When does it make sense to have an ad included in something you’re reading? If the ad provides access to useful information in context, it probably makes a lot of sense. So the question then becomes how far into information deliverables can this type of model be applied? People have become well used to having ads served up any time they ask for information on-line, and the ads themselves are getting closer to serving the end-user’s need for relevancy, based on improvements in the underlying algorithms. So where can this model be taken? There is a land rush going on right now to get contextual and location specific ads served up to mobile devices, the other area that is probably ripe for the plucking would be product-centric information deliverables.
One of the convenient things about product-centric information is that there is a lot of it, and it comes in a fairly broad range of application frameworks. There is the traditional text-centric documents that are generated as a product is developed (PRDs, MRDs, Functional and Design specifications, etc.), but there are also training materials in the form of PowerPoint presentations, video tutorials, Flash demos, IVR walk-throughs, etc. Any complex product will produce a broad range of information deliverables in it’s wake, and any of these can be targets for relevant ads delivered in context, on the fly. If you’re looking at an archived webinar on router configurations, and there’s a small ad banner that lists router vendors, that is relevant, and unlikely to annoy the end user. This not only provides additional useful information for the end-user, it also provides the manufacturer with an opportunity to monetize what is otherwise idle content.