MySpace Joins The Contextual Advertising Fray With myAds

After one year of tests, MySpace just launched myAds, its new online advertising platform. myAds is similar to Google’s AdWords and Facebook Ads, but it has some new features that will make it the darling of the contextual marketing crowd.

For starters, it allows you to target a campaign based on gender, age and geographic location. But that’s what everybody’s already doing, right?

So MySpace takes the thing a bit further in trying to get to a PGA – Precision-Guided Ad.

Its main feature is the ability to hypertarget. And what’s this, you may ask? Well, something like a marketer’s wet dream, that’s what it is.

In short, MySpace takes the information users provide about themselves – what they like and dislike, what they do in their spare time, etc – and uses it to put them in nice little boxes. Then all you have to do is choose the ones you like, and voilá!, your ad will be flying off directly to scores of personal pages.

Say you own a local surf shop in Pismo Beach. You can use myAds to target users in that area (I think it’s a safe bet to assume that not many people would come from Santa Barbara to buy you a board) that say they’re into surf or bodyboard, and show them relevant ads about a boards sale, for instance.

But now let’s say you own a surf school, also in Pismo Beach. You can target your ads not only to people who say they’re into surf (who’d probably be already over the lessons phase) but also to people that are into related sports (like skate, for instance), and that could be willing to give surf a try. And if you find out that a lot of people usually come from Fresno for vacation in Pismo Beach in the Summer, you can start a campaign in the Spring aimed specifically at them. Pretty cool stuff, ahn?

As for the pricing model, myAds also goes along with the prevailing CPC trend. For the uninitiated, CPC translates as Cost-Per-Click, which means that you only pay when viewers actually click on your ad, instead of when they merely see it (which is a tricky thing to measure, since the ad being there is no guarantee at all that it is actually being seen).

CPC has a bottom price of $0.25, and goes up based on competition with other advertisers also targeting the same niche. The more you are willing to pay, the higher your ad will go in the priority ladder. Campaign budgets start at a minimum $25, and can go up to $10,000, with the possibility of defining a budget cap anywhere in-between..

That means that if you pinpoint a limit of $1000 to your campaign, then the ad will be active until that amount is reached. When that happens, it will simply be redrawn. That way you can rest assure that you won’t be driven into bankruptcy by crowds of users that just can’t help clicking in your perfectly targeted ad.

With myAds, the Myspace team takes online contextual advertising a step further. But will it be enough for the platform to gain traction amid the ongoing economic meltdown, which is starting to affect online ad spending?

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