Skybus of Columbus, Ohio has hired the Travel Ad Network to serve ads on its website, a first for the airline industry in the U.S. According to an Online Media Daily article, about 40% of the ads will be non-travel and are expected to launch June 15. Ads will appear on destination pages, post confirmation interstitials, and booking confirmation pages and emails. Built-out destination spotlights with integrated ad opportunities are also in the works.
This may seem simply an interesting quirk in the travel business, but it’s really a sign of what I believe is a new phase in the growth of online advertising — the movement of ads to sites that aren’t media sites and therefore aren’t supported by advertising. This is going to be huge, because technology makes it easy for any business to build a new revenue stream by serving ads online. For advertisers, it’s all about aggregating eyeballs. Such ads can be highly contextual, too, and I expect to see ad networks serving this market within the next 12–24 months.
Even sites that are advertisers themselves can now earn money by running advertising — like an auto parts store running automotive ads — and this offers a huge opportunity to local media companies smart enough to begin building their own local ad networks.
This is basic Media 2.0 — where the rules are very different and the opportunities unlimited. Ask yourself this: if my local media company doesn’t extend it’s advertising reach via a local ad network, who will?
You guessed it: the internet pureplays.