antlean (antlean) wrote,

Advertising - The Power of Words

Whoever needs a proof for the power of words can find it in Google's search engine, world's most popular site for context-based advertising (linking textual ads to search results performed by the user). 95% of Google's revenues come from the same ad words. Who said that an online ad must take over the whole screen to attract the surfer?

The Internet is an insatiable information monster. As it swells, it maintains the status of the search engines: as the lighthouses of the digital space that help us navigate our way through the ocean of information and reach the destination in the shortest time possible without drowning.

The first generation of the successful search engines, especially Google, presented our results by their importance and relevance. But it was certainly not enough. The current generation of search engines offers a segmented and targeted search for news, photos, products and more. Google and Yahoo also offer us the local search option that allows users to quickly find businesses near where they live - now available for mobile users in North America.

When a Song is a Song?

In the not too distant future, the search engines will study us and present us with results according to our interests. We'll be able to ask them questions in a natural language and focus on extremely focused areas of interests. For example, search requests like "I need the lyrics of all the poems by Alexander Penn on the web". A distant future? Not as distant as it may seem.

The semantic web that already exists in various stages of development will enable the search engines to tell when the word "web" is mentioned in the sense of Internet and in which cases it simply means a physical web constructed by a spider. In the short term, we can expect that RSS options will be added to the search engines, which will allow us to receive updates on new pages that were added to search requests that match our interest areas.

As the search engines became important information transfer nodes that transfer surfers to sites, advertising developed as well. Not surprisingly, it was Google that changed the picture. Until the launch of its search engine in 1998 and after, the prevalent methods of advertising were not too effective. I will mention them briefly:

Traditional banners - graphical ads that appear at the top of the results or at the sides. Low efficiency level.

Add a Fee (Paid Submission or Paid-Inclusion) - Some search engines and Web directories charge a fee from sites for adding them to their base. If the inclusion request is accepted, the site is added to the relevant category in the index. However absurd this approach may sound from a business point of view (after all, a comprehensive and quality base is firstly in the interest of the base operator), it still exists in the form of Yahoo! Express.

Placement Fee (Paid Placement) - a method that allows the advertiser to purchase advertising for a particular keyword. These links appeared at the top of the results page, usually emphasizing that this is a sponsored result. This method is more effective than the previous two, since for the first time it featured contextual distribution.

Credibility Above All Else

It was companies like Google and Overture that achieved the breakthrough. Google, which developed the Adwords program (Google textual ads) and AdSense (textual ads on external sites that join Google's network), was the first to separate between the objective search results and ads, with the reasonable expectation that any intervention in the content will damage the reliability of the results.

This move is motivated by business considerations, rather than by ethical ones. Google's secret of success is its alleged credibility and to lose that would be a certain suicide. This is an important lesson to other sites as well: Be careful not to damage your content credibility, not even to boost advertising revenues.

At the same time, Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, decided that the ad displayed on the top right corner of the page would do not look like a banner but like an ordinary search result (today it would be called marketing content). The purpose of that is to give users the feeling that this is a special service for him alone, not that somebody's trying to sell him something. Context-based advertising really helps here, being based on keywords.

The use of text-based ads is logical due to another consideration: Despite the broadband, the main use of the program we're doing online is textual. Eye learned to skip banners, rich media and other harassment, but it is scanning text, and in this context does not differentiate between content and advertising.

According to information revealed in the previous year following the IPO of Google, turns out that most of the company's revenue (95 percent) comes from publishing textual ads, when most of the ads are published on Google sites (about 80 percent) and the rest on sites of advertising partners and other companies that use Google's search technology.

How Does it Work?

Advertisers that uses AdWords can choose to target their ads to particular languages, countries and even regions. Thus, a restaurant owner in Manhattan can make sure that only surfers from New York will be exposed to his ad so that it won't be "wasted" on irrelevant observers from remote locations.

The relevancy issue is critical, since the advertising program is based on Pay Per Click principle (PPC). With Adwords and Adsense, advertisers purchase particular keywords. When someone searches these keywords, they will receive these ads along with the regular search results. Advertisers pay Google only if the user clicks on these ads is transferred to the advertiser's website.

This advertising program implements some of the basic rules of search engine optimization (SEO) - a website must be displayed on the first page of results for search engines, and as high as possible. Websites that are not able to land on the first page (whether because they have only just been launched or for other reasons), can take a shortcut and get to the first page as a text ad. In addition, the ad must be relevant to the search request. The basic assumption is that if the more relevant advertising is, the more it looks like content to the user in every respect.

The system allows advertisers to set a maximum price for each keyword (the higher the price the bigger the chances that their ad will be posted above the ads of competing websites), but it also allows them to limit the monthly payment amount. If advertising is goes well, receiving a high click-through rate, the advertisers might find out that they must pay much more than they intended. On the other hand, the advertisers do not undertake to Google on advertising for long periods, and they can stop advertising at any time.

Tip: A good textual ad should be based on specific keywords as much as possible. If you're the proud owner of a shoe store in New York, a textual ad  in the search results for “shopping” will result in less targeted audience for your site than an ad "glued " to the keywords "shoes + New York ".
Tags: adsense, advertising, adwords, google, marketing
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