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Google Content-Targeted Advertising
Google ads on blogs

 4:51 am on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google is giving free clicks until March 12 to their new content-targeted advertising.

Not only the ads will show on google and the search result of their partner, but now the ads can be show on other websites also, such as HowStuffWorks, Weather Underground, and Blogger.

Yes, now we, sort of, know why Google buy Blogger.

What do you think? And have anybody see the ads in other websites? One topic in Google Adwords forum mentioned about the ads showing on Sourceforge.



 10:38 am on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I hope the nice people who write programs that stop me seeing banner ads will work through the night to release a version that removes Google contextual ads too.

Maybe this'll introduce a new verb, degoogle as in "Look how much easier this site is for a blind person now it's been degoogled".

Visit Thailand

 10:47 am on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Chiyo - I got that copy from the adwords page after you log on.


 11:12 am on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ah i see it now, thanks VT. I got my copy from their faq page on how to set distribution preferences.


 11:32 am on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

hmm. Google distributing advertising.

How long until google is added to host files and other ad-blockers like other advertising providers?


 11:52 am on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I fear that conversion rates for content targeted ads would be much lower than search targeted ads. It is very important to track the conversion rates of clicks received from their content network during the trial period.

If you would like Google to serve ads targeted to your content pages, please email content-channel@google.com.

So is anybody signing up for this one?

Marketing Guy

 11:56 am on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I havent used adwords in the past (really dont like paying for advertising!), but the content targetted ads may be worth a go.

As i said before I emailed for more information about hosting ads too.



 1:24 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure about this content targeted advertising on blogger and howstuffworks. Surely, these people are looking for something non-commercial and up pop a load of AdWord boxes on the right hand side of the searches.

Anyway, I will take the free clicks for now :) and decide on the sydication options once we have some stats to play with.


 1:33 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I wish they had given us the ablility to track content ads seperatly (as in with another URL) and bid seperatly. I like to know hard numbers for ROI. I know that if I see a drop in overall that the content ads are probably the cause but if they gave me the option of it being a seperate piece of the adgroup, I could tweak the bid on just the content driven ad rather than the whole thing.

It would also be nice if I could just drop content driven for particular adgroups instead of having to do the whole campaign. If I was setting up my adwords as new I could fix it so that the ads that I didn't think would work on content could be a one campaign and the rest in another but its too late for that now for me. I am not going through all the work of rearranging for this.

If my ROI drops too much, I will have to abandon the whole content driven thing.


 1:36 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

This strikes me as much bigger news for site owners than things like froogle, and potentially a very clever move. What's to stop them offering ads all over the web and ripping the heart out of current advertising agencies - they just need to offer publishers a competitive rate and every site will have their ads.

It will be interesting to learn what kind of criteria they accept sites on - will it only be high quality/traffic sites? The blogs aspect implies they're going low quality, mass market, in which case they'll be pushing the ads everywhere.

It's also good news for the main Google site I think - if they can generate much of their income away from google.com and keep the core search unchanged I think that's big relief all round - far better than a home page more cluttered with My Google, Google Email, Google Web Hosting..
and I think a far better business model.


 3:11 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)
I've noticed:

* I went to a few friends' blogs on blogspot and saw these new ads on 2 of the 3 blogs.

* I saw one of these text ads on Slashdot yesterday, in the place where Slashdot normally has banner ads. I reloaded Slashdot a few more times this morning and saw another one.

* http://pagead.googlesyndication.com/robots.txt blocks the URL ads are served from. This suggests that these ads will not affect rank on non-Google engines with pagerank-like algos.

* The new ads could have been designed to look like the familiar Adwords boxes from Google search, but instead each ad is two lines (one line for the link, one for all the ad text). The URL of the site is not displayed on the ads. Because the ads look significantly different from Adwords boxes, they don't have the visual pull that Adwords-like ads earned from the relevancy of Adwords ads. Maybe Google is reserving the Adwords-box look for search ads because those ads are better targeted. Or maybe I'm the only person whose eyes are immediately drawn to anything that looks like an Adwords ad.

