Yahoo! is finally catching up with Google and MSN and has some new features rolling out mid-March. Here’s what they are:

1.       Day Parting:  Yahoo! has officially opened up their targeting preferences to certain times of the day.  This is the exact same concept of Google’s ad scheduling.  You can go in at the campaign level and select certain hours of the day that you would like to increase your bids.  If you find that people convert more frequently during the lunch hour 12pm – 1pm, then you can increase your bids by 10%, 20%, etc. to get more traffic to your site during that time. To activate Yahoo’s ad scheduling you can go into a specific campaign and edit the campaign settings. Yahoo doesn’t currently have this information online, so I can’t give you explicit instructions on where to go and exactly how to set it up until it’s launched.

2.       Demographic Bidding:  In addition to ad scheduling, Yahoo is now allowing advertisers to increase their bids by a percentage on certain demographics like male/female, and age groups.  If you have a website mainly targeting women, ages 18 – 25, you can increase your bids for when this demographic is searching for your keywords. Any time a person signs up for a new Yahoo! account and enters their age and gender, Yahoo! collects this information and uses it so we can target to them specifically. The only catch is that Yahoo! doesn’t necessarily collect their date of birth, so whatever the age they type in when creating a new account is the age they’ll always be.

3.       Targeting at the Zip Code Level:  You can now increase your keyword bids at the zip code level.  If you find that certain areas of a state will typically convert better again, you can increase your bids by a percentage to get more of this type of traffic to your site.

4.       Content Network:  another update my Yahoo! rep mentioned is that they have really tightened up their content network.  Yahoo! now has better control over which ads they display on which websites. They wanted to make sure the websites were more relevant for advertiser’s keywords and websites. Yahoo! has also decrease the minimum bid for the content network from $.10 down to $.05.  This is so that advertisers who have turned off their content network campaigns can feel more comfortable turning them back on to try again now that the update has been made.

Well there you have it!  These updates from Yahoo! were a long time coming.  Now if they could just get on board with the search query report and placement targeting!

What are your thoughts on these new features? Will they influence you to use Yahoo! more often? What other features do you wish Yahoo! could/should come out with this year?