Google's Invite Media Buy Could Change the Paid Search Landscape

Seems the happy ending desired for Google searchers is an ad-appropriate-laden information result.

Wednesday, Google bought Invite Media, a behavioral targeted ad server company. When combined with DoubleClick, this platform can offer a bidding system for ad space to specific demographics and behavior types.

This will take their retargeting efforts to the next level for both banner and text ads. Soon we should see an added ability to target advertising and bid according to more granular information than the content on the page or the search query. We'll be able to bid in nanoseconds on the individual visitor based on previous online behavior, age, location, income brackets, and spending patterns.

The application, if combined with stored Google Analytics information, would change the paid search landscape in a major way (and also makes the pre-emptive option of opting out of Google Analytics an interesting counter to privacy issues).

Campaigns could be set up based more on the prospective visitor than the keyword. Quality scores could become much more granular. Ads and landing pages would need to include the visitor specifics based on previous online behavior.

The Invite Media technology will develop new methodologies for all online adverting. But the ability to use aggregated previous behavior at an individual level allows analytics the chance to track conversion to behavior types and then, when a visitor displaying those behaviors arrives, bid higher and meet them with the appropriate ad and the most successful follow up conversion method.

How deeply this will be allowed has yet to be determined, though the FTC is already considering strengthening protections for collection of data from children. Meanwhile, privacy issues overseas has been throwing up roadblocks to Google and may limit where this can be done.

Google acquisitions over the past few years have been met with criticism from both the international public sector and global private sector. The company's mission "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful" needs to append "and sell advertising through it."

Page and Brin's engine -- initially called Backrub -- has always had the goal of giving its user the best possible end result, and that includes the most appropriate ads to supplement the organic search results or the content on the page. Using behavioral targeting means my advertising at least won't seem like an infomercial. Now that's a happy ending I can enjoy.

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About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.