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Zedo will develop ad networks for social media websites

Mumbai, June 05, 2008 - Ad serving network Zedo, which currently serves only online publishers, has decided to develop ad networks for social media websites, too.

The reason behind the change in strategy is better behavioural targeting of users through these social sites, the company says.

The San-Fransisco based firm currently manages about 25 billion online ads per month, largely through banner and display advertising and is now channelising resources to scale up its engineering and R&D base in India.

“Increasingly, we’ve noticed that conversations are happening on social media sites about products that people want to buy,” Roy De Souza, founder and CEO, Zedo, said. “These users are relatively young, they’re brand conscious and, most importantly, they buy things online.”

About 10% of Zedo’s ad volumes are served in India to clients like People Group’s bouquet of sites, Rajshri Media, Hindustan Times amongst others. Globally, it serves the likes of hi5, Tagged, Undertone Networks, Rockyou and PartyPoker.

“The user’s social networking profile may not tell you what he wants to buy, but our behavioural targeting software, when installed in the publisher’s ad servers, will keep track of what websites he’s been visiting. So, if he visits, say, the Lenovo website, it means he’s inclined to buy a laptop. It, therefore, makes sense to “serve” him a laptop manufacturer’s ad when he’s talking about it on a social media site.”

Apart from behavioural targeting, search engine marketing is another popular way of targeting users. At present, most publishers use Google Adsense where it displays contextual text-based ads relevant to the content on the site. Experts say that search engine marketing is most effective, while banner advertising is used effective for online branding.

However, Navin Mittal, business head,, said not all portions of a website can be served by a single ad network alone. “Being a publisher, we know what the user is discussing about on the site. Our servers then request Zedo, or a specialty ad serving network, to display a relevant ad,” he said.

In the West, however, experts have raised concerns about behavioural targeting being too intrusive on user experience. Zedo’s new ad network will enable advertisers to retarget “lost visitors” who’ve recently visited their sites and are shown to be more likely to make a purchase.
Under the backdrop of increasing channelisation of ad spends to the internet and the polarisation of online users spending time on social media sites, ad serving networks are on the radar of several software and advertising majors.

WPP’s GroupM already has a strategic partnership with 24x7 Real Media. Last year, Google acquired DoubleClick for $3.1 billion.

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