Google announced that AdSense (the AdWords content network) now supports the use of third-party ad serving techniques and technologies. I am not sure if most publishers understand the significance of this. Many large companies would not even think about placing an ad on a publisher's site without being able to track the results of those ads (impressions and clicks) through a third-party ad serving intermediary. Got that?
What this now brings to AdSense are major agencies and advertisers with large budgets, who are now more willing to dip their ad budgets in Google's content network. More advertisers with bigger budgets means more money for AdSense publishers.
There are a few requirements for these ads to show up on AdSense publishers sites.
(1) You must opt into image ads (2) Enable advertisers to target your AdSense channels (3) Opt into placement targeting
If you have all three, then you can now enable advertisers to place these ads on your site.
Will the ads look different? Yes, they shockingly won't contain the 'Ads by Google' text near the ad. Even more of a reason for larger advertisers to use the Google content network.
Will the ads act differently? Yes, they will open in a new window as opposed to staying in the same window.
Which third party tracking vendors are certified?
(A) North America: Ad servers include DoubleClick DFA and Mediaplex/ValueClick (B) North America: Rich media include DoubleClick Rich Media, Eyeblaster, EyeWonder, Interpolls, Pointroll, and Unicast. (C) North America: Research include Dynamic Logic/Safecount, Factor TG, IAG, and InsightExpress.
Can you block these ads? Many you can by using the competitive ad filter, but the third-party Flash ads you cannot block without contacting Google.
Here are three videos from Google on 3rd-party ad serving to help explain it better. It is a three part series by one of our favorite Google personalities, Maile: