According to ClickZ, Google's been running geo-targeted contextual RSS ads for months, unbeknownst to just about everyone.
Google has quietly been running geo-targeted contextual ads in RSS feeds for several months, but many advertisers, agencies, and analysts contacted by ClickZ were surprised to learn about the placements....
"AdSense for feeds is part of the Google content network, so if an advertiser's campaign is opted into the content network, their ads are eligible to show in feeds," Shuman Ghosemajumder, business product manager at Google, told ClickZ News. Ghosemajumder notes that the geo-targeting has been part of the AdSense for feeds distribution since its launch.
There's a lot to talk about here. The geo-targeting aspect is huge, naturally, as it applies not only RSS feeds viewed on the PC, but also those on mobile devices. (The old pipe dream of receiving a timely offer from the Starbucks around the corner is soon to be a reality, I guess.)
But I'm more entranced with the whole advertising in feeds aspect in general. I think it's a cool concept...and even the most devout, old school blogger has to recognize that the feeding frenzy could not stay free forever. For years, since marketers first picked up on blogs, there's been talk about "monitizing" them. This is certainly a lot more exciting to a geeky marketer like me than AdWords or affiliate links.
But adoption of RSS ads by consumers is relatively low right now. Not surprising. The average consumer is just waking up to blogs, and they have no idea what an RSS feed is. Yet.
In fact, I'll bet the vast majority of advertisers aren't aware of the value of blogs and RSS as marketing tools yet. Debbie Weil ran a survey back in January that confirmed this...perhaps she'll do another and compare the two? Debbie???
According to (Jennifer) Slegg, ROI will determine whether they approve or disapprove of their ads being shown on RSS feeds. "From a publisher perspective, CTR is extremely low with RSS ads, so I would be surprised if any advertiser is receiving a significant amount of traffic from RSS, except for cases of high traffic blogs that have been site targeted by an advertiser," she said. "From an advertiser perspective, there hasn't been much buzz about RSS ads at all, either geo-targeted or otherwise. RSS ads are easily trackable in logs, so advertisers can track any clicks coming through RSS ads to determine ROI."
But kudos to Google for running the ads. I'd love to see how they're doing. I'd love to see more of them. You'll be hearing more on the topic from me and the rest of the DigitalGrit team, for sure.