Yahoo To Display Ads in PDF Documents Online ~ Search Marketing and Internet Marketing Blog Online

Yahoo To Display Ads in PDF Documents Online

I received an e-mail from my friends at Yahoo Search Marketing ... they will be launching a beta program and wanted my input via an online survey. So what's the beta program? Well, read for yourself:

Yahoo PDF E-mail
Once you get into the meat of the survey, there is some additional information, however:

Ads for Adobe PDF provides a powerful new channel to communicate their messages to a highly engaged and targeted audience. In addition, Ads for Adobe PDF provides advertisers a means to track the performance of ads placed in PDF content, just as they can today with ads placed in Web sites.

These ads come from advertisers participating in Yahoo! Content Match. Content Match is a pay-per-click campaign tactic that displays your ads alongside relevant websites, and now PDFs as well.

Now, for those of you who know me or even follow this blog, most of you can probably guess the thoughts that came to mind. I'm about as far from a fan of the content network as one could be -primarily because they bring a lot of window-shopping clicks and un-targeted, non-coverting clicks. I found myself wondering...many PDFs are composed of images or are created completely un-optimized! How can Yahoo (or Google or MSN for that matter) determine which ads to show based on that type of page? Are we heading down a 'content network road' that is progressively about making money over quality?

What are your thoughts? Even better...have any of you had success using the content network?


Cynthia (Adobe) said...

Jon, actually most PDFs are text-based not image-based. The offering that Adobe has built with Yahoo actually extracts the text of the PDF, analyzes it for keywords and categories which then are used to serve up the ads. Therefore it is the same type of context matching that is done with websites. It is not purely matching up random ads to the PDF. You can find out more information at:

Jon Clark said...

@Cynthia - thanks for the note! I was pleasantly surprised to see someone from Adobe make a comment. Regardless, I would still argue that despite the ideal PDF document being text based (in your words) there are still countless folks out there who use the software incorrectly from an SEO perspective (which is also how, according to your note, you would determine which ads to display - ie. keywords among other things). They either copy images - whether that be a JPEG or photoshop images or something from illustrator, etc. - for the visual affect or write a white paper completely void of correct keyword selection and optimization. I believe this to be true for two reasons - personally seeing the misuse over and over again and the countless blog posts and articles related to correctly optimizing a PDF. I can only assume I'm not the only one seeing these issues.
I based the 'random' comment on the fact that you would be placing content based ads on PDFs with the issues mentioned above. Granted, the current website content model has been much improved since its inception, however, I still see completely irrelevant ads on a daily basis.
Beyond ALL of that - what many folks don't realize is the incredibly amount of organization required from a PPC content network campaign - from keyword selection, ad grouping, ad copy, etc. Everything must be tied very, very, very closely together to ensure the correct ads are being displayed for the correct content.
As with most things, I would assume a thorough test on my own would prove my thoughts one way or the other, however, I don't have clients willing to spend money on something that has not worked in a similar model in the past (website based content network).
BUT, that is why I'm hoping more folks will chime in and give their experiences - both positive and negative.
Please feel free to respond! This is certainly open for discussion.