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You’re already buying paid search ads. And contextual ads. You’ve even dabbled in local search and maybe even demographics. But are you ready for inline ads? A few companies hope you are.

While Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft duke it out for the bulk of paid search ad dollars, the little guys are innovating. Inline advertising is what it sounds like: contextual ads that appear as inline text links in the middle of a paragraph.
Several companies are pioneering this new form. Vibrant Media has an inline ad offering, as does MIVA, a longtime paid search vendor formed by a merger of eSpotting and FindWhat.
I spoke the other day with Chrysi Philalithes, MIVA’s Vice President of Global Marketing, who is excited about MIVA’s new Monetization Center, which offers a self-serve ad market for inline and other ads. MIVA inline advertising Check out a live example of MIVA inline advertising or just look at the picture to the left.
You’ll see that the word futbol is underscored twice, indicating that MIVA has dynamically chosen that word as a paid link for one of its ad network participants. For the advertiser, inline ads work the same way that contextual ads do—the advertiser bids on a keyword, submits the ad copy, and pays the rate bid for each click.
The difference is on the delivery side. The first step in delivery is the same—the ad network analyzes the text on the page to decide which purchased keywords ought to trigger ads. But the rest of the experience is different. Unlike contextual ads, which are displayed off to the side as the page is displayed, “inline ads are more unobtrusive”, Chrysi says. No more than five inline links are highlighted on a page and the ads are not shown unless the visitor mouses over them.
Time will tell whether inline ads are the next wave in paid search advertising, but with increasing pressure to monetize content, inline ads provide a way to increase the number of ads on the page without removing any content.

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Mike Moran

About Mike Moran

Mike Moran has a unique blend of marketing and technology skills that he applies to raise return on investment for large marketing programs. Mike is a former IBM Distinguished Engineer and a senior strategist at Converseon, a leading social consultancy. Mike is the author of two books on digital marketing, an instructor at several leading universities, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research.

2 replies to this post
  1. I haven’t seen too many inline ads to develop an opinion yet, Kelvin. Proponents say that because you have to mouse over the link to see the ad, that folks who don’t want to see them don’t see them (while contextual ads must be ignored using your “banner blindness” muscles). I tried to find a study about whether people dislike them or not, but I didn’t come across one.

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