Yahoo! has set out to combat the competition from Google AdSense by creating its own highly relevant on-site ads under the Contextual Ads banner.
Yahoo! Bing Network rolled out this service at the end of September, giving advertisers the ability to integrate paid text ads into websites that will attract a relevant target audience.
This is designed to increase engagement and clicks, enhancing the effectiveness and reach of campaigns whilst also improving conversion rates due to the ads' high level of relevance, which should appeal to users.
Marketers can customise the look of their ads within Yahoo!'s new system, although this is limited to altering the colour of the text. This means that savvy users should be able to work out that the ads are ultimately similar to the PPC results they encounter on SERPs and elsewhere online.
The ads can be published on desktop and mobile-oriented domains, so there should be few obstacles in the way of these context-sensitive promotions.
Two years ago, the Publisher Network was shut down by Yahoo!, which basically put an end to context-sensitive text ads for partners using the service at the time. Now the search provider is back in business with this revised platform, which is being supported by Media.net.
This company has spent the past 12 months testing the new Contextual Ads system with a large number of publishers. Following its full launch it will continue to crawl sites in order to ensure that the relevance of ad placements is not compromised by any hiccups.
There is a long roll-out campaign planned for the Contextual Ads service as part of the Yahoo! Bing Network, with beta testing still ongoing for third-party publisher sites.
Making sure that Google does not have a monopoly over context-sensitive text ads is something that could benefit both marketers and site owners who are looking to improve their ability to engage with an online audience.
Yahoo! seems to be taking its time to get its latest service to an advanced and effective stage before it unleashes it for all to use, but its competitive approach may prove fruitful. There are even suggestions that it could acquire Media.net, with a view to making contextual paid ads a deeper part of its search business.