Why Contextual Advertising May Not Work For Video

from the square-peg-in-a-round-hole dept

There's been an explosion of interest in online video, not only from the likes of YouTube, but from established media companies, like Disney. Of course, there's always that prickly question of how to go about monetizing it. While some think that consumers will be willing to pay to download shows, some are banking on advertising, which would seem like the best option for the more viral type of online video. One startup, Dave.TV, is hoping to apply Adsense-like contextual advertising to video. For example, using speech recognition, they would insert an ad about computers if computers were being discussed on the video. While contextual advertising works very well in search, it still hasn't been shown to work nearly as well in text (when people are reading where they are, instead of searching to go somewhere else). Taking the same approach in video may be even more problematic. Imagine trying to serve ads for an episode of Lost based on what the characters are talking about. You'd get a bunch of ads for deserted islands. The current system, whereby ads are shown for cars, movies, and future sporting events would probably work a lot better. To understand the problem with contextual advertising in its current form on the web, consider a website for digital photography enthusiasts; text ads for digital cameras aren't likely to work very well since all the readers probably have them. On the other end of the spectrum, contextual ads aren't ideal for general news sites either -- an ad for Burger King isn't likely to play well when you're reading an article about a shooting at said restaurant. While ad-subsidized online content may make a lot of sense, simply trying to apply the same model across different kinds of content is a bad idea.
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  1. identicon
    Busy, 17 Oct 2006 @ 1:06pm

    Don't quite get it

    I see some things here that don't quite make sense to me. 1st, the context of ads isn't decided by the ad itself, but by the keywords assigned to the ads. So you may very well get ads for buying cars, movies, and other sporting events if, for example, an advertiser ties those ads to the charachters names, or other details that will only appear in a discussion of "Lost". The inappropriate ads are partly from the fact that the contextual system isn't perfect, but also from the fact that it's hard to pick the right keywords for your ads.

    Also, The Great Eric mentioned ads for the wrong side of the political spectrum on his blog. Now a common theme of most political blogs I've seen is a tendancy for heated debate, which means that even though the blog writer may be very left, the blog readers span the spectrum. So there are people reading that the ads may very well be relevant for. In fact, you can't click on your own ads anyways, so it really matters even less what you are. (Of course I understand that you might not want to advertise for the other side, in which case you can start blocking sites from showing ads on your site)

    I think this applies to a lot of ads that some people may think are wierd to show up. As Eric said, "tie ads to the user" and you will get the most relevant ads, but until we can do that without infringing on people's sense of privacy (is that even possible?) I'm going to stick with context ads and affiliate programs.

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