Open or Closed? The Future of Ad Engagement

Mad Men Party

Contextual advertising is nothing new.

In fact, technically all advertising is contextual. Starting with the very first print ad to the latest social engagement platform. Each ad is targeted with information, programming or entertainment that the content’s audience would find relevant. How else would Harry Crane have a job?

Advertising isn’t dead. In fact, if anything it is becoming more effective and cost efficient. Any ad you can engage with, benefit from and utilize effectively is a success (unless no one clicks on it).

Segmentation and estimates allow you to get a picture of how successful your efforts are. As time as gone on this has gotten more and more sophisticated as algorithms, analysis and numbers have taken precedence over creativity in the advertising hierarchy. The true era of measurement is finally coming into vogue.

With analytics and conversion running the show the engagement and stickiness of the content has become that much more important. This being said? True contextual semantic advertising is still in its infancy.

However, we’ve all had an ad hit a little to close to home on Facebook. We get a sneaking suspicion that the powers that be really are watching all of us and tracking our every move. As a marketer I geek out and celebrate it as a massive step forward in targeting.

The next battleground to be waged? The open web. At the moment, the most advanced contextual ads rely on gated communities like Facebook or Myspace. They aren’t going to broadcast to anyone that isn’t logged in. This is a major problem for both communities.

The beauty of the social web is that it is all connected. The closed community is dying (regulated industries excluded) and the open source model is even being embraced by Facebook and Google (See both versions of Connect).

Where does this leave semantic advertising then? The benefit and success of the ads within the networks was from the massive amounts of data collected from the users. Without context? The ads just become weak engagement opportunities and won’t be very successful (ask Youtube who now allows you to skip pre-roll).

This is why when you look at Facebook and Google’s decision to go to a more open format and integrate “Connect” options the move makes a whole lot more sense. They aren’t just providing convenience, they are capturing and examining relevant data so they can push out and make their ads more effective and live in more places.

The next big step I expect to see in semantic ads: Engagement Ad Outposts.

Content is already embeddable anywhere on the web. Why can’t ads be dropped in, capture semantic data, and monetize effectively? This would be a sort of penultimate affiliate/semantic engagement experience. The ads could eventually become based off of a primitive AI.

The opportunities for technology and content intersection are off the charts once you start realizing the potential raw data that you could hook into for targeting.

Now let’s go play in the sandbox and build something awesome.

Image Source: Ann Larie Valentine

7 thoughts on “Open or Closed? The Future of Ad Engagement

  • A big plus for well done and relevant contextual programs will be solidly developed consumer opt-in models. The most crude example is what Weather Bug began doing about six years ago with their desktop application. You could buy the service or elect for it to be ad supported. The problem they had early on was that the advertising categories were not robust and often misleading which led to poor relevancy. Steve Fredericks discusses the ideas really well in “Advertising in the Digital Age” http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=advertisin

  • Consumer Opt-in will likely be based off of a broader experience rather then just ad serves correct?

    Otherwise, I'd have a hard time seeing anyone convert that way via opt-in experience.

  • Pingback: uberVU - social comments
  • Definitely should be beyond ad serving. You'd be opting into and out of categories, but it is also dependent on users understanding the trade offs of obtaining content. Fredericks assertion, and I tend to agree with it is that people will more likely opt into ad supported models vs. payign for content, but it is then incumbent on the advertisers and the content providers to deliver relevancy. It is not an easy task, nor is it an easy thing for say a huge corporation like Wal*Mart to swallow that I might select an advertising model that makes it impossible for them to reach me. Huge corporations don't like the idea that any advertsier could be on the same playing field as they are, the bigger ones like having spending muscle, but the climate dictates that it is no longer about how much weight you throw around cash wise, but how effectively you do it.

  • Definitely should be beyond ad serving. You'd be opting into and out of categories, but it is also dependent on users understanding the trade offs of obtaining content. Fredericks assertion, and I tend to agree with it is that people will more likely opt into ad supported models vs. payign for content, but it is then incumbent on the advertisers and the content providers to deliver relevancy. It is not an easy task, nor is it an easy thing for say a huge corporation like Wal*Mart to swallow that I might select an advertising model that makes it impossible for them to reach me. Huge corporations don't like the idea that any advertsier could be on the same playing field as they are, the bigger ones like having spending muscle, but the climate dictates that it is no longer about how much weight you throw around cash wise, but how effectively you do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *