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September 5, 2009

Contextual Advertising :The Story so far

When Google launched ADSENSE ..contextual advertising suddenly emerged as " the hot and happening solution which promised publishers more revenue and advertisers finally got something that would take their brand to the next level.

Today if we look back on how contextual advertising has shaped online advertising ,it would perhaps not be an exaggeration to say that contextual advertising after the initial hype failed to live up to their expectation. Apart from Google Adsense.

Google AdSense was the first major contextual advertising program. which worked with JavaScript code that, when inserted into webpages, displays relevant advertisements from the Google inventory of advertisers. The relevance is calculated by a separate Google bot, Mediabot, that indexes the content of a webpage. Recent technology/service providers have emerged with more sophisticated systems that use language-independent proximity pattern matching algorithm to increase matching accuracy.

Since the advent of AdSense, Yahoo! Publisher Network, Microsoft adCenter, Ad-in-Motion and others have been gearing up to make similar offerings.However broadly speaking there are 4 kinds of contextual advertising .

Reprise Media Director of Strategic Development, Randy Schwartz further breaks down contextual advertising into four types: search-based contextual; channel-based contextual; Behaviorally-Based Contextual; and In-Line Advertising.

Search Based Contextual Advertising: Examples are Google Adsense and Yahoo Publisher Network

Channel-Based Contextual Advertising:This type of advertising is similar to the ad networks created by Kanoodle and Valueclick. These networks offer broad coverage of the web across vertical channels .For example Valueclick reaches over 40% of the web audience through premium partners like iVillage,, Autotrader and Switchboard. Kanoodle’s contextual program carries a high composition of traffic across CBS Marketwatch and MSNBC.

Channel-based contextual can be extremely helpful in allowing a brand-based client to extend its reach across a web of content associated with a certain behavioral profile (making this the closest parallel to the demographic planning of traditional media)

Behavioral-Based Contextual; These ads target the behavioral aspects of the user and delivers ads specific to them.This involves ads being shown by building user-based profiles based on a user’s behavior across a network. for example is a user has subscribed for a personal loan newsletter ,they are shown car loans or home loads ads,since the buyer has shown inclination for such a behavior.This technology, offered by players like Tacoda and Blue Lithium, will typically leverage inventories across a narrow network of premiere publishers using their technology for in-house profiling and ad-sales.

In Line Contextual Ads:This is probably one of the most often maligned and abused forms of contextual advertising and often the most intrusive. In-line advertising is developed by companies like Vibrant Media,adbrite. inline Ads are the links which you see in side of the content,often colored green or made to stand out from the content.This involves some text being linked which when clicked takes to you a different landing page which might or might not be connected to the context of the content .Inline ads are CPC ads (ie you get paid per click).