Understanding advertising feeds

Most electronic publishers offer their advertising space through a third-party service that feeds ads. The ad service pushes ads to your site using a combination of the following methods.

Visitor’s search and browsing history—If the ad service tracks a visitor's search and browsing history, it can push matching ads accordingly. Suppose Jim has a history of searching for web sites containing the words electric vehicles. The ad service knows that Jim is interested in these vehicles, and pushes corresponding ads to your ad modules. This method works extremely well if your site’s content matches the visitor’s search and browsing history. If your site is a blog about electric vehicles, then your content, Jim’s interests, and the ads he receives are all aligned.

Site’s content—Ad services can crawl your site, infer its content, and push ads accordingly. For example, you are publishing galleries of inspirational nature photographs, and each photograph has a short caption. The ad service crawls your site, examines the images and text, and infers your site pertains to nature. The ad service then pushes ads that match your content.

Ad service’s configuration—Some ad services let you specify particular keywords, and the ad feed matches those keywords. For example, if you specify keywords yoga, exercise, and wellness, the delivered ads are from vendors offering corresponding merchandise. You may also be able to configure different ad feeds for different parts of your page. For example, in the Aside block, you can specify wellness ads, and in the Below block you can specify travel ads.

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