Ad Pepper Brings Semantic Ad-Serving Technology To U.S.

AdPepperAd pepper media is expected to announce Monday that it has brought the iSense Network into the U.S. from Europe, where numerous companies have been using it for 14 months. The network relies on semantic technology to place display ads.

The technology, based on patents from Professor David Crystal, takes a linguistic approach to serving up ads related to the content on the Web page. It analyzes each word on the page to understand how the words fit together to form meaning. There are more than 3,000 content categories in the system.

For instance, a Web page might contain the keywords orange, orchid and sun--which would indicate that the article relates to outdoor activities--whereas the keywords orange, rug and wallpaper might refer to decorating a home. By analyzing the combination of words, the technology gains insight into the correct ad to display on the page.

Sacha Carton, president of the iSense Network and director of the board for ad pepper media, said the level of accuracy for ad placement is between 95% and 98% when Web pages are properly constructed. "Classifications, however, can be polluted by ill-constructed pages," he said.

Those "ill-constructed pages" are created by keyword stuffing, which Carton described as publishers stuffing all keywords related to categories or products in their catalog at the bottom of each Web page on their sites.

ISense brings search-level relevance to display advertising, Carton said, adding that the core problem lies in tagging. Most sites don't tag the content properly. They can't afford to attribute a category or classification to each Web page produced. There's no common taxonomy, meaning that a media buyer can have difficulties targeting ads to pages across a broad network of publisher sites.

Keyword targeting is also a problem. Crystal, a linguist, identified 2.8 senses to each word in the English language, giving a one in three chance for getting keyword targeting correct without semantic technology supporting ad placement. Content-based targeting achieved today by contextual targeting prompts an ad for knives to run alongside a news item about a stabbing.

When users visit a Web page in the iSense network that has been classified in one of the 3,000 content categories, the targeting criteria is submitted to ad pepper's Emediate Ad Server. When no relevant ad is found, the placement passes back to the publisher.

Initially launched in the U.K. in January 2008, iSense serves up ads by more than 200 clients, including 3M, EMI, Fujitsu Siemens, HSBC, Microsoft and T-Mobile. It's also used by agencies including Mediacom, Universal McCann, Mindshare, OMD and Media Planning.

Unlike other semantic technologies that use a mathematical approach, iSense benefits from 11 years of research and deeper analysis of each word on the page. This allows publishers to profit from targeted ad monetization opportunities on every Web page, while advertisers benefit from more precise ad placement that eliminates wasted impressions while increasing contextual relevance and ROI.

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