Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

Behavioural advertising should reward niche sites

Google’s announcement that it is finally jumping into behavioural advertising or what it is calling “interested based” advertising is going to be a revolution.

Well, it will be for big, mainstream sites. Your big portals will now be able to serve up content that is just as relevant to reader’s interests as your niche portals, which to date have tended to receive higher CPMs than general portals. General portals should be able to significantly lift their CPMs and advertising returns because they will be able to serve up far more relevant content to their users.

However, I can’t see how this isn’t going to suck for niche content providers. So let’s take my 1Eyedeel.com blog. At the moment, if you’re interested in reaching Parramatta Eels fans then there are only a couple of sites on the web where you can go to advertise to reach those people. Mine is one of them. So there is a pretty good chance if there is an advertiser out there who is of interest to one of my readers, they’re going to see the ad on my site and click through on my site. I’m therefore rewarded for delivering that niche content to that user.

However, if Google learns that my reader is interested in the Parramatta Eels and then everytime that user visits one of the big portals where they are likely to spend more of their time, chances are their going to see that content elsewhere first so by the time they get to my site, they’re far less likely to click through on the ad. I get zero reward for that.

What I think Google needs to do to make that equitable is to also reward the sites that the user visits to make the decision as to what ad it should show. So when my user visits bigportal.com and based on the fact they previously went to http://www.1eyedeel.com they serve an ad which gets clicked on, then I should get a cut of that revenue. We all win then. Big portal gets a higher CPM, I get many additional revenue opportunity, the user gets more relevant ads and of course Google should increase their revenues. It would also encourage far more sites to become adsense users because you could get revenue without even having ads on your site.

However, without rewarding the sites that help you build that profile, it simply encourages page whoring. The Internet will become more-and-more sensationalised with the only thing mattering is page views and not the niche value of your content.

I realise there are issues. Of course, it is likely that a Parramatta Eels fan will visit more than one Eels fan site, but it wouldn’t be that difficult for Google’s big computers to divvy up the spoils fairly. Behavioural advertising is going to be a boon to online companies but please Google make sure, everyone is fairly rewarded.

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Filed under: Google

3 Responses

  1. Caitlin says:

    Failing that, is there any way you as the site owner can put some sort of technical block in place so it doesn’t relay the information about your visitors to subsequent sites?

    More to the point, in terms of the privacy issue, is there anyway that individual web users can do that? I don’t want ads following me around the internet based on where I’ve been. In real life, that would be called stalking.

  2. Phil Sim says:

    Hi Caitlin, yes apparently you will be able do so as a user not sure what you can do as a website owner, though.

  3. John Graves says:

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