* These ads suffer from the same javascript bug as Adwords boxes. Shift+clicking in IE or Phoenix (open link in new window), or Ctrl+clicking in Phoenix (open link in new tab), both loads the ad URL in a new window/tab and replaces the current page with the ad URL. This annoys me because I Ctrl+click links when I don't want to unload the current page. It probably also makes my click count as two clickthroughs. This could be fixed in the browsers (e.g. http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=151142 ), and I'm not sure whether to consider it a Google bug or an IE/Mozilla bug.


* Will these links affect Google rank?

* When someone clicks one of these links to your site, what referrer to you see in your logs? Does the referrer start with pagead.googlesyndication.com?

* Will this affect clickthrough limits? If Adwords requires 0.5% clickthrough, I'm barely getting 0.5% on search ads, and my ads do more poorly when shown on blogspot than when shown on search pages, will Google continue showing my ads on search pages?


 3:16 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

And what happends to those of us who prefer "Premium Sponsorships".

Are Premium Ads going to be left behind?


 3:25 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wow - great way to leverage.


 3:31 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think they'll get a lot of mileage from persuading large content sites to throw out their huge GIF skyscraper ads and replace them with faster-loading yet similar space-occupying text ads.

After all, I would bet that 5 small text ads in a neat column will get a LOT more clicks than one big ugly flashing GIF...

Depending on the revenue share and other criteria for partnership, it may even mean that any large site can do a MyWay.com and go "pure text" for its advertising...


 3:36 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

All of a sudden the penny has dropped with me. Now instead of being syndicated on AOL, Netscape, CS etc.. we can now appear on anyones sites who fancies a bit of pocket change to pay for hosting.

Where's the relevancy? The quality? I know it's difficult to be judgemental, but if it's all or nothing, and you onlt really want AOL plus Google you may get a whole pile of other traffic on a CPC basis because of inflexibility in the system.

The hung jury is now 7:5 against.


 3:39 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I wonder: who is the webmaster going to host content targeted ads, when these ads are mostly coming from direct competitors?
I work quite hard to add new and fresh content, and I am surely not going to give that away in exchange for a share of Adwords clicks. Everything suddenly looks similar to Microsoft's Smart Tags or eZula's TopText. Do we really want to wide open the doors of our sites?
It would be much better if we could have the choice of selecting partners, avoiding our closest competitors, that instead are obviously going to be the most interested advertisers (besides, what a shame: hosting an ad from a direct competitor really looks like an admission of inferiority!).


 3:49 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I went to www.blogger.com and searched through some of their newly updated and notable weblogs. I found quite a few of them with these new adwords slapped up on the top of them. I looked at about 8 of them. 2 of them were charity/nonprofit ads, 1 of them was about hotels in Iceland (the blog was about iceland), and 5 of them were ads for greeting card and gift companys (none of those blogs had anything to do with gifts). Where is the keyword matching here. I don't want to pay to have my adword pop up on a completely irrelevant site.

Has anyone found these adwords in a place where they are really relevant?


Marketing Guy

 3:54 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

There are websites out there that are purely informational and need source of revenue to pay the bills.

They dont have competitors as most of the related websites would be additional useful information for thier users.

Remember these are targetted conent ads, not targetted SEO padding ads! ;)

The more i think about it, the more i think this will we be a great development for the web. Content orientated websites will get revenue from non intrusive ads. Business websites will get advertising on relevant sites through targeted ads, advertising on the SERPs and advertising on Froogle.

All Google are doing is protecting their original business aim to offer quality search results.

They are doing it by giving SEOs and webmasters a cost effective way to legitimately market their sites (ie, and not spend all their time trying to second guess Google's algo).

Instead of battling spammers, they are offering a more effective source of revenue for them, thereby protecting the quality of their index.

