Google + CNN = Good for You

You've got to love contextual marketing. This morning's deal between Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) and Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX  ) CNN.com -- a multiyear arrangement for Google to populate CNN's website pages with relevant, user-targeted ads -- is a win-win situation.

Google gets to expand its AdSense network. CNN hooks up with the online leader in interactive marketing. However, did you know that the agreement's being framed as a win-win-win deal?

"We're pleased to enhance the reader experience through the targeted placement of relevant ads," Google gushed in this morning's press release. "Our new relationship with Google will deliver relevant ads to our users, enhancing their overall experience on CNN.com," CNN replied.

Yes, both companies are pointing to you as the beneficiary of this enhanced experience. Can you imagine any other medium trying to get away with this? A multiplex operator claiming that it's packing product ads before your flick to enhance your movie-watching experience? A radio station getting you pumped up about an upcoming ad break? A TV show spinning its commercial slots as enhancements, not annoyances?

Of course not! You accept advertising because you know it pays the bills. Now Google and Time Warner have the gall to pass off text ads as an improvement?

Well, in a sense, they're right. I'm not a shill for paid-search providers, but companies like Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) , Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , and Google have spent the last few years populating websites with relevant text-ads.

They work. If you're online, trying to find ways to patch a leaky roof, what would you rather come across: ads from several local roofers, or some gaudy, overly graphic promo to win a free cell phone? Before you answer, let me warn you: Fixing a leak is not that easy.

Local advertising is big. Google's massive inventory of ads gives even a global website like CNN.com the ability to narrow sponsored messages to relevant local merchants and service providers. Why else do you think that a consortium of newspapers -- who have decades of experience recruiting local ad partners -- have sided with Yahoo! to deliver its website ads?

Ads that enhance? It's only funny because it's true.

For related Foolishness:

Microsoft is an Inside Value recommendation. Yahoo! and Time Warner are Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter picks. Try sampling any or all of the newsletters with a free 30-day trial subscription.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a huge fan of Google, and it would be his homepage if not for Fool.com. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of theRule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a searchable disclosure policy.


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