The web has changed the nature of advertising. Now computer science is set to revolutionise it all over again.
There was a time, not so long ago, when planning an advertising campaign was a black art based on past experience and informed guesses. The pricing strategies for publishers was equally opaque and usually the result of considerable negotiation and horse-trading.
All that changed in the late 90s with the advent of search-related advertising. All of a sudden, advertisers were able to target their messages with pinpoint accuracy to individuals with an interest in a specific topic.
Google is undisputed king of the online advertising world having pioneered search-related advertising, the auctioning of advertising slots by keyword to the highest bidder and the development of increasingly sophisticated computer-based tools that advertisers can use to get the biggest bang for their buck.
As a result, advertising is no longer a black art but an emerging science in its own right. Today, Shuai Yuan and buddies at University College London review the new field of computational advertising and discuss the research challenges that it faces.