Not a day goes by when we're not faced with the gloom of the economy in general, and online business is no different. While advertising is here to stay as a revenue model for many publishers, they face shrinking CPMs and an ever-growing need for advertisers to show robust ROI for their advertising campaigns.
But, targeting techniques have not improved much since the last recession. The industry has failed to update the technology to a level worthy of the massive, growing, internet advertising market. Publishers are feeling the need to get very creative in deriving as much revenue as possible from their inventory, and need an edge in order to thrive in the new economic reality.
It's going to be an uphill battle because every publisher faces certain limitations. No matter how big a player they are, publishers have a defined set of URLs that are categorized according to content and advertising. The publisher decides what ads fit on which page categories, and loads various articles of similar topic onto that page.
But content is a complex, shifting thing.
No two web pages are the same in meaning. Despite this, however, they are often posted to the same URL category, because a more granular level of inventory is too complicated to manage. That's why a URL categorized for technology articles will have a story about software but ads for cellular phones. Most likely, that means advertising funds were spent ineffectively, and a publisher is showing a poor click-through rate.
The next problem is related to the frequently confusing nature of keywords. Contextual advertising systems, which are an industry mainstay, use keywords contained in content to trigger the placement of certain ads on a page. But when one keyword means two different things, or occurs in an unintended context, advertising money goes down the drain. That's why the Hilton Hotel in Paris would hypothetically pay for ads sent to pages about Paris Hilton. Examples abound -- just do a keyword search (there's irony for you) for "contextual advertising mistakes" or a variant thereof. Again, such advertising is unlikely to result in a click-through.
Semantics: the future of web monetizationThere is a new level of utility and interactivity coming to the net, largely based on semantics, machine learning, and natural language processing. The business engine behind these developments is semantic advertising technology. Its purpose is to understand web page content so that ads can be attached to the most relevant articles. Using developments in natural language processing and machine learning, semantic advertising algorithms go beyond the simple use of keywords by analyzing various words on a page to establish meaning. The upshot here is that publishers now have a much more effective way to target their advertising, enhance ROI advertisers, and make more money. Semantic advertising enables three important abilities that can potentially save a lot of online publishers from gloom and doom:
Semantic advertising technology is real and exists today. Real world results with top-tier online publishers have racked up impressive increases of various metrics such as click-through rates, target category impression delivery, category lift, and growth in sellable advertising channels. It also enables savvy publishers and advertisers to prosper even during challenging times, and is poised to become the new standard in online content monetization and advertising.
Amiad Solomon is the founder and CEO of Peer39.
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Peer39's technology looks truly state of the art to me. The fact that they're combining numeric-based technology (machine learning) and symbolic-based technique such as natural language have something to say about what they're doing, because these 2 non-compatible domains are quite difficult to combine into one single framework. You can use or adopt them both in an application, but they're not working as one framework. They're still 2 different methods working together in one application. There is progress in its development and it will continue to improve over time and there is no doubt that Peer39 is right into its development at the moment.
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