Contextual Advertising – Everything You Need To Know

In the past few years, there have been significant changes in the advertising industry. Publishers’ intent has shifted from “mass reach” to “reaching the right audience at the right time.” These days, advertising has become all about delivering the right message to the targeted audience accurately. There are, of course, various tactics and approaches to accomplishing this, one of which is contextual advertising or contextual targeting.

We refer to a marketing strategy solely based on the user’s environment by talking about contextual ads or advertising. Contextual targeting is relatively new in advertising but has gained immense popularity over the years. From content and images to videos, such kind of advertising considers everything to make the services more effective. Recently, GumGum published a report in which 61% of the total US ad publishers use contextual ads, and 24% of them are planning to increase their budget in this kind of advertising.

If you are eager to know more about contextual advertising, this article is the perfect read for you. By curating this article, we aim to walk you through the world of contextual ads and help you make the most of this effective advertising technique.

So, scroll down and expand your knowledge.

Understanding Contextual Advertising

Contextual advertising is a type of targeted advertising in which ads are placed on websites as per the content. The website’s content is analyzed, and ads are placed based on keyword targeting. It’s the placement of ads on the web page directly related to the product being sold in the advertisement.

There is a drastic shift in the users’ attitude as they have become more tech-savvy and conscious about their privacy. This has made advertisers realize a need to change how they collect data and use cookies to inform users about their online behavior. Hence, the move from a traditional form of advertising to contextual advertising. While relevant behavioral data expires because of the ever-changing environment, contextual targeting helps advertisers know what users are interested in at that moment rather than relying on their past behavior. This kind of advertising helps the advertisers deliver relevant and timely ads and benefits users in enjoying ads that interest them. It enabled companies to embrace a cookieless world and offer users an environment that is more safe and secure. One of the well-known examples of this advertising is Google AdSense. It automatically serves the ads that are relevant to the users. The ads are chosen from the inventory of advertisers who have registered with AdWords.

Must Checkout: Contextual Targeting in a Cookieless World Webinar

How Contextual Advertising Works?

Now that you know what contextual advertising is and the benefits, it’s time to get down to the real deal- the process. Such advertising involves a full-fledged process of contextual targeting for placing the ads on the webpage and meeting the specifications.

Here are the key steps that are included in the contextual targeting process.

Step 1: Keyword Selection or Choosing Parameters For Targeting

The process starts by telling the advertising system your need to place the ad on the relevant webpage. Firstly, topics are classified into broad categories, and one of them is selected to advertise across Google Display Network. One can also make a precise selection by choosing sub-topics or sub-categories. After that, keywords are selected or targeted within the topic or subtopic. As per the Google guidelines, every campaign is required to have 5-50 keywords. This provides the network with a better idea of what ads are displayed and how they can be relevant to the webpage.

Step 2: Google Ads Analyzes Of The Webpage In The Network

The next step is the analysis of the webpage by Google Ads in the network. When a publisher places an order for the ad, Google analyzes the content on each display network web page and matches it to the most relevant content. It considers several factors like language, account text, keywords, page structure, and link structure. In broad reach, ads display based on the topics, and in specific reach, ads appear on the pages that match keywords and at least one targeted topic. To amplify the experience, one can change the display network settings and choose between broad or specific reach.

Step 3: Placement Of Ads

Once the analysis is done, the display network finds a place that matches the ad contextually. And ads are placed on the right webpage.

Must Checkout: AdMedia Explains How Contextual Targeting Advertising Works

Benefits Of Contextual Advertising

Gone are the days of traditional web ads. Today, contextual advertising is taking over the market with its diverse benefits for ad publishers and users. Here are some of the major benefits it offers:

  • Convenient And Affordable To Execute
  • There’s no surprise that contextual advertising is significantly less expensive than the alternatives. Since data collection is the foundation of behavioral advertising, it requires a significant investment in human and financial resources. This makes implementing behavioral advertising difficult for brands with lesser resources and fewer customer data. On the other hand, contextual ads provide an easy and affordable way of displaying relevant ads to the audience without breaking the bank.
  • Not Subject To Privacy Regulations
  • With privacy being a major concern in cybercrimes, running effective behavioral advertising campaigns has become a difficult task. In such ads, publishers are required to collect data by asking users to show their consent to use cookies. This makes the entire process less safe. Contrarily, contextual advertising does not require the user’s personal details for serving the ads; hence, it is safe and helps keep up with the privacy of the visitors.
  • Provides Better Brand Safety
  • Not all kinds of advertising are safe for brands in terms of both legality and reputation. When advertising is based on user behavior, ads from different industries can appear, including adult or extremist content. But contextual ads pose no risk as this kind of advertising ad displays topics, subtopics, or keywords specified by the publisher. This reduces the chances of displaying ads that a user doesn’t want to show up and can risk the website’s reputation.
  • More Relevant Than Other Kinds Of Advertising
  • In terms of relevancy, contextual advertising is always the best option to choose. It helps the brands to be relevant without worrying the audience. Individuals often engage in certain behavior that might interest them, but they don’t intend to take it further or buy the product. Now, getting the ads of similar products or services, again and again, might scare away the user. This is because contextual ads are worth implementing. They don’t follow the user and show the ad that is relevant to the content.

Must Checkout: AdMedia Explains How Contextual Targeting Advertising Can Enhance Your Company’s Prospects Online

Contextual Targeting vs. Behavioral Targeting: Which Advertising Strategy Is Better?

When we are talking about contextual advertising or targeting, we can’t skip behavioral targeting. Just like contextual targeting is an essential tool in the world of advertising, behavioral targeting is another that cannot be ignored. Since there is no either-or decision between the two, it is important to learn about them and then choose the one per target.

Behavioral targeting is a kind of advertising based on the user actions taken before reaching the web page. It collects data like frequently visited websites, types of pages clicked, interaction with the brand, time spent on the webpage, etc. Using this information, the ads are displayed on the website. On the flip side, contextual advertising doesn’t have to scrape personal user data and displays the ads based on the context of the website on which they are going to be displayed.

Having said that, the main difference between the two is the environment in which the ads are displayed. Hence, picking one over the other is unfair as both have their own pros and cons. One can choose between the two according to the requirements.

Must Checkout: Contextual vs. Behavioral Targeting: