Media Week

A small ad that speaks volumes

April 29, 2010, Jodi Harris (Media Week) — See how a keyword-centric ad unit provides a precise way to target interested consumers while providing content that won't interrupt their experience.

On the spectrum of awareness to purchase, digital marketing strategies generally fall squarely on one side of the equation or the other. There's the "push" side, where ads are delivered to increase awareness of a product or service, and there's the "pull" side, where advertisers hope to draw in consumers who are already actively searching for products that they offer.

However, if an internet user has never heard of your product or service, they are less likely to come across it, even if it's the best solution for their needs. This fundamental shortcoming of the search advertising industry has left marketers scrambling for ways to help consumers navigate the web based on what they need, rather than what they know.

Vibrant Media, a leader in the in-text advertising space, offered a more flexible alternative to traditional search marketing during a presentation at ad:tech San Francisco. The company's In-Text Advertising solution -- where an embedded, hyperlinked keyword triggers a user's access to a targeted ad unit -- enables marketers to enhance and augment their display advertising strategies. In-Text Advertising also helps advertisers become synonymous with the words that describe their products and define their brand.

According to a University of Hamburg 2008 study by Weinreich and Oberdorf, link-following is the most common navigation action, accounting for about 45 percent of all page transitions. By using next-generation hyperlinks, brands can align their messages with quality web content and deliver more relevant, useful information, such as music, search results, local information, articles, whitepapers, recipes, games, videos, and more.

Presenter James Piper, SVP of sales and general manager, West, for Vibrant, described In-Text Advertising as a discovery model that has some characteristics of display. Video and rich media -- its two strong points -- lie primarily on the branding side of the marketing equation. But In-Text Ads also provide opportunities to precisely target keywords, while still providing content that doesn't interrupt the user experience.

"If you are going to engage with users while they read content, you need to respect the process of users initiating the ad," Piper said. "To achieve the most relevance in terms of engagement, you need to find content that is informative, useful, and entertaining, so they will discover it while reading content."

Piper also discussed some of the benefits of leveraging In-Text Advertising as a syndication channel, as demonstrated by the BIEB (Because it's Everybody's Business) campaign created for Microsoft:

  • Positive user experiences. User-initiated ad units allow users to learn more about technologies, products, or services on their own terms.
  • Engaging content. Each unit can offer useful, educational, entertaining, and informative whitepapers, videos, editorial articles, rich media applications, and more.
  • Big impact on branding. Six custom ad executions displayed key aspects of the BIEB campaign.
  • Precise relevancy. Six custom keyword lists ensured contextual relevancy between the world that hooked the ad message and the webpage context.
  • The BIEB campaign averaged a CTR of 4.14 percent.

Piper shared a powerful testimonial for In-Text Advertising that was offered by Kevin Hartbarger, partner and group planning director at Mediaedge:cia.

"The web is about connecting with audiences through content, and Vibrant offers a great model to facilitate these connections. The team here saw a great opportunity to use Vibrant's In-Text unit to allow consumers to instantly discover relevant local search results on their own terms."

About Vibrant
Vibrant is a world leader in contextual technology aligning billions of words across the internet with relevant video, information, tools, and advertising. With over 4,000 premium publishers, reaching more than 170 million unique users per month (comScore, January, 2010), Vibrant gives top brand marketers the opportunity to deliver highly targeted advertisements within premium Web content and offers publishers premium editorial tools to re-circulate users throughout their websites. Vibrant works with top brand advertisers such as Microsoft, Unilever, Warner Bros and AT&T. The company was founded in 2000 and has offices in London, New York, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, Hamburg, Munich and Dusseldorf. Vibrant's rapid growth has been recognized by the Inc. 500 and Deloitte Fast 50 lists.For more information, visit: or

*comScore January 2010