Yahoo! Contextual Advertisements in Print Publications

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Is the print advertising world ready for contextual ads in magazines and newspapers?

A new Yahoo! patent application explores a process which allows the matching of concepts in articles for print, and advertisements to show up beside them:

[0013] According to one embodiment of the invention, advertisements are automatically matched with to-be-published written materials, such as articles, based at least in part on the concepts to which the advertisements and the written materials pertain. As used herein, the word “concept” refers to topics, ideas, subjects, phrases, etc. The concepts to which the advertisements and the written materials pertain are automatically determined so that no human intervention is required.

The overview section of the patent application tells us that this determination happens without human intervention, but the more detailed description provides one version where the publisher is given a choice of advertisements to show that are contextually related to pages, and choses amongst them.

A publisher could also determine how much flexibility there might be in different parts of a publication for advertisements to match broadly or narrowly the concepts found upon articles in the publication.

An electronic interface, accessible through the Web would enable both advertisers and publishers to participate in this advertising process.

Enabling contextually placed ads in print media
Invented by Reiner Kraft
US Patent Application 20070083429
Published April 12, 2007
Filed October 11, 2005


Techniques for matching advertisements to articles are provided.

According to one aspect, advertisements are automatically matched with to-be-published articles based at least in part on the concepts to which the advertisements and the articles pertain. The concepts to which the advertisements and the articles pertain are automatically determined so that no human intervention is required.

The matching advertisements and articles are placed proximately to each other in a printed publication. As a result, when the articles are published, advertisements that relate to at least some of the concepts to which the articles pertain are seen next to those articles.

This contextual advertisement positioning increases readers’ interest in the advertisements, and helps to promote revenues for both advertisers and publishers.

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9 thoughts on “Yahoo! Contextual Advertisements in Print Publications”

  1. Hi David,

    Some aspects like that are addressed in the patent filing. Here’s a section that deals with zip codes:

    [0036] In one embodiment of the invention, at the time that a publisher establishes an account with the service provider, the publisher submits, to the service provider, the names of the publications that the publisher publishes, and the regions in which each of those publications are distributed.

    The regions may be indicated by zip code, for example. Along with each publication, the publisher may indicate a description of the target audience for that publication, the estimated readership of the publication, and/or other relevant publication information.

    For each publication, the service provider maintains an association between that publication, the regions to which that publication is distributed, and the other descriptive publisher-submitted information. These associations serve as the basis for determining lists of publications that the service provider sends to advertisers, as described above.

    So advertisers could do some targeting of their advertisements to match information that advertisers provide into this system such as zip code, and possibly other information.

  2. This is quite interesting. Was there anything about a local element like the zip code the print media was delivered or intended to be sold?

  3. This seems more aimed at garnering news publicity than much else, unless the system will be specifically targeting words and automatically modify the layout accordingly.
    Consider your local paper’s home improvement section. Notice that real estate agents are advertising there? Look at the sports section. The sporting goods store is telling you about its equipment for this season’s fun and games. Contextual advertising has existed for a while in print. I can only see this changing the game somehow if it is used across a broad slew of papers (like the content network) so that each ad can target its keyphrases.

    And the question becomes if the layout can still look good, and whether the ads will still be looked at (most people will ignore classified ads style ads next to their sports story in the morning paper…)

    By the way, I’ve long enjoyed your academic take on SEO, covering the patent filings. Keep up the good work!
    BK SEO

  4. Thanks BK (Google Critic),

    I know what you mean. Newspapers and magazines do often try to arrange some sections of their papers with advertisements that match the articles. The layout is usually arranged after deciding which ads to display.

    This wouldn’t “automatically” arrange a layout for them. But it might provide them with a wider pool of ads of different sizes that they could display that might be pretty relevant to concepts expressed in the articles (they would have a choice between “very” relevant, “somewhat” relevant, and non relevant ads, as they see fit).

    It would also allow for more possible opportunities for advertisers, and more competition between advertisers – perhaps yielding more profits for publishers. If so, there might be some value in the process.

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  6. I recall reading about technology that makes this possible 10 years ago… I’m still waiting to see an animation in a magazine. 😮

  7. Hi Wayne,

    I was more impressed with Google’s patent on creating customized publications and magazines on demand – Google Magazine – About Whatever You Want (Soon at a Kiosk Near You?)

    I’ve seen popup ads in magazines before. Not quite animation, but also not quite expected. 🙂

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