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Contextual Ads, Do They Work?

By Rob Wiley
Posted Wednesday, July 7, 2004

I just read something about how the next big web thing doesn't live up to it's expectations. This next big web thing turns out to be contextual ads. After reading about this, it got me to think... What would I do?? If I was looking for a particular rock for my rock collection, what would I do? How would I go about searching for such an item? And with in my search, would I ever click on a link from a contextual ad? I thought these questions and finding the answer to them would help me make a clearer decision as to "the next big web thing" and if it really is a flop.
Procedures I took in finding the answers goes like this. First I went to Goolge and typed "Jade" into the search field. When the results came back, I was kind of disappointed. Because the word "Jade" is a name that was applied to ornamental stones that were being brought to Europe from China and Central America. I couldn't find any information on the gemstone "Jade" until the third page. When I did find an actual page relevant to the gemstone, it was a description page that described the different properties of Jade. Although I was getting closer to my search to purchasing a piece of Jade for my collection I still found the search rather long. At this point if there was a contextual ad on the page that hinted to a gemstone store featuring Jade, I would click on it. There was no such ad so I cancelled my search and figured I would have better success at Big Sur.

This little experiment told me that contextual ads can work if they are placed in the proper spots. For example, I have Google Adwords on my site. It seems to be working just fine because people come to my site looking for new media professional related material. Goolge will only display websites that have content relevant to what is on my site. I personally don't see how this concept could not work. It might be too soon to judge contextual ads. In time we will see if this "next big web thing" REALLY does live up to it's expectations.

About the Author
Rob Wiley has spent the last 13 years serving the media industry in fields involving graphic design, marketing, website design and development. His experience has been shared with numerous businesses that have profited from his advice and skills.


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