Automatically respond to news topics on Techmeme with our new contextual ads

Wednesday, August 1, 2018 12:38PM ET
by Gabe Rivera (@gaberivera)     Permalink

Today, Techmeme is introducing ads that are automatically placed under stories matching news topics that an advertiser wants to target. They're a great way to associate your brand with a specific category of technology products, or even to challenge individual companies.

For instance, Yelp is now advertising against news about Google, to urge the search giant to “Focus on the User”. Crypto wallet maker BRD is targeting news about cryptocurrency to tell Techmeme readers about its free, open-source app. And cloud enterprise software maker Freshworks will target CRM news to highlight Freshsales.

Why is Techmeme the right venue for ads that react to news in this way? Because it's where readers go to see ideas in conflict. Techmeme is, after all, the arena where industry-driven news meets critical reaction and analysis. So by letting companies speak out and confront issues in this manner, we provide an additive, even entertaining experience for readers.

The benefit for advertisers from these ads should be clear enough. First, the “direct response” aspect can help companies meet immediate signup goals. But the brand associations that arise from such assertive messaging can be vivid and lasting. After all, if you can position yourself as the antidote to a well-known problem, why not take that opportunity? And the quality of Techmeme's decision-maker and “influencer”-heavy audience can help ensure that effort is worthwhile.

How do these ads work? An advertiser supplies a message, an ad budget, and matching criteria. The matching criteria can be as simple as the mention of a company in a headline, or a broader news category such as cloud computing, cryptocurrency, security software, e-commerce, machine learning, or enterprise chat. Techmeme then matches against its posted stories, placing the advertiser's message until the total placement hours determined by the ad budget are fully delivered. To support this matching, we've built out a proficient topic-tagger backed by an extensive and expanding ontology (and we'll have more to say about that in a later post). I should note the possibilities for matches go even further than what's stated above. For instance, matching against arbitrary groups of companies or individuals, against geographic areas, or even against the news outlet that Techmeme features for a given story are easily doable.

Of course, there are limits to the sorts of messages we'll place. We'll decline to feature offensive or overly gimmicky ad copy. And we won't include negative ad messages aimed at current advertisers, in effect, guaranteeing a form of competitive separation.

If you're interested in contextual ads on Techmeme, don't hesitate to reach out at .

As the tech industry expands in reach and power, the value of contesting the dominant themes and challenging established players has grown proportionately. We're hoping these new ads can play a part, while also making Techmeme a more fun and intriguing read.

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