Going Further with Dave Morgan and the Obligation of Publishers


Going further with Dave Morgan’s January 25th, 2007 article in Media Post, “When Will We Deliver On The Promise?” brings up the obligation of publishers.  Dave quotes alarming statistics that less than 20% of ads are found to be relevant by users online in comparison to 47% of newspaper and magazine readers. 


Dave writes that “while many of the top content sites have dramatically improved in this area, far too many sites are addicted to just adding another ad unit every time that they have a new revenue opportunity… too many Web sites still look like Times Square at night: lots of crazy colored ads all shouting at once.”


So if the onus is on the publishers, let’s look at that.  Magazine and Newspaper publishers exercise some decorum with their ad sales – especially magazine ad sales.  They have spec requirements, color and style requirements.  But Web sites don’t.  There are file limitations – but that is a loose limitation that is really more so imposed by the advertiser’s ad server than by the publisher.  Lots of rich media types can be run, colors of all kinds are acceptable, animation is fair game and now there is video.  So sure it looks like Times Square.  It’s worse because its not up in the air its right in your face!


Back to relevance though.  Why has search been so effective?  Context.  Targeted advertising aims to do the same thing right?  Advertisers try to target audiences with their products.  They target verticals, demographics, geographies.  They use behavioral and event-based targeting and now the early adopters are doing customer re-targeting.  But where is the contextual advertising in display media.  How do we get that?  How do advertiser’s make their content relevant to the content that they are associating with?


Smartbanner technology is one course of action.  TruEffect has TruBanners – but that is just one example.  I put this one out there to you all for feedback on finding more.  Maybe Dave Morgan will come back to us with ideas as well (??).  A Smartbanner pulls content from another source dynamically in real-time.  So, for example when an individual enters a stock ticker symbol into a web site and the advertiser is an online broker, the banner can incorporate the stock symbol with the $10 per trade offer in real-time.  Now the ad has context and relevance to the user. 


Another example would be a user who is conducting a search on a trip from Denver to San Francisco on Expedia and an ad banner for a ticket for that route pops up from United Airlines – also a Smartbanner.  Relevance.  Context.


If more of the advertisers on web sites incorporated this kind of technology into their ads, the users would consider the ads to be more relevant and would pay more attention to them – and would probably interact with them more as well.


So how do we get advertisers to do this … well it can start with the publishers.  Publisher who offer dynamic content like stock quotes, weather forecasts, travel itineraries, recipes (man I can keep going if you want me to) can expose the dynamic string so that an advertiser can use Smartbanners.  This is not rocket science.  Publishers should be encouraging advertisers to do this.  It’s a win-win.


Contextual advertising is synonymous with search and text links but banner advertising has its rightful place too.  Reactionary with Insight.

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