Taking Adsense to the smartphone.
If you ask anyone in the tech industry, or just your average geek, about Google's Adsense and how it works, the odds are good that they are going to say something like, "Because Google knows everything". Of course, that isn't exactly true, but it's a fairly adequate short answer.
Google's search algorithms get a whole lot of attention and admiration but somehow, the Adsense Algorithm is often overlooked. That isn't an insult, though. In fact, it simply illustrates how advanced the contextual ad network is. See, if you are going to be putting ads all over the place and you want to have a high click ratio, you need to find a way to make the ads less noticeable. Adwords and Adsense put targeted ads on tons on webpages everyday and most people either don't really notice them or they find them helpful. The algorithm that makes it all possible is actually very advanced and pretty neat too.
The Adsense algorithm mostly works like this:
- When you visit a website that has Google ads, the algorithm tries to determine the page context and show you a related ad. For example, if you visit a website about fishing, the ads might be for sites that sell fishing gear.
- It uses the clickstream data and user account history to determine what the user might be interested in and show an ad that wouldn't ordinarily seem relevant. For example, if I were shopping for sweaters at several website and then visited a fishing gear site, the ad might be for sweaters with fish on them. Sweaters don't seem relevant to fishing sites, but it would make sense contextually.
- Takes basic demographic data to target the ad relevance to the user. For example, it I were looking for good fishing sites in my city, the displayed ads might be for fishing services, boat rental and other related products and services in the local area. Or, if I am logged into my Google account and I have my location set to Washington D.C, and I then search for Italian restaurants, it's likely that the ads will be for local Italian places that deliver.
See, I told you it was pretty neat.
Now, however, Google has raised the bar by changing the way their mobile web search app displays ads and just in time for the holiday season. Now that so many people are using the Internet with a mobile device like a tablet or a smartphone, Google is debuting several new mobile ad formats, including one that is designed especially for the mobile search format.
This is a big deal because now that Adsense is on board, users who create apps for Android or iPhone can place ads inside the app's search features. In addition, they have also come up with a type of ad that will direct users to apps they already have installed on their devices. For example, if I were to do a Google search on my iPhone, looking for blue dresses, I could very possibly see an ad that tells me that I can find loads of blue dresses at the Find. If I clicked the ad, it would open my app for the Find and start searching for blue dresses. Pretty nifty, huh?
Now that almost 40 percent of web searches are being conducted on mobile devices, it makes sense that Google is making sure that they don't lose that market by not thinking ahead. Already they have a Click to Call feature that allows user to click a little green phone icon on their search results to immediately call the business they were looking for. The service is still new, but they are handling millions of calls each week.
In addition to these adjustments for mobile devices, Google has also tweaked their search algorithm for mobile devices. The new mobile search will take distance and location into consideration and use the data to determine page rank. This way, if I were searching for great Italian restaurants, the places that were located closest to where my phone was will automatically come up first in my search results.
Of course, the location based feature only works if you have adjusted your mobile device's settings to share your location information with Google.
On the surface, these small changes might not seem like a big deal, but with the holiday season approaching, it can mean huge profits for Google. When people are out shopping or visiting with friends and family, they will be able to search for gifts and find local stores easily, right from their phone. Because they thought of that already, Google is also introducing a new service called Circulars. It allows users to see photos of products and special offers from various retailers. If the user is interested in taking advantage of the offer, they can have the circular sent to their phone. When they arrive at the store later, all they have to do is show their phone in order to get the discount.
It will be interesting to see how the new search features work in practice. Personally, I think that the mobile apps will be a huge hit.
What do you think about the Adsense features for mobile devices? Do you think that you would ever use Circulars? Let me know in the comments.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for TechCareersBlog and Nexxt. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.