Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Advertising in Applications – a workshop series

Posted by shannonclark on January 9, 2008

As you may know if you have met me recently and/or have been reading my blog regularly, I am in the midst of starting a new company, Nearness Function, which is an ad network focused on placing commercial messeges, especially branding messages, inside of applications. We take an expansive view of what an application is – so we will work with web applications using AJAX, widgets, Flash applications, desktop applications (which connect back to the web), mobile applications. We are also exploring helping publishers of certain types of rich content such as podcasters and video bloggers – we’ll definitely work with media players which might play such content and as rapidly as we can build out the infrastructure we will expand the ad formats we can serve to include video ads which have had great success as an ad unit in many applications already.

As I speak with publishers (in our case mostly software companies) and with advertising agencies, media buyers and direct advertisers I have been struck by the range of experiences and questions around how to best place ads inside of dynamic applications. These questions range from debates about the formats that work to questions about what metrics and pricing models can be used to sell and track these ads. In our role as a network we have to provide solutions to the technical issues of getting the right, targeted ads in front of the individuals who use a given application, we also have to address the business needs and goals of both the media buyers, ad agencies, advertisers and publishers – all while also remaining focused on the experience of those individual users whose actions and reactions form the basis for the value of the advertising.

So, starting at the end of January and continuing on a regular basis we are starting a workshop series on Ads in Applications. This will be a long lunch to start with the first event to be held here in San Francisco at the end of January. Future events will include more lunch workshops and, I hope, some open to the public events in the evenings which will have a more traditional speaker format.

The first lunch workshop will be by invitation only. If you are reading this and would like an invitation contact me directly – please include a note about why you are interested in participating which includes your current role & company (or companies). The workshops are intended for senior people from application companies (often founders) and senior folks from the ad buying side. Select investors who have a portfolio of firms in the application space will also be welcome to participate – though they are encouraged to invite representatives from their portfolio firms. For the workshops press, including bloggers, are specifically not invited – these will be off the record, working discussions. My hope is that from these closed events we will also organize some open to the public events and/or come up with some public proposals – either for standards or as suggestions to standards efforts at organizations such as the IAB.

For the first workshop the format will be highly collaborative discussion, we will be a relatively small group and will all have a chance to both talk, listen and ask many questions. My hope is that in a few hours we can cover a range of ongoing questions and issues – including formats, metrics, measurements, definitions of “targeting”, acceptable pricing models (which both drive metrics and are in turn driven by what can be measured), how to define success, and various best practices around the integration and targeting of ads. I hope also that we have some discussion about how to disclose commercial content inside of a variety of types of dynamic applications – in many small widgets and in many types of other content what is an “ad” can not always be fully obvious.

Watch this blog for more details about the workshop and contact me directly (and/or leave a comment here) if you would be interested in attending, hosting, or helping organize these workshops.

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