Naturally some will still spam, but I would imagine a lot of multiple-keyword-stuffed-domain-hidden-text-mass-email-spammers will find targeting marketing much more cost effective and low risk (especially as Google are making it incredibily simple for them...). ;)

IMHO anyway


 4:09 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hey, webdiversity, I think you said that Google should mail all its advertisers to alert them to that change, and I believe that's in the works. kyr01, this is a good match for lots of sites. People who normally run banner ads may want to try it, but anyone who doesn't want ads just doesn't need to try it. But everyone should experiment with it (for free) for the next couple weeks. The people that I've talked to say that content ads have conversion rates on par with keyword ads--and ROI and conversion are what you want to track the most. This really is a different way to advertise, so take some time to read all the info. It takes a little while to sink in. Marketing Guy, you're definitely getting all the different ways this can be good for advertisers and the web.


 4:24 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

1) I agree with hammyluv that we need a seperate way to track clicks. Google should allow people to enter a flag for different distribution channels that automatically gets appended to target URLs. For example, I should be able to set something like dist=google[b], [b]dist=searchpartner, dist=content which would then show as:

http://www.mySite.com/?dist=google if the click came from google

http://www.mySite.com/?dist=content if the click came from a content partner

2) Neither Google or Overture are first. Sprinks certainly has been doing content distribution for awhile. Sure they don't have no fancy algorithms to tell what the page is about and webmasters manually pick the query for a page, but they do have side-by-side comparison with search results.

With Sprinks content distribution has far lower ROI than search.

3) There is a huge difference between content distributors. Sites like Weather Underground generate mammoth numbers of short dwell pages. People come to the site every day to check their weather, know exactly where on the page to look, and only click ads if they are board.

Sites like HowStuffWorks that are content heavy have much longer dwell times and generate far more qualified clicks.

4) Hey how about letting us add little Ah-Ha or eSpotting style logos to content distribution?

5) Wonder who conducted Google's ROI study to determine the "on par" finding. Was it in-house or third party? What content sites generated the clicks? What products/services were sold that generated the revenue?

Obviously Google has strong incentives to find out these perform well, and I am weary of the findings. The study must have been pretty small and short in duration for it to fly beneath the radar. No way could it encompass an adequate range of websites or products.

Frankly, I wouldn't trust anyone to conduct such a study except for myself, and that would have to be during a sober period.


 4:36 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Marketing guy...

I don't disagree with you. I really like the concept that google is using here. But when I take into account the ads that I have seen so far (granted there haven't been that many) they are really not relevant to the pages that they are on.

So my question is, how does google choose what goes there. Why did so many of the pages I went to have ads for Greeting Cards (this is not an example... they actually had ads for greeting cards on them).


Marketing Guy

 4:45 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would assume that the choice will be down to the same grouping / categorisation criteria as the SERPs are.

Google identifies a page as being on a particular subject area > picks ads from that subject area.

Not too sure what's up with the greeting cards though? :) Perhaps they are placeholders that are being used until the ad programme takes off? Just there to bulk out the ad column?

Like the SERPs this venture is only going to take off if Google can place adverts that are relevant - both publishers and advertisers need to have this.

I would assume that the current state of play with adverts is still a bit buggy and is being ironed out - Beta testing, er, "try it for free" anyone? ;)

Given Google's history I don't think they would roll out a project like this if they weren't reasonably confident it would work well.



 5:08 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

A great new addition!


 5:19 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

GG, yes I received the e-mail so now advertisers won't have any excuses from the 12th march onwards, but I still think many will come a cropper on this.

Early indications are that the conversion rate is a lot less on some of the headline campaigns we run for clients.

It's good that the impressions/CTR are not effecting the overall stuff during the trial period and it is very good we are getting it for nothing.

Have the issues with delays in reporting been permanently fixed? Surely all this extra processing power is going to add more strain to a system that has creaked a bit in the past few months under the burden.

I'm also less than comfortable with the concept of having ads appear on mom and pop web sites, but maybe it will jsut take a bit of time for it to slot in.

At least I've found out how to turn it off, so the trial can end if we don't like it and go back to things as we are now.


 5:19 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have a site which uses burst and these ads appeared in 468x60 format over a week ago. Does this mean Burst has been buying them up already? I guess so.

brotherhood of LAN

 5:30 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Everybody was speculating high and low about hyper advanced new relevancy coming from analyzing blogs, and they just wanted a new ads product?

