Last week I sent myself an email to generate a Google text ad. As any Gmail user knows, Google serves ads based on the text content of your email. So corresponding back and forth with a good friend of mine whose wedding I will be attending in Peru next month results in several offers for Peru travel advisors. Those ads are relevant, so I am likely to click on them. Of course, the saavier among you is probably reading this thinking it’s not so different from text ads on any search engine. After all, if I typed in "lima, peru" into any search engine, I would get lots of ads. The problem is intent. When I am just learning about Lima, all I want is background information. At the point when I am ready to purchase, I want to see offers. Keyword advertisers are getting smarter about targeting intent, but it sometimes seems like banner ads are getting left behind.
Often they are still purchased based on the demographics of a site overall and simply served in random order. Most would agree this doesn’t work. But think about how a printed copy of the yellow pages works. These are essentially filled with banner ads and organized by category. What if there was a site where banner ads were organized the same way? As a consumer I could enter by region, category or even individual product. Going to the site would give me a list of banners with the current promotional offer that the vendor has on right now for whatever I am seeking. The ads, in effect, could be generated by page based on a user’s search terms. This is consumer generated advertising – but where they are calling up the ads that they want to see rather than creating ads themselves. Thinking even more broadly – what if you could also call up television ads from an archive to watch based on what you were interested in buying? Would someone in the market for laundry detergent watch three ads back to back from three different companies before making a decision? Maybe not. But if I’m looking for a hotel in Lima, or a new car, or a digital camera, or a new kitchen appliance … you bet I would.