*Dec. 2009: The -Formal- End Of Keyword Advertising?

The definition provided by Fain/Pedersen might serve as an indication what “keyword advertising” is and when it has started. This post however addresses the question is the question if Google’s move in Dec 2009 to “personalize all searches through the use of cookies” was a step away from “keyword advertising“, making “behavioural advertising” the new standard.

(For more information on that change and how to disable “personalized search” please see my previous post on that topic.)


The definition of Fain/Pedersen contained, among others,  following two elements:

– Combining a manual and automated review process to ensure that advertiser content is in fact relevant to the target keyword.

– Matching advertiser content to user queries as they are received by a search engine.

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The interesting issue in this respect is the termmatching advertiser content to user queries” as through the process of personalization it becomes difficult to say what the search results are actually based on as the search results are no longer based solely on the respective query (plus some extra information the search engine had about you as e.g. location, language, browser settings) but also on the previous queries submitted from a browser (equipped with a certain cookie issued by the search engine).

As the display of ads is not only linked to the query entered but also to some degree to the search results displayed I wonder if personalized search also -indirectly- influences the ads displayed alongside the (organic) search results.

In case one accepts a: a correlation between the ads displayed and the search results, and furthermore b: agrees that the move of Google can be seen as a technological milestone, affecting and representing the whole online search landscape … one could come to the conclusion that … keyword advertising evolved from prior forms ad advertising (e.g. banner advertising) and that is a predecessor of today’s most common form of advertising: “Behavioural Advertising“.

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