Still though, they have a head count and directions to all the bloggers that participate. If there was an opportunity to exploit more relevancy out of this whole thing then they have the means to do it.


 5:38 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

And I can't help but wonder how the bloggers community feels.
When I checked a couple hours earlier nobody even had realised it. Are they all sleeping?


 5:39 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

One of the things i was wondering if you will get paid to put these on your sites...and if so would they offer you more if you just put the money back into a Adwords campaign.

If this is the case it would remind me of "link exchange". Just that you are trading money instead of clicks...the result is the same though...more clicks.


 5:48 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

heini, this is something the blogging community can feel really good about. Before, the free sites were showing banner ads, which of course are not as targeted or relevant. Now the ads are much more likely to be related to what someone is writing about. So it's not as if we put new ads on blogs--we just made the existing ads much more relevant. That's a pretty good thing. :)


 5:50 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

SkiBum Said: "Google is the first kid on the block"
Kaz Said:
>> actually overture announced yesterday they are also moving forward with 'contextual advertising'.
Note to self -

Google = Content-Targeted Advertising
Overture = Contextual Advertising

Google = Implements first
Overture = Announces firt
(edited to add: thanks figment88 - i didn't catch your post before mine)

Actually, Sprinks introduced ContentSprinks & DirectSprinks months ago & has been using ContentSprinks on a network of decent distribution partners including: About.com (obviously), & the listings now run on (or will in the next week): iVillage, Earthlink, PlanetOut, c/net, Forbes, Marketwatch, Infobeat, etc.

Granted, Sprinks is far behind the capability & reach of Google/Overture, but let's at least give credit where credit is due for being first:)

In terms of ROI, agreed that you need to know a full list of distribution partners - and that's always been one of Sprinks issues, but there is some measurable ROI on many of the contentsprinks areas.
would be nice to see Google/Overture take the lead in accurately showing distribution.

[edited by: skiguide at 5:54 pm (utc) on Feb. 27, 2003]


 5:51 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Content orientated websites will get revenue from non intrusive ads. Business websites will get advertising on relevant sites through targeted ads, advertising on the SERPs and advertising on Froogle.

I am not sure I agree with that 'non intrusive' definition... By the way, heavily content oriented websites get their revenues from selling content, more than ads, or at least this seems to be the going trend (should we have Adwords on this forum? Isn't this a VERY content oriented site?)
I agree with GoogleGuy about the good match for lots of sites: I just said I am probably, very probably, not going to show my competitors ads on my site. So I wonder, where those ads are going to be (quite poor sites? Is there a PR minimum to be accepted for showing adwords?) and how will I be able to control, if I'll ever be, where my ads will show up?

All Google are doing is protecting their original business aim to offer quality search results.

Actually this is offering quality *paid* results, which is somehow different from the original Google business model and quite closer to Overture and MS (in their Smart Tags plans). I do feel that Google will do much better than Overture even in this field, by the way, and I'll surely use the new system, provided there will be competitors willing to accept my ads! (just not even thinking about showing theirs, but still open to a complete change of mind given a very good reason...)

Marketing Guy

 6:10 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

OK, fair point - perhaps I should have said "less obtrusive"! :)

Yes some content sites sell their content, but most offer it for free - like here.

The subscription / optional subscription based model is good for certain sites but for a lot it isn't appropriate.

I know it's hard to believe, but some of us just want to be able to provide free information and cover our costs without blemishing our sites with banner ads and the like. We don't have anything we can sell.

Assuming targetted content ads can be implemented effectively (ie they are consistently relevant), then it will be great for us.

After all this scheme was developed with bloggers in mind - people who want to make information available to others for free.

In the same respect, there are many people who set up sites for the same purpose. Their choice is to cover the costs themselves or turn to affiliate advertising of some sort.

For the business website, hosting ads really isnt going to be too appropriate - it will show up your competition.

But, it will be a good advertising avenue for people to explore - most likely leading to a market that is relatively untapped (at best the market has been exposed to random banner ads, as GG says).

Actually this is offering quality *paid* results,

I dont see how they are paid results.

No new sponsored listings will be added to the SERPs. Its just highly targetted advertising.


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