The Wall Street Journal (behind a paywall) reported today, a subsidiary of AOL will be Ad distributor for the as-yet-unnamed NBC – News Corp. joint venture for online video. It seems like is leveraging some of the IP it got through AOL’s acquisition of Truveo back in Dec 2005. The technology allows to insert ads into video clips seamlessly at any point in the video. I can see advertisers being very interested in this. Imagine a Kellogs ad right as a family sits for breakfast in the video or a Circuit City ad just as viewers are in the middle of watching a football match.


Adwords on Gmail

March 29, 2007

The ads that appear at the top of my emails in my Gmail account have become extremely targeted lately. I can’t seem to stop clicking on the ads that show up. Google has figured out my interests in start-ups and travel. I get mostly content links from Business week, NY travel and others that are right down my alley. Scary on one hand, but superb targeted,relevant content on the other.

Adwords Editor

December 2, 2006

The Adwords editor is one of the most useful Ad applications that Google has come up with in recent days. From a search advertiser’s stand point, it gives a great deal of flexibility in making large scale changes relatively quickly. The tool is specially useful when dealing with complex accounts where keyword characteristics tend to be multi dimensional in nature.

This is one more place where yahoo has not been able to deliver. Search ad spend tends to be correlated to the ease with which changes can be made to campaigns. It is to be seen how Yahoo V2/ Panama will affect the search ad spend share of google and yahoo. V2 is likely to put Yahoo on par with Google in relation to the main Adwords application. Most likely the average ad spend per advertiser is likely to increase in Yahoo because of V2. However, I do not see Yahoo coming up with an Adwords Editor like application at least until August 2007.

The number of people who use TiVo and other DVRs is growing at a healthy rate. This presents a rather unpleasant challenge to advertisers: How to get users to watch an Ad when they are skipping through to the next program?
The Answer: Engage them. KFC did it earlier this year by hiding a clue in it’s ad that can only be seen on recording and playing back the video (aka TiVo users).
Yesterday, Sony launched an ad targeted at TiVoers for its new line of LCD TVs. The ad has two different endings. One for men and another for women. The engagement part? Viewers will have to click on one of the two radio buttons presented to them on the TV screen: “ending for men” or “ending for women”. Of course, after this point, imagery appealing to each gender is presented.
Will this work? we shall find out soon. KFC saw a 40% increase in traffic to its website when it ran the Ads!

Yahoo’s Q3 revenue is going to be in the bottom half of the forecast range. Yahoo has attributed this to a drop in online advertising revenue from its automotive and financial services clients.
Does this mean a slowing of growth for the online advertising as a whole? I don’t think so. As the WSJ (subscription reqd) notes, a confluence of factors may have made Yahoo more vulnerable than its competitors to the slowing growth of ad revenue from the auto and financial industries.
It is interesting to note that the slowdown was largely in the dispay ad areas. Yahoo’s Search advertising is growing at expected levels. This suggests that US auto makers (think GM) who have been having financial difficulties may have cut down on branded advertising. These ads are generally more expensive and it is harder to pin-down the ROI from these ads.
Another factors may be the delay in the release of Yahoo’s new ad platform. The market thought so too and amply demonstrated its displeasure by hammering Yahoo’s stock by more than 22% last month. Yahoo’s existing ad platform is incredibly difficult to use, especially when contrasted against Google Adwords. I expect that Google and its online ad revenues will continue to grow at expected levels.
What Yahoo has going for it is its strong presence in content. Yahoo properties like, Yahoo finance, photos and others have tremendous amount of traffic. With a more effective ad platform (due for release in early Q4), online advertisers will be able to leverage this audience better.
Google, while having a strong presence in search, lags behind on the content respect. Google Finance, Video and gmail have gained significant traction, but do not have #1 position in most areas.

Audio and Video Advertising

September 27, 2006

With the proliferation of Audio and Video content on the internet, advertising on these media will likely be part of the next surge in online advertising.
Visitors will access this content in two ways. The user can visit a website and download the podcast/movie. For example by going to or The other alternative is to have have the content directly streamed to them on a non-PC device. For example, Sonos has just released a device that connects to Rhapsody’s trove of songs and plays it on the Sonos whole-house system.
There are two advertising avenues possible here. Audio and video ads can be seamlessley integrated into the content at appropriate points, much like the Ads we see today on TV before/after or in-between a show. There is technology that allows this seamless integration (AOL aquired a company which developed this technology a few months ago). The other possibility is that relevant text ads relevant are shown on the webpage where the content is being streamed.
Both of these require sophisticated technology that allows for understanding/transcribing the content. Companies like Podzinger, TVEyes and Blinkx offer voice-recognition software that translates spoken words into text or audio waveforms that can be searched. Once this is enabled, then text and image ads can be served to users using the Google Adwords or Yahoo ad platform, much like the way it is done today for text content.
It is worth noting that this new technology looks at the complete content in a audio or video clip. Most audio/video search technology today relies on the text tags associated with these clips.

New Ads in New Places

September 27, 2006

Interesting take on where the furture growth of ad industry is going to come from.