Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ads in Adobe PDF Documents Inserted by Yahoo

By now, everyone (well, nearly everyone!) is all familiar with what Google has done to online contextual advertising--search, maps, GMail, etc. As we do more things online, it is just a matter of time that every interactions on the web will be facing potential onslaught of contextual advertising. So, here's the latest: Advertisements contextually inserted into PDF documents created on the Adobe website. According to an article in The Advertising Age:
The service with a mouthful of a name -- it's called "Ads for Adobe PDF Powered by Yahoo" -- targets the growing stable of publishers focused on online formats, many of whom are moving to web-only models. Under the program, which is in test mode, publishers can insert contextual text-based ads within Adobe's Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat brands.
The benefits are obvious. Again as summarized in the article...
For publishers, the program may be an additional source of revenue, potentially offering readers more free content. Advertisers, meanwhile, can tap into a new type of content and will have the ability to track advertising performance the same way they do with web-placed ads.
According to Adobe's press release, the process works as follows:

To join the program, publishers must register online, and then simply upload their Adobe PDF content so that it can be ad-enabled before distributing PDFs as they do today. Ads can only be displayed within Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat, in a panel adjacent to the content so that they do not disrupt the viewing experience. Every time the PDF content is viewed, contextual ads are dynamically matched to the content of the document. The publisher can then monitor performance through detailed reports. Publishers already committed to participating in the Ads for Adobe PDF Powered by Yahoo! beta program include: IDG InfoWorld, Wired, Pearson’s Education, Meredith Corporation, Reed Elsevier and many more.

“Since moving to a Web-only format earlier this year, we at InfoWorld have been able to apply a laser focus to cutting-edge solutions for the electronic distribution of our content,” said Allen Fear, director of Online Content at InfoWorld. “The unique combination of Adobe PDF and Yahoo! ads presents a new way of generating revenue from many of our existing products. We are excited about the opportunity to work with Adobe and Yahoo! on what we believe is a solution that significantly enhances the value of PDF distribution.”

I find this interesting as it is another example of business ecosystem in formation with Google and Yahoo offering alternative advertising platforms. In the case of Yahoo, this particular initiative is an attempt at expanding its advertising platform scope by joining together with a document platform architect, Adobe. Will this initiative attract massive network effects? The marketplace will judge whether this offering is compelling enough to compete effectively against Google. Welcome to the content network!

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