Technically, the CEO's vaguely telepathic strategy is called "audience-based buying," but in order for it to work, Yahoo needs to grow its audience
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has plans to transform Yahoo's tired brand into a Wall Street darling, and one of the most important planks involves reading your mind. Twice in the conference call following Monday's slightly better than expected earnings report, Mayer mentioned "audience-based buying," noting that advertisers "love" it and that she is "bullish" on its potential.
Yahoo plans to win by grouping users according to their interests, not their demographic...
So what's audience-based buying? It's what happens when advertisers divide customers into groups centered around particular interests, including "gourmands," "social media junkies," "culture vultures," people who like living alone with cats, whatever.
That might sound like what advertising has always done. But throughout much of its data-impoverished history, advertising consisted mostly of dividing television and radio audiences into demographics (Female, 18-34) or selling ads against content (putting an ad for a laptop into a computer magazine). Audience-based buying is also distinct from "behavioral targeting," which is what happens when you search for "gas grill" on Google, and afterwards every website you visit has banner ads advertising them.