Just recently, Google announced a little beta tweak into their ad system, allowing for interest-based advertising to take place in their ad units. By interest, they mean data that’s based on our browsing history, much similar to how GMail shows ads based on keywords that appear in our inbox. Whether we’ve reached another argument on privacy issues is one thing. What I find more interesting is its application into “feedvertising.”
We believe there is real value to seeing ads about the things that interest you. If, for example, you love adventure travel and therefore visit adventure travel sites, Google could show you more ads for activities like hiking trips to Patagonia or African safaris. While interest-based advertising can infer your interest in adventure travel from the websites you visit, you can also choose your favorite categories, or tell us which categories you don’t want to see ads for. Interest-based advertising also helps advertisers tailor ads for you based on your previous interactions with them, such as visits to their websites. So if you visit an online sports store, you may later be shown ads on other websites offering you a discount on running shoes during that store’s upcoming sale.
Google argues well with the “stickiness” of more relevant advertising, and who is to complain with all things taken into account? However I do think that this meddles with the logic of why bloggers, especially network bloggers do stick to niches of interest: to get relevant advertising alongside content.
There’s a huge difference though in the browsing philosophy in seeing ads pop up on feeds. As opposed to active browsing where a reader is engaged in looking for content, pulling feeds into feed readers is more of a passive endeavor. In fact, your readers may not even read the feeds up till several hours later. Ads that pull from your browsing history make more sense in this case, as it doesn’t take into account a “moment” of engagement as much as actively clicking on links on your browser.