Microsoft Ads Context to Video
At its fourth annual DemoFest yesterday, Microsoft’s adCenter Labs showcased new targeted advertising options for online multimedia, in which relevant ads are placed via contextual analysis of video content. One of the options, Contextual Ads for Video, uses speech recognition technology to mine video content and scroll ads based on the subject of the conversation.
Arun Surendran, senior applied researcher at adCenter Labs, explained the workings of the technology on a YouTube video. Contextual Ads for Video uses speech recognition to transcribe and segment a conversation. By listening to pauses in the conversation and what Surendran calls "lexical analysis," the technology understands when a topic changes. Once the application extracts differentiation between topics, it places ads by the video relevant to the conversation. As topics change, so do the ads. The system can also map the dialogue by topic or speaker.
"Solutions to today’s challenges must be capable of handling and understanding the complexity of vast amounts of data," said Tarek Najm, technical fellow at Microsoft. "To address that challenge, we are developing advertising algorithms that can anticipate and understand consumer behavior faster than the speed of thought, so that we can help advertisers create more efficient and relevant user experiences."
In addition to contextualizing with speech recognition technology, Surendran explained, the subsequent transcript can also be used to index the video, making it searchable.
Traditionally, video search has occurred by tagging, or assigning keywords to each video so that textual search engines can find it. The problem with tagging is that context is filtered through the biases of the person doing the tagging. However, the speech recognition remains one of the hardest core technologies to harness in that the processors must be optimized to pick up casual conversation.
Microsoft did not reveal when Contextual Ads for Video will go live, nor did they provide a sampling of a transcript culled from their speech recognition engine. With Contextual Ads for Video and its related products, as well as its pursuit of Yahoo, many analysts believe that Microsoft seems poised to elevate its standing in the domain of online advertising.