Yandex rolls out 'Geo-targeted Ads' – sticks ads on a map

Yandex, the leading Russian search engine thought to be mulling over an IPO for up to $1.5 billion, has added ‘Geo-targeted Ads’ to its arsenal, targeting local businesses who might otherwise not have an online presence. The feature itself doesn’t sound too innovative – on one level it amounts to sticking ads on a map – and is something that Google and others have been doing for yonks, but given Yandex’s reach, it’s noteworthy nonetheless. The search engine claims 25 million users, with 11.5 million utilising the Yandex.Maps service.

The feature itself, which involves local businesses paying for premium placements, is designed to harness the type of search queries whereby users are looking for company contact details. In response, Yandex will display a company’s location on a map, both in the search results on and in its dedicated mapping service. Those who have opted for premium placement will see their company’s location highlighted in such a way, along with contact details etc.

Because of its local nature, Yandex says the new ad product is an “ideal promotional solution for businesses like small bakeries, hairdressing salons, repair shops etc., who may not have an online presence and whose rivals are entirely local”. In other words, it’s another way to steal ad dollars from the offline world to online – watch out traditional yellow page directories.

Interestingly, Yandex appears to be shunning Google-style auctions for this particular ad product. The press release makes mention of geo-targeted ads being served at a fixed price for a fixed period of time. The only fluctuation being that ads in a city like Moscow are more expensive than in say, Samara (wherever that is).