Serving Ads on Images Isn't Easy

I kept coming across these ad overlays on images today, and they led me back to Image Space Media, the company behind the format. AdLab first wrote about them last year when they were still known as PicAdMedia. AdBrite has also tried a similar approach in the past, and the service is still active.

While potentially interesting, it doesn't seem like an easy format to get right. Serving messages relevant to the image is key, for which you need rich metadata or some kind of image recognition algorithm, otherwise you are going to end up with an image-ad combination like the one below, on the company's own site (click image to zoom).

On the other hand, perhaps an ad for an ad blocker served as a layer over "We Love Advertising" image is a perfect match.


  1. great story.
    thanks so much for checking us out. I recently started working with Image Space Media and your point was a very very good one. We're still building out our taxonomy engine and ad sources and only testing those on select sites.
    We have now added our blog to those sites and you should see much better targeting and relevancy next time you visit.

    thanks again, Tad Davis

  2. Thank you, Tod. What is the process behind matching ads to the right images?

  3. thanks for your interest. here's my spiel about our taxonomy engine:

    When our system reads the image metadata tags, our Taxonomy Engine matches those terms with our categories and finds the best matches with the terms that are coming in from our advertisers. This way we can find the most relevant ad available and bring publishers higher click-through rates and higher payouts. We're still teaching the engine about the world of words and testing it with a multitude of new ad sources.

    To see how the testing is going, check out: as well as our blog. We'll be rolling this out to all of our sites as early as mid-December through mid-January.

    Of course the other piece of the puzzle is getting the best possible ads and that's an area where we are undergoing huge improvements each week as well.

    But, as with any new technology, each piece is rather iterative. (chicken and egg and all, you know.)


I am moderating all comments to weed out spam (there's a lot of it). Comments are usually approved within a day.

Related Posts with Thumbnails