On January 18th, Google announced version 8 of the Google API. This API includes function calls to manage Google Commerce Ads. Not live yet, just sandbox at this time. The beta will run the last few weeks of February.
Google Commerce Ads allows bulk creation of product-based ads across the Adsense network. These aren't search-driven impressions, as a retailer would get using, say, the comparison shopping engines, but they are SKU-based.
Google Commerce ad units are 300x250, 160x600, and 728x90. As before, advertisers can run site-targeted CPM compaigns, at a $0.25 min CPM, or as context targeted CPC campaigns, at $0.01 min CPC. All ad creation occurs through the API, no limit on the number of SKUs.
We're usually not huge fans of content advertising at RKG, as many of our tests have produced weak results for our clients, particularly those who ROI-driven direct response advertisers. We've blogged about content, intent, and click fraud in earlier posts. On the other hand, we've found the AdSense network an interesting option for advertisers seeking branding impressions.
Whatever your experience on the effectiveness of content advertising, the SKU-level and API-driven approach of Google Commerce is an interesting angle, worth watching.