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Kanoodle Joins Contextual Advertising Fray

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Kanoodle has joined the competition between Overture and Google for distributed search marketing dollars, launching a content-targeted sponsored links program.

The new program, ContextTarget, is currently the only available sponsored links product built solely for content targeting, rather than being driven by keyword matching.

Contextual ads appear on web pages based on the context or topic of the page. For example, if you are visiting a web page that discusses clinical depression, the contextual ads displayed on that particular web page would be related to mental illness and depression. Thus, you might see ads from pharmaceutical companies, medical information sites, and treatment centers for mental illness.

"While they are currently sold through the same channels, contextual and search advertising present advertisers with an inherently different value proposition," said Josh Stylman, Managing Partner at Reprise Media. "To optimize the effectiveness of contextual campaigns, marketers must possess the ability to control bids, offer separate messaging and have simple turnkey tracking that is partitioned off from their search campaigns. "

What makes Kanoodle's ContextTarget program unique is that advertisers can choose where they want their ads to appear by selecting specific categories. Currently, Overture and AdSense do not allow that level of control.

"Rather than relying on a dynamic page scan of content pages to determine the appropriate ad based on a key word, ContextTarget maps the content page to a taxonomy of broader subject categories within content sites (i.e., publishers), so that ads appear by subject," said Jillmarie J. Giardina, Kanoodle's Director of Marketing.

"An advertiser chooses one or more categories and enters a bid for placement on pages under each," she continued. "This ensures only relevant ads appear on content pages."

Additionally, partners can block competitors' ads from appearing on their site. The partner company can block by URL and by category.

"Kanoodle.com also allows publishers to determine their own categories," Giardina further explained. "For example, if AOL wants to block other ISPs or another publisher wants to block 'Financial News Providers,' the company can effectively block these categories. All of Kanoodle.com's ads are checked for relevancy and for inclusion in a forbidden category."

Kanoodle ContextTarget program allows advertisers to:

  • Bid distinctly on their contextual ads
  • Pause ContextTarget listings independently of keyword listings
  • Write ads specific to the contextual environment
  • Schedule ContextTarget listings to automatically go live or dead at specific times, with no need for manual adjustment.

"Kanoodle's new ContextTarget offering is the only major program that allows that level of control," said Stylman. "While we have had some success stories with the Google and Overture's programs, it is disappointing that they are still falling short in meeting the needs of their advertisers."

Like AdSense and Overture, Kanoodle.com does have required minimum pricing. For keyword-targeted sponsored links, the minimum price is 5 cents per click. Currently, contextual ads have a minimum price of 50 cents per click for the finance vertical. The minimum pricing for other categories will not necessarily be 50 cents.

For publishers, ContextTarget allows a greater level of relevancy, while guaranteeing that no inappropriate or illegal ads run on their editorial pages.

"ContextTarget is the only product in the space that is independent from keyword search advertising, so advertisers can plan, buy, measure and optimize their content buys separately from their search buys," said Lance Podell, president of Kanoodle.com's Content Division.

Kanoodle.com's contextual ads appear in CBS Marketwatch.com. "The focus of our online business is the publishing of real-time business news content, and we believe that our editorial pages require a unique solution rather than an extension of a keyword search," said Bill Bishop, executive vice president and general manager of MarketWatch.com.

Kanoodle expects to add more sites into their contextual ad network shortly.

Related articles:

Integrating Kanoodle.com's Contextual Listings Into Your website
http://www.kanoodle.com/about/context_guidelines.cool

Search Engine Contextual Ads Gain Momentum
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3292321

Day of Reckoning in Search Engine Advertising
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3298961

Shari Thurow is the Marketing Director at Grantastic Designs, Inc. and the author of the book Search Engine Visibility. She has been designing and promoting web sites since 1995 for businesses in a wide range of fields.

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