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Contextual Advertising 101

A Brief Explanation About Contextual Advertising

As digital advertising becomes an integral part of almost every brands’ promotional plan, it is important to understand the value of contextual advertising.

What is Contextual Advertising?

Contextual advertising(1) is a form of digital display advertising system based on targeting. Contextual advertising focuses on keywords and the content of the webpage. If an advert is relevant to the two, it is placed on the given webpage. For example, if you are surfing a blog about digital marketing, you are likely to see ads about SEO and social media tools.

( Also Read: Advertising vs. Content Marketing )

How Does Contextual Advertising Works?

  1. Parameters:

    To display your advert on a relevant page, the advertising software needs to understand what your campaign is about. You can make the software aware through two parameters: topics and keywords. Topics are broad cohorts such as “marketing” or “events”. Keywords are specific search terms that directly trigger your ad without looking at the entire content body.

  2. Search Engine Page Analysis:

    All major search engines create cached copies of all web pages and their contents. After you launch your campaign, it will crawl through its database to realize the optimal web pages where your ad can be displayed.

The Benefits of Contextual Advertising

  • Affordable and effective:

    As the tool solely uses content and keywords for its basis, organizations do not need to deploy tech tools to collect data. This makes contextual advertising very lucrative for organizations with smaller advert budgets to gain maximum reach on their campaigns.

  • Brand safety and reputation:

    As your ads are triggered by topics and keywords, the odds of it displaying on a risky webpage that might feature illicit content are almost nil. This can save your brand from embarrassment and a PR blunder.

  • Context over behavior

    Behavioral displays advertising can often miss out on highly relevant display opportunities if a user is showing his/her interest for the first time. This is almost never the case if your campaign has a relevant keyword and topic list in place.

  • Relevance, not stalking

    Retargeting efforts can often translate as ambush and stalking efforts by many users. However, viewing related ads to the content they voluntarily look for is more than welcome by users. This thought process makes your brand more likable and is prone to higher click-through rates.

Contextual Advertising vs Behavioral Advertising – Which One is Better?

While both behavioral and contextual advertising utilizes targeting techniques to reach relevant users, both have a vital difference. The models differ in terms of user activity vs content relevance.

Behavioral ads are based on tracking a user’s activities as they navigate the web. This is done with the help of cookies. With a database of the user’s activity history, the advertiser system can gauge what ad will be most relevant to the user. For example, if a user has been researching digital payment gateways, s/he is likely to see fintech ads on any and all pages they visit.

On the other end, contextual advertising pays emphasis to the content of the webpage over a user’s activity. The strategy assumes that if a user is reading an article about a topic, they are more likely to click on a related advertisement.

With both options in place, advertisers often suggest a viable mix of the two models as best practices. Using contextual advertising to first reach the relevant audience and then retargeting based on behavioral activity can often yield great results. Sticking to just one strategy can often mean poor output. However, one must limit the frequency of how many times they retarget their adverts to avoid negative association.

The Future of Contextual Advertising

  1. New formats

    The most exciting new thing with contextual advertising is going to be its expansion of formats that it crawls. From the current space which just looks at relevant keywords and topics, the directory will now include multimedia like images, video, and audio. This gives advertisers more flexibility in targeting their audience.

  2. Using behavioral data to create contextual campaigns

    Understanding your target audience and their habits has been the success Motto for most advertising campaigns, traditional or digital. Having behavioral data can help you understand the kind of search queries, platform engagement and user preferences look like for your target prospects. This can help you create precise contextual advertising campaigns which will yield a higher conversion rate and ROI.

With such systems in place, a campaign can mean great results for a brand. The trick is in understanding what topics and keywords fit your niche and understanding what media your clients interact with the most. If you have these two elements in place, you are ready to set up a contextual ad campaign for success.

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