Saturday, January 15, 2011

Re-Targeting Advertising: Are Online Writers Ready for the Change?

Just when online writers and bloggers who write for revenue share--or depend on adsense income to support their work--thought they had it all figured out, along comes targeted online advertising and search advertising. No longer will ads appear alongside articles based purely on the content of the article, but may also appear differently depending on the reader. New retargeted advertising is designed to track your behavior as a reader, and consumer, and follow you wherever you go on the Internet. With behavioral targeting, the ads you see are those you are most likely to click on. This, of course is great news to advertisers, as it increases their click-through rate and they ultimately reap the reward of higher sales.

How Targeted Advertising Works
For the consumer, targeted advertising means the ads you see are relevant to your shopping and viewing behavior, providing you with the opportunity to view ads that relate to your lifestyle. Although it may be a bit eerie to be followed by that awesome pair of shoes you just viewed, behavioral marketing is designed to follow your interests and provide you with a more enjoyable surfing experience. When you view a site, a cookie-- coded with that information and stored on your computer-- allows the site to participate in behavioral marketing (retargeting advertising) by following you with the hopes of bringing you back to their site for a purchase.

A Wrench in the Formula
For those who rely on income from adsense or other revenue share advertising from blogs or writing site, this may throw a wrench into the formula, as readers may not see ads that relate to the content of the article. For those who customarily target higher paying keywords in the hope of drawing in high paying ads, this spells bad news with a capital B.  Research and careful word placement may be overridden by the readers search history.
Targeted Advertising and Revenue Share
So, what does that mean to online writers who earns a living from the revenue generated from ads? It’s too early to tell for sure, but it seems logical that a shift in focus will occur—one that may be good news for readers and profitable for writers who produce quality work with their reader in mind. For those who are out to make a quick buck, it may make the process a bit more difficult.

A Shift in Focus: Quality Counts
Targeting high paying keywords may lose its effectiveness, particularly for those who try to integrate keywords with a high CPC rate into content that is not focused on the topic. Although Google has always claimed to value quality content and warned against keyword stuffing or attempts to manipulate search engines, it has never been particularly good at enforcing its own “rules”.  It appears this shift in advertising, which Google itself has made available to its adwords customers, may put the focus back where it has always belonged when it comes to online content—quality.

A Shift in Advertising
As advertisers shift from targeting specific keywords and invest their money in behavioral targeting, content that is well written and provides readers with solutions to their everyday problems is likely to earn the lion’s share of revenue. For those who have taken advantage of SEO techniques purely to draw in readers in the hopes they will click ads, it seems their efforts may go unrewarded.

 The Demand for Content
Certainly, this is good news for the reader, as he may be spared choppy keyword-laden text designed to pull in ads. For writers who focus on providing a quality experience for the reader, the change may increase the demand for their work as sites seek out quality writing instead of reams of low-quality content with the specific goal of targeting profitable ads. For those who now make their living writing keyword-heavy articles designed to draw in ads, targeted advertising may be the beginning of the end.

Keep Your Eye on the Horizon
For now, retargeting advertising is just cresting the horizon. The effects it will have on writers and the demand it will create for content are still unknown, but a shift in focus seems likely. Leverage yourself as a writer by striving to improve your craft and producing quality content now, while keeping your eye to the horizon. Targeted advertisement and behavioral marketing is not likely to go away.

* I'd love to hear you thinking about retargeting advertising and how it will change the face of online content. Please leave your comments to share your views with others.

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