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When most people think of online advertising, they think of ads that appear within the confines of your web browser - not anymore. Many websites sell advertising space and allow companies to put different types of creative media on their page. These companies typically charge on a CPC (cost-per-click) or CPM (cost-per-thousand-impressions) basis. Most businesses are also familiar with SEM (search engine marketing), commonly called paid search, where priority placement is given in search results to those companies that pay. The more targeted and dynamic a placement can be, the more valuable the advertising space. Facebook has increased its revenue by over 600% in a three year period, mainly because of the advertising network and value of Facebook's user information. The success of advertising campaigns at this level has made advertisers and publishers think very big and the increases in broadband streaming technology has made this very possible...
One of the largest differences between Christmas 2010 and Christmas 2009 is the number of internet capable TV's that are being sold. My new TV can access Pandora Radio and many other free services and stream content directly to the TV. Additionally, capabilities that allow TV's to download content over a broadband connection such as NetFlix and Playstation Network have increased their service offerings and dramatically increased in popularity. Many video games now require an internet connection to download features, play with friends and access new content. The online environment is beginning to offer many more ways to receive your entertainment, which has opened up many exciting new options for advertisers and publishers.
Just like Facebook renders ad content based on your profile and interests, your TV, Playstation, Xbox streaming radio and other "outside the browser" channels of entertainment will now be able to show you ads based on your interests, viewing history and more. Feels a little like Big Brother is watching - doesn't it? Well the market doesn't seem to mind as much as it would seem. The majority of people are willing to trade some level of privacy for "free stuff" and that is just what they are doing. Streaming services are at an all time high, as Hulu has gone from just a funny word to a content delivery powerhouse in just a few years.
Companies are looking for additional ways to make money off this revolution. EA's popular hit video game franchise Madden has added many features in Madden 2010 which can be purchased online right through the video game. They also show display advertisements for Prius during the actual game play. Doritos, Old Spice and others have rich media ads that have actually been incorporated into the game as content. People are paying $60 for the video game, but EA is cashing in on the re-occurring revenue.
Bottom line - People don't seem to care as much about Big Brother watching as one would think. While it is likely that advertising will continue to bring up privacy concerns, it is evident that many people are OK swapping personal info for free entertainment. If you are a business just looking for ways to stay in front of your competition and build your brand strength, you may want to think "beyond the browser"...
Chris Shields is principal owner of Jaroop, an advertising firm focused on creating cost effective advertising solutions for clients and positive consumer experiences for their customers. Chris regularly publishes articles, speaks at conventions and works individually with companies on improving their advertising programs. Chris can be contacted through Jaroop’s website or at 860-357-2060.