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Science of Relevancy : Lifeblood of Search & Contextual Advertising

Relevancy is the key to contextual advertising, and online contextual advertising is big business. That’s a no-brainer, as all web and software heavyweights are vying to make the most of contextual advertising.

How is relevancy measured? And how is that used to shoot the most relevant of ads based on what you do online?

Microsoft, Google and Yahoo have been at the forefront of implementing technologies for targeted ads. Here’s a count down on what drives relevancy for online-targeted ads.

  1. Keywords are compared with the content of landing pages and then measured with the coherence with the user’s query.
  2. Measure of the quality of content on the landing page vis-à-vis the user’s query.
  3. Removal of duplicated data so that search results and ads are diverse and user experience is much more satisfactory.
  4. Measuring the user’s intent as compared to the content of the page and the Ad placed. ‘Intent’ is such a small relative word, but under the hood it means lot of analysis of user session data to figure out exactly what the user was searching for. And that means factoring out on the duration of the session, the revisions made on the queries, apply word-spelling correction and these are only the real-time scenarios. While testing out the features prototyping of user’s thought process is done and the eye-movement mapping done. More on these in Bill Slawski’s write-up @ SearchEngineLand.
  5. Then there’s measuring the quality of the audience that visits a site to arrive at ad pricing models. More quality means more discounts. Thus an incentive for good user experience. Quality factors include the source of the traffic and the conversion rates (how many ads did the customer click)
  6. Statistical measurements of the success rate of queries with the keywords. Like Google’s query performance report for firms to match the queries to the clicks made over ads so that they can better map keywords to ads. In fact, another tool that Google intends to introduce will try to track down on the problems of lesser click-throughs for the queries. More on this at the article at

And to top it all off, here’s a quote from what Udi Manber, currently a vice president with Google said while he was still heading the development of at Amazon, “It’s not about speed or size anymore. It’s all about quality. It’s about delivering the tools that allow relevancy. It’s good to make searching faster and faster because that part is well understood. The quality part is not understood and that’s the challenge we face today.

That was in 2004 and I must say, it pretty much holds for the present as well.

Science of Relevancy : Lifeblood of Search & Contextual Advertising

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