Toronto, Ont., -- I just returned from the Search Engine Strategy Conference in New York where I was astonished at how many new pay per click program variations have recently been launched. All of the new players are challenging that they are able to compete against Google and Yahoo in providing you with PPC conversions. The two most notable new entries into the pay per click arena have to be MSN adCenter and Ask Sponsored Listings - formally known to us all as www.askjeeves.com.
I was fortunate enough to attend a session at the Search Strategy conference that Jed Nahum, Director of Product Management, MSN Search spoke at. The panel session was titled “Targeting Search Ads by Demographics & Behavior.” Little did I realize that even though it was a panel on this topic as a whole, the focus of Jed’s presentation was to introduce the new MSN product, adCenter. Apparently, unlike other PPC programs, MSN adCenter provides advertisers the opportunity to expose their business to the correct target audience by demographics.
Using adCenter’s targeting features; you can choose to have your ad displayed to audiences performing searches using your keywords who specifically fit the targeting criteria you choose; such as geographic location, day of week, time of day, gender and age. It is a bit of a mystery to me how they determine male or female gender or age. They did have a disclaimer that not all information regarding gender is 100% correct. In fact the whole program is only in the pilot stage. The MSN adCentre website states, “MSN adCenter is currently in pilot mode and participation in the pilot is by invitation only. If you are interested in participating, register to be considered for the pilot. If you are selected, you will be notified by e-mail to set up your adCenter account.”
The Ask.com model does not have any fancy demographic reporting; in fact it looks just like the big two. What intrigued me about this was the effect it will have on ad placement. On the old www.askjeeves.com site, the sponsored ads were powered by Google. What happens now is the top 3 positions on the new www.ask.com are their own advertisers, with Google results showing below the natural results.
In conclusion, it looks like the pay for performance model is here to stay and there continue to be more choices on where to spend your online advertising dollars.