Google’s Content Targeting Advertising is a deceptively simple and yet brilliantly effective method of advertising. Marketed under the moniker Google AdSense, it is a way of presenting potentially-interesting advertisements to users in a relatively unobtrusive manner. It answers some key problems to advertising on the Internet, which will be discussed below.
Saturation, context, and marketing
As you may well know, the Internet is an open marketplace where anyone can advertise their products or services. This is great, since your ads can reach all across the world, barring any Web content restrictions per country, but that is another story. So you can scream your message across the world, and that is good.
The bad news is that there are so many others screaming their proverbial lungs out in the name of marketing. This phenomenon is called Internet saturation, where there is so much stuff online that it becomes difficult to look for what you actually want or need. Search engines were devised to alleviate this problem, and search engines have come a long way.
The best search engines do not just look for the keywords you type in, they also look at the context of the keywords, such as the type of website, other words surrounding it, et cetera. There are many algorithmic elements to search engines, and more than a few are held as trade secrets. Marketing on the Internet does not just have potential, it is a full-blown industry.
So how does Google’s Content Targeting Advertising work? Google AdSense is implemented via several small boxes in a row or column on any side of the webpage. These boxes have links and short descriptions, advertising websites and their products and services. The next question is how Google AdSense chooses which among its marketing customers’ ads to display for each user.
While certain elements of the algorithm may be hidden from the public, it is known that the words on the webpage being viewed affect the Google AdSense results. On a webpage where bicycling is the main topic, the ads would be along the lines of bicycles, bicycle parts, bicycle lessons, and so on. AdSense does not return strictly items directly related to the webpage material, but also relevant links.
Of course, this could pull up some rather unusual results as well. Putting the words “monkey” and “feet” in the text content, even if they are used in the figurative sense, could end up pulling ads for monkey costumes, foot care products, and even monkey feet. AdSense results are mostly accurate to the material though.
Lastly, Google’s Content Targeting Advertising can make money for different people. A company wanting to advertise will pay Google to get a spot in the line-up. A web page owner gets money by putting these ad banners on his or her website, and gets paid according to traffic. Google makes a profit after paying off the people who put up their ads on their sites. Customers who buy the advertised products in turn make money for the advertised companies. In the end, this is capitalism, plain and simple.