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Facebook, Google driving to develop standardized ads and delivery methods

Maybe one of the things that’s keeping online newspaper sites from hitching their wagon onto the online advertising gravy train is our failure to develop and standardize online advertising formats. Sure, we’ve done it (somewhat) with our leaderboards (hate that name) and buttons and tiles and big boxes, but these are all simple display ads and I have a feeling we’re behind the curve on this. Look at what some of the big players in the online ad business are doing….Googleopen

It’s a little geeky (Okay, a LOT geeky) but Google’s Open Social marks a significant step forward for social networks and the folks desperately seeking to monetize them — and not surprisingly it marks yet another challenge to the static ad delivery model featured on most online newspaper sites.
Open Social will allow developers of ‘widgets’ (mini applications that sit on a web page) the chance to develop a widget once that works across a broad range of social networking and blogging sites. Since most widgets are driven by advertising or marketing (or at least hope to be) this step by Google has to be seen as benefiting advertisers and agencies seeking to reach that deep, rich and active pool of internet users who hang out (for long periods of time – as much as 4 x as many hours per month as newspaper web site readers) on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.
Facebook is not part of the Google consortium (remember Microsoft’s ad deal with Facebook?) but this week they too are announcing the creation of ad standards – which will open the door to whole new ways of reaching their users and their user’s data.
There’s a useful explanation of what’s going on over at the Lightspeed blog. (Lightspeed is a tech venture capital company). As I watch our WebU students wrestle with online ads and how to sell them, this point about the need for standards resonated.

New forms of advertising are hard. Before the ad market can really grow rapidly, there needs to be a standard for advertising across the social networking industry.
When such standards exist, ad salespeople only negotiate price. When
they do not, they also have to explain and negotiate the ad unit
itself. That means that you’re doing business development, not ad
sales, and making each ad campaign custom simply isn’t scalable.

Or maybe this is all just too far removed from what we do and sell. Wish I knew.
Bill Dunphy


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