Real-time ads for real-time news

By Steve Outing

My latest Editor & Publisher Online column has been published: “Real-time, Relevant Ads Matched With Real-time News? What a Concept!.”

This is a really interesting topic, as we’re closing in on being able to match ads in real time contextually with news events as they quickly grow popular. I interview the CEO of OneRiot, a Boulder social-search company working on this model.

Right now, news happens fast, but ads that complement news can’t be efficiently added to accompany fast-breaking, going-viral news. Get the two in sync and you have the potential for effective, high-CPM ads sold in large quantities.

Example: Tornado rips through a Dallas neighborhood, resulting in a flood of traffic to local news website. Instead of showing all those Internet visitors cheap remnant ads, site utilizes technology to match the story with relevant ads, such as contractors, builders, window replacement providers, plumbers, insurance companies, home clean-up crews, disaster relief, hotels, etc.

This isn’t an easy problem to solve, because it will take advertisers a while to alter how they operate and provide feeds of ads that can be used to match news as it happens. And of course, not every breaking news event represents appropriate contextual ad opportunities. But this is coming, and I think it could be an important growth agent for online advertising for the news industry.

As a journalist trained way back in the 1970s, it’s amusing to compare how today the online the goal is to match content and editorial for financial gain. In my early days as a newspaper copy editor, part of my job was to make sure that didn’t happen — e.g., keep the United Airlines display ad off the page about the plane crash.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!

One Response to "Real-time ads for real-time news"

  1. Charles Batchelor
    Charles Batchelor 8 years ago .Reply

    It has been tried. I worked on a project with Associated Press called AddContext. We developed a taxonomic filter for the news and created links that fed off the news as it happened.

    Tried it across the AP feed over several hundred daily newspaper. What we learned here (and others have had similar experiences) is that

    1) There is not a heck of a lot to sell in relation to most news, especially local news.

    2) People looking at the news are not looking for “more information” for the most part. If you are searching on Google, you are searching. If you’re reading the news, you are not likely searching. Click rate is lame.

    Finally, we didn’t have this problem, but Google and Yahoo now have this in hand. Anyone interested should dive deep into the expanding filters and targeting abilities of these service providers. If you think this is a worthwhile market (it’s not, BTW) you can set it up today via these services.

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