Dynamic ads integrated in Adobe PDF to drive new revenues for content owners…
“Yahoo and Adobe will partner to allow publishers to run dynamically generated pay-per-click ads on PDF files posted on the Web or distributed via e-mail, opening up a new frontier in online advertising…”
San Jose, Calif. -- Adobe Systems Incorporated and Yahoo! Inc. today launched Ads for Adobe PDF Powered by Yahoo!, an opt-in service that enables online commercial publishers to drive new revenue by including timely, contextual ads next to Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF)-based content.
Until now, publishers have been able to embed only static ads on PDF files, but Yahoo and Adobe are developing a system to make those documents display contextually relevant ads delivered on the fly from Yahoo’s inventory at any given time.
Files published in Portable Document Format are not the most plentiful pages on the Web, but they represent a pretty large available audience.
Adobe says it has distributed approximately 500 million Acrobat readers globally, which are used to read everything from archived versions of print magazines to regional newsletters to instruction manuals.
Now the software giant is eager to determine whether the documents can join in the digital advertising jamboree that has powered so much other free content.
In a deal with Yahoo, Adobe has begun offering publishers the ability to monetize their PDF files with contextually targeted text ads. While it admits ignorance regarding the size of the market opportunity for such ads or their ideal surroundings, a beta program launched today aims to get some of those answers.
IDG InfoWorld, Wired, Pearson’s Education, Meredith Corporation, and Reed Elsevier are among the first to offer up their subscription and legacy PDF formatted content for free under the test.
“We do not know which content types will dominate,” said Kurt Garbe, Adobe’s entrepreneur in residence, advertising. “We have looked at a cross-section during the pre-beta. Certainly the reprint market is a very big potential market.”
The service has the potential to offer readers access to more free content, enhanced with ads that match their interests. The companies tomorrow will announce the initiative, called “Ads for Adobe PDF Powered by Yahoo!,” and launch a limited beta program that they hope to open up more broadly later.
The new service allows publishers to generate revenue by including contextual, text-based ads next to Adobe PDF content, with Yahoo! providing access to its extensive network of advertisers to match a broad range of subject matter.
“For advertisers, ‘Ads for Adobe PDF Powered by Yahoo!’ extends reach by delivering advertising across a new channel of content, while also providing the ability to track advertising performance, just as they can today with ads placed on Web sites.”
Ads will appear in a side bar to the right of PDF content in a manner similar to search ads. Yahoo will sell the placements on a CPC basis and split the revenue with Adobe and the individual publisher. The program is limited to U.S. publishers with English language content, and these will be able to use Yahoo’s ad management system to track impressions and response rates.
Yahoo advertisers will not know when their ads appear next to PDF content, but Josh Jacobs, VP for publisher solutions at Yahoo, said the company will consider allowing advertisers to opt out of the format or to specifically target readers of PDF documents.
“A big goal of the beta program for both of us is to gain more insight into how users are engaging with this,” said Jacobs. “We will continue to look at whether there are other types of creative and ad placements that make sense.”
“The move further expands Yahoo’s ad network holdings, which were recently bolstered by its acquisition of Blue Lithium.”
The inclusion of pay-per-click text ads on (PDF) files will give publishers another revenue-generating option for the content they have in this popular Adobe document format, said Garbe.
As the practice of charging for content continues to decrease industry-wide, publishers need to monetize their free content with advertising, which has been a challenge for PDF files, Garbe said. “This is a straightforward service to let publishers insert dynamic ads into PDF content,” he said.
“By partnering with Yahoo! on this innovative advertising service we are creating opportunities for publishers to build new businesses around unique content that previously was just given away or not available to a mass online audience,” said Rob Tarkoff, senior vice president, Corporate Development at Adobe. “As advertisers look to touch new audiences, readers can look forward to some exciting Adobe PDF content coming their way.”
Advertising in PDF documents is not new, but Adobe’s Garbe observed the practice has historically resembled print more than digital advertising.
“People are advertising today in PDF,” he said. “It is just that they are doing it in the static, old-fashioned way of defining a space, creating an ad, selling the ad space.”
The benefit for advertisers: They get a new channel for their ads. Readers will benefit when publishers offer for free documents that they previously charged a fee for, or that they simply did not make available online.
“This partnership with Adobe creates a previously untapped opportunity for advertisers to connect with qualified audiences, while opening new revenue streams for publishers, and helping deliver additional relevant content to consumers,” said Todd Teresi, senior vice president, Yahoo! Publisher Network. “Creating new value with Ads in Adobe PDFs is a natural step forward in Yahoo!’s ongoing strategy to enable an array of digital connections between advertisers, publishers, and consumers.”
As the beta test progresses and -- in theory at least -- enters general availability, Adobe will do more to promote the service to publishers, including possibly recruiting publishers within the Acrobat software interface.
Garbe added Adobe and Yahoo would likely test richer ad formats as well, but he added the pace of experimentation will depend on the willingness of publishers to migrate from subscription to ad-supported models.
How the system Works
To join the program, publishers must register online, and then simply upload their Adobe PDF content so that it can be ad-enabled before distributing PDFs as they do today. Ads can only be displayed within Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat, in a panel adjacent to the content so that they do not disrupt the viewing experience. Every time the PDF content is viewed, contextual ads are dynamically matched to the content of the document. The publisher can then monitor performance through detailed reports.
“Since moving to a Web-only format earlier this year, we at InfoWorld have been able to apply a laser focus to cutting-edge solutions for the electronic distribution of our content,” said Allen Fear, director of Online Content at InfoWorld.
“The unique combination of Adobe PDF and Yahoo! ads presents a new way of generating revenue from many of our existing products. We are excited about the opportunity to work with Adobe and Yahoo! on what we believe is a solution that significantly enhances the value of PDF distribution.”
Should the market for ads in PDF files prove lucrative, the question remains whether a software provider such as Adobe can maintain its position as a middleman between publishers and advertisers, or whether it will be excluded as the producers of Web browsers largely have been?
At this beta stage, the program will provide ads from the Yahoo network exclusively. Garbe declined to comment on whether the program will later be open to other ad providers like Google.
It is not a surprise that Adobe would want to be vague about letting other ad providers into the program, since it should not close the door on that possibility, said Matt Swain, a senior analyst at InfoTrends.
However, for now, the partnership is a very good match, and even if Adobe partners with other ad providers later, Yahoo will have an advantage, Swain said. “PDFs are a widely used document format, so this is a big untapped area for advertising,” he said.
Pricing, Availability and System Requirements:
Ads for Adobe PDF Powered by Yahoo!, is a free service and does not require the purchase or installation of software. The program, currently in beta, is open to US-based publishers who produce English content.
“Ads for Adobe PDF Powered by Yahoo! -- supports PDF content created in Adobe Acrobat 8 and earlier versions.”
Publishers can apply to participate in the program at:
For more information including system requirements please visit: