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  1. #1
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    Sunny Miami
    Maybe we should tell them and have them publish our point of view?

    Contact e-mail on the bottom..

    Media Buying
    ClickZ :: Media Buying :: Media Buying

    Thursday, April 17, 2003

    Contextual Ads: A Media Buyer's Point of View

    Imagine having the ability to target consumers at the very moment they're thinking about your product. Now imagine connecting with those consumers immediately by drawing their attention to your business via a relevant text link or pop-up ad. Sound a little like pay-per-search advertising or keyword banner advertising, perhaps? The concept may be similar, but media buyers are learning contextual advertising is a very different animal -- and it isn't always in the form of a green cartoon alligator.

    Contextual advertising has been around for several years. But what began as the occasional targeted pop-up window appearing on a competitor's Web site has morphed into a mammoth (and multifaceted) business, in both sales volume and reputation. Recently, companies such as Google and Sprinks added their own programs to an existing mix that includes established contextual advertising players such as Gator and WhenU. The popularity of contextual advertising is escalating in advertising circles -- if not with publishers, who argue some forms of it infringe on editorial copyrights, among other things.

    For those who aren't completely familiar with this method of marketing, one of the most clear-cut definitions I've heard comes from ClickZ's own Danny Sullivan, who describes it as "when ads are delivered based on the content of a Web page being viewed, usually in an automated or semiautomated manner." Traditionally, consumers must download the company's free software -- which generally provides some other functionality -- before they can be served the ads. The software delivers the advertising based on the nature of each Web site the user is visiting.

    Visual ads such as pop-ups and sliders are still the most common ad vehicles in contextual advertising. These are deployed by Gator and WhenU, with whom most buyers are already familiar. But for those advertisers who prefer the idea of text advertising to the eternally reviled pop-up, there's Google's Content-Targeted Advertising, ContentSprinks, and eZula, all of which offer keyword-based advertising on content pages across the Web.

    Google and Sprinks don't require consumers download any ad software, distributing their ads instead through partnerships with chosen Web publishers. eZula's model, however, is more traditional contextual advertising. When a keyword relating to an advertiser's business occurs on a content page a consumer is viewing, that word appears underlined and highlighted and links directly to the advertiser's Web site. eZula's software is able to "read" and analyze the content within a Web page, instead of placing its ads based on domain names alone.

    From a media buyer's point of view, all forms of contextual advertising -- as controversial as they can sometimes be -- should be quite intriguing. Think of the reaction your client, an electronics retailer with a killer sale on DVD players, could provoke from a consumer by informing him of the deal at the precise moment he's reading up on DVD players online. Then think of the pleasure your client would muster learning a conversion occurred while a consumer was visiting his biggest competitor's Web site.

    The options, and possibilities, for contextual advertising campaigns are manifold. Before you sign up to use this promising technique, though, keep in mind just as with any other online advertising form, there are variables to consider before making the buy.

    There's the consumer's perception of the ads. Consider software-generated contextual ads, for instance. Since the user had to agree to the installation of the necessary software on her system, one would assume she would receive the ensuing flood of ads with open arms. But what many media buyers may not realize is to grow their database of registered users, some (but not all) contextual advertising firms partner with other software companies, bundling their products in a fashion that is sometimes imperceptible to the consumer.

    Others take things even further, requiring Internet users agree to the ad-supported software download before they can obtain the software they are actually seeking. Media buyers considering this form of contextual advertising should be very aware, depending on the way in which they acquired it, not all consumers with the software will be happy to encounter ads wherever they go -- even if the products being advertised are more relevant than the customary mass-market ads they're used to seeing.

    How consumers perceive your clients' brands is principally determined by the advertising you release into the world in an effort to reach them. Can certain forms of contextual advertising send the wrong message, alienating existing and potential customers? What do consumers have to gain by agreeing to view software-based contextual ads? Are they suspicious of ads that are a little too targeted? Find out next week when I look at contextual advertising from the consumer's point of view.

    Tessa Wegert plans and implements online advertising strategies and promotional campaigns as media manager at BAM Strategy, a Montreal-based interactive marketing agency. With a background in print advertising, consumer marketing, and copy editing, she also freelances as a technology and e-marketing writer, online and off.

    Let your views be known - Tessa can be reached at:

    What's your opinion?

    Andy Rodriguez,
    Online Advertising / Affiliate Marketing Manager
    P: (305) 415-2313
    ICQ: 175010
    AIM: miamitigercub

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador qball0213's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    How can they even compare google with the rest, when google displays and ad on my site, they may take a visitor or two from some of my sales pages, but they actually pay money for the page views and I had too approve it first.

  3. #3
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Well my opinion would be to drop Tessa into one of Saddams human chip shredders as an attitude adjustment. She's obviously in the camp of the Ad-nausium B-a-HO justification creeps who measure their success by how much money they bleed from advertisers regardless of ethics. To her kind any end allowing Ad agencies to continue to rape advertising budgets justifies the means.

    The over all ebiz plan of the online Advertising industry is driven strickly by greed and the attitude of eliminating the consumer's choice in the matter of viewing deceptive Ads. In Tessa's perfect world the Ad networks would be justified in kidnapping shoppers and forcing them to pay ransome fees to NOT VIEW their clients Ads.

    Of course this is just my opinion and not those who love spam -popups -sneaky links and their ex-wives attornies.

    Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    My concern would be the perceived ad industry acceptance of this (all to familiar) "advertising." The author speaks as though this is a progression - in on-line advertising that one should consider.

    "Then think of the pleasure your client would muster learning a conversion occurred while a consumer was visiting his biggest competitor's Web site."

    That's all it takes to make this something easy and digestible for ad buyers...

    What do you think Andy?


    "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it." Abraham Lincoln

  5. #5
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    New York
    Sent an email to Tessa.

    <font size="2" face="Verdana">Haiko

    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador qball0213's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    Ya I emailed her too, here's a little snippet of her reply:

    Personally, if I were a site publisher, or even an advertiser, I would be
    angered by any software-generated ads that appeared on my site. As a media
    buyer, however, my job is to serve my clients, and any form of advertising
    as targeted as this is one just too effective to pass up.

    This is what we are facing.

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