A ClickZ article called “Context Is King, or Is It?” follows-up nicely on my “context is the only way” comment yesterday.
The article talks a lot about the Google “Content-Targeted AdWords” program. This new program allows advertisers to use content sites Google partners with to run AdWords-like ads within those sites. The thing that makes this different from an ad network like DoubleClick, is that the ads published on those pages directly relate to what the page is about. By using Googles massive and intelligent search algorithms, the AdWords on the partners pages are always relevant (i.e. in context for the user).
One example Google provides is of the “How Automatic Transmissions Work” page at howstuffworks.com. The page includes Adwords from Google that sell rebuilt transmissions, etc. Of course the live execution of the page doesn’t quite live up to the mock-up because the funnel is not full of willing advertisers yet.
The article also is the first to (kind of off-handedly) mention what I think is the real reason Google bought Blogger — big heaping wads of context to put Content-Targeted AdWords in. I think a lot of the blogging community looked at it as a technology purchase rather than an ad placement opportunity. Follow the money.
Google is brilliant. By purchasing Blogger and implementing Content-Targeted ads within it, they have cut the two biggest costs associated with running an ad-based content site — the cost of selling the ads, and the cost of creating the content. The process is essentially automated with Google left to manage the infrastructure and cheque credit card deposits.