At first, the Google Adwords API doesn’t really seem like much, just a way to write simple programs to do some automating of tasks that are already pretty easy. I’ve bought ads on Google before, and it’s really fairly straightforward.
However, it’s really a MUCH bigger deal, in my opinion.
If you look back at posts like this one, you’ll see a nice discussion of how google is taking advantage of the whole long tail phenomenon by letting the massive amount of small guys with targeted keywords advertise to their respective markets. This is well and good, but there is something bigger that’s going on here. My speculation is that there is a much greater long tail than anyone has imagined, and that it can be served in a way that it can’t now — through creative use of the Adwords API.
The idea goes like this: There are lots of businesses out there that have a whole slew of products, services, and media to get to their respective consumers, but their focus is not targeted enough to make manually selecting keywords a viable option.
Take, for instance, a small business that sells a variety of, well, let’s just say ‘themed greeting cards.’ They’ve got their products available, but they have so many cards of various types that they don’t really have a good way of getting all their data into the adwords system.
Now, they can.
Anyone with a product catalog can do it. I’ll bet that in a year, good comercial ecommerce solutions will incorporate product catalog -> adwords (and the other guys) systems.
It’s going to get that easy to mass-micro advertise, and small businesses will benefit. So will Google.
Yes, there will be competition. I think Yahoo’s entry into this space will take a big dent out of Google, or at least it will put a little bit of pressure on bidding for keywords. Overall, however, growth in the market for keywords will outweigh any competition that comes online, at least for the forseeable future.