From AdAge, this is the next logical step in pay per click. Although it is hard to tell from the article if this actually is PPC or if it is more targeted marketing based on demographics. So here is the quote and commentary below.
MSN LINKS KEYWORD SEARCH TO DEMOGRAPHIC DATABASE
New Feature Enables Marketers to Target Search Engine Ads at Specific Groups
September 26, 2005
By Kris Oser
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — In a effort to technologically outflank Yahoo and Google, Microsoft Corp. will launch a new U.S. keyword paid-search program that enables marketers to target their keyword buys at specific consumer segments. The new feature links keyword search techniques to MSN.com’s demographic database of 400 million registered users.
AdCenter allows advertisers to draw from MSN’s 400 million users worldwide who have registered for MSN’s Passport, Hotmail or Messenger services.
AdCenter allows advertisers to draw from MSN’s 400 million users worldwide who have registered for MSN’s Passport, Hotmail or Messenger services. Based on the demographic information those users provided, the advertiser can then target commercial messages based on geographic location, gender, age range, time of day and day of week. MSN can then also overlay additional data rented from database marketing companies, such as wealth index and psychographic information, to target more specifically.
I added the emphasis and underlining. Here is the deal, the web responds like direct marketing in PPC and SEO *because* the user *at that moment* typed in a specific term. They have told you two things; first what they are interested in (dishes, BMW, etc) and second WHEN they are interested in it (RIGHT NOW!).
The challenge with classic direct marketing is that repetition is key because there is only so much you can do to predict the timing but you can characterize that this group is likely to buy this object or service. With direct mail you just keep hitting them with letters or cards or whatever trying to reach them WHEN they become interested buyers. Let them buy when they are predisposed buyers. The genius of search marketing is both questions are answered. You know what the buyer is interested in and when they are interested. So the program above from MSM is cool but classic DM. It won’t be the surprise hit that search engine marketing has been with targeted buyers and a pay as you go pricing model that small business can afford. It will be added value in the marketing mix.