I have had quite spotty internet access the past few days, otherwise I would have gotten this information up sooner. This is some of the highlights from one of the first sessions from yesterday. I will get the rest of the sessions up, the ones Barry didn't attend hopefully later today, or the next few days. Overall the conference has been excellent, its been quite a packed house especially today. Meeting Barry finally was also a highlight, great to put a face to a name.
Contextual advertising is taking off. The speakers of this session dealt with the issues of contextual advertising to a targeted audience, the success in doing so, the challenges faced, and overall the goals that advertisers should consider in the new contextual ad marketplace.
Overture - Paul Volen of Overture was the first speaker, and while he gave a good presentation, I felt it left off the specifics of why contextual advertising would be useful in the first place. It felt more like a sales presentation. Other speakers addressed this topic, but Paul went over the benefits of content matching in using Overture. Basically the Overture technology through quality mappings and editorial results places listings in highly relevant content pages.
Google - The next speaker was Google, and Tim Armstrong emphasized that Google is a highly scalable and large network of contextual advertising, that reaches more than 80% of internet users. Very impressive, the reach of this technology seems almost ready to reach its full potential. Google has also taken precautions to prevent such keyword problems such as knowing the difference between location Java and the Java the coffee drink.
Kanoodle - Lance Podell, presented the Kanoodle technology, and they call themselves the "sponsored links innovator", while I am not to knowledgeable about the Kanoodle company as a whole there presentation did look very promising, and I would recommend serious context ads advertisers to check them out. The boost several specialized tools the other engines didn't have. But I couldn't help but wonder who their "premier" partners where and where the ads appeared in the beta of the "premier" distribution.
Case Studies - By far Brad Byrd of NewGate, gave the best presentation. I learned more in this session than all them combined. Brad did know his stuff, and was very knowledgeable about the market and nature of contextual ads. He presented case studies from several clients of his company, and the stats from large campaigns of both natural search listings, and listing on related content pages. His finding where interesting, which I will summarize here.