/B testing is simplifying the system really as it "generates 45,000 totally unique versions of the Today module every five minutes," Fast Company reported.

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The system is designed to "entice visitors to gobble up ever-more content in the Yahoo ecosystem, and in the process, turn it into the 'premier media company' that its executives like to claim it already is."

As Fast Company notes, the system has helped Yahoo's home page become the most visited programmed content page in the U.S., with more than 35 million unique visitors each day.

Yahoo is using the system in variations on other category pages as well. Other Yahoo pages with rotating stories on their front page include:

Sports

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Health

yahoo-health

Games

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The system uses information from visitors who have Yahoo accounts to determine sex and age and other demographic details and combine with other visitors' pageview information. From there the algorithm selects what content it thinks will be of particular interest of those types of visitors. One has to wonder how much of this would need to be changed if tracking legislation is enacted.

CORE seems to be the program that shows the benefits of behavioral targeting. We get information we might really want.

One has to wonder if the AOL program that determines what stories get written is using something similar without the rotator.

Behavioral targeting is popular right now and this use of it shows there is more than one way to use it to improve click-through rates. While advertisers rush to adopt the method, it would seem Yahoo has successfully created an alternate way to use it to increase pageviews - which given their CPM advertising model is very clever and profitable.