API based Advertising. Maybe Google lost a Billion Dollar Opportunity…

Google is undoubtedly the master in text based advertising with its Adwords platform (that continues to be the largest contributor to Google’s revenue). It relies on a two formats of text advertising – through Search (display relevant advertisements to users on search results page) and Content Sensing (display advertisements based on content on the page user is browsing).

With advent of Twitter / Facebook and similar such platforms, emerged another prominent format of text outside boundaries of Google’s prominence – ‘status messages’ or ‘short text content’ or even ‘short text messages’. This text format originates and is consumed as quickly as it is generated. Concise, one-to-all (FB / Twitter) or one-to-one (SMS or chat).

Twitter owes its success to its API. Back in 2008-09, while developers were building applications on top of its API, I read/heard many say – “APIs is the product distribution” or “APIs is product marketing”. However, no one said “API is the next Advertising” (in context of text based advertising).

Imagine this simple hack – post the ‘short text’ through API to Google. The service would intelligently interpret if the ‘short text’ has any intent-value and revert back with the most relevant advertisement which the developers can embed back in their application the way they want it as part of their core product experience. The API could have options for Geo / Context, etc.

Is the opportunity huge? Its massive! Facebook is already under-fire for not having enough on its monetization plate. FB is monetizing via demographic targeting, while millions of status messages with a intent-opportunity go without monetization everyday. Twitter faces similar challenges, wrote about this earlier. Instagram, for example – you see this amazing photograph of a Pizza, you immediately want to eat one – show a relevant advertisement. Or two people on a IM like Whatsapp – making plans of a vacation to Canary Islands. This list goes endless.

There has been a radical shift in Internet (read content) over last 10 years, but web-monetization still continues to be same old method – either search or display. Companies involved in mobile advertising copy-pasted the web model to mobile. Web/mobile monetization models are ripe for disruption. While such kind of API based advertising requires a long-tail of advertisers, like the one Google has. But it will be difficult to under estimate startups who would want to get a slice off such very large opportunity; which otherwise will be Google’s lost opportunity….

 

  • Pious Saraswat

    The opportunity may be huge. But the creepiness element would also be massive. If I saw an ad pop up in my whatsapp about something personal that I just typed, I would get creeped out.
    Also, doesn’t Google already do this kind of advertising on Gmail?

    • http://www.beingpractical.com Pravin J

      Yup its creepy, that is why it needs to be embedded by the product owners into the experience. Sane product guys will always prefer user experience > forced monetization. Google uses Adsense for Gmail, but you may be right. Now I tend to think – they might have internal capabilities to achieve this for own products.