Google has quietly been running geo-targeted contextual ads in RSS feeds for several months, but many advertisers, agencies, and analysts contacted by ClickZ were surprised to learn about the placements.
The targeting came to the attention of a New York City-based ClickZ editor when an ad for a nearby single-location spa showed up on an RSS feed for a blog about Apple Computers. The same ad was targeted to other editors in New York, but not to others outside the city. The ad did not seem to be contextually targeted, but entirely targeted by location.
Many advertisers may not care whether their ads show up on Web sites or in Web feeds, as long as the ads perform as expected. In some cases, location-based targeting in RSS feeds could be a perfect fit for some advertisers, according to Mike Marshall, VP of technology at SEM and blog advertising firm Fortune Interactive.
“I think there’s a lot of potential in geo-targeting RSS feeds, given that the sky’s the limit in the number of mobile devices it has the ability to show up on,” Marshall said. “Even advertisers that may not understand it at first, I think when you explain it to them, they’d be excited.”