Online Advertising Done Right: Text Links to Contextual Content
This time, when I typed in "mashed potatoes," I noticed something new. In addition to the list of relevant recipes from the site's vast database, I got two highlighted keyword text links. Instead of typical titles like "Looking for (insert noun)? Click here," they read: "Savory Mashed Sweet Potatoes by McCormick" and "Garlic Mashed Potatoes by Kraft." The links were certainly in line with what I was searching for and the recipes sounded enticing. The media buyer in me was intrigued. I'm always on the lookout for clever new approaches to online advertising. This placement certainly qualifies.
...The links sponsored by McCormick and Kraft on Epicurious's search result page boast something most keyword text link ads don't: content.
Instead of linking to product information pages and going for the hard sell, as many advertisers are inclined to do, these companies cleverly chose to inoffensively blend their brands and products with an established, respected site. By integrating their own recipes into a site attracting avid cooks and homemakers, they drive qualified traffic to their own sites while boosting online branding, all without misleading users or risking damage to their image. Users get a recipe -- exactly what they're promised.
The beauty of this approach is that it is so seamlessly integrated into the site as relevant content that it literally becomes so much less of an ad and of so much more of a value to the user.