May 31, 2006, 12:00 AM

Will you Yahoo?

Google and Yahoo have been battling it out for share in the paid search market. And MSN launched a new search engine marketing service, AdCenter, early this year.

But competition for paid search dollars stands to ratchet up again with the planned completion in Q3 of a redesigned search advertising platform at Yahoo. The goal? To enable the launch of search ad campaigns across Yahoo and its distributed network more quickly, and to boost ROI for marketers, Yahoo says.

The new platform will roll out country-by-country, in three phases. Phase one, building the core data platform and technologies, is near completion. Yahoo is now releasing new search ad APIs designed to support the new platform. They are aimed at search marketing companies and other third party service and technology providers that have built systems around Yahoo’s existing search platform.

In phase two, Yahoo will make the new campaign management application available to advertisers. Phase three will incorporate a quality-based ranking model in the platform.

New features include enhanced geographic targeting and share of clicks forecasting, which displays the bid needed to achieve a targeted share of expected clicks. The new platform will allow advertisers to reach Yahoo’s audience through search and advertising across Yahoo’s marketplaces and media, says Steve Mitgang, senior vice president of advertising platforms and products.

“This should make it easier for marketers to understand the campaign performance and experiment more with the medium,” he says.

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