Yahoo patent details 'social authority' advertising

Yahoo  may begin charging advertisers for serving ads based on consumers’ “social authority”, such as how many followers they have on social networks, or how often they are mentioned by others.


A patent published by the company details how advertisers may be able to target audiences deemed an authority on specific topic matters, as well as by region, using social media scoring APIs such as across multiple social networks. Advertisers would then be charged more to serve ads to more influential people.

The patent reads: “The social authority score may be determined, for example, based upon the number of contacts that the user has on LinkedIn, how influential the user’s followers and/or contacts are, and/or the title of the user.”

The system may also identify products or brands that the user clicked as “Likes” within one or more social networks, according to the filing.

Although the patent was filed in 2011, Yahoo published it yesterday (June 13) with the document further suggesting advertisers may be able to serve ads to their desired social media audiences after a bidding process, similar to a Google AdWords auction or an online ad exchange.

Yahoo also proposes advertisers may be able to specify the number of impressions they want for their particular advertisement, plus the demographic characteristics of their desired audience, as well as a “range of acceptable social authority scores” in order to target their messaging.   

The proposed system of serving ads would also involve a “look up table” that would detail the cost of advertising to audiences with specific “social authority”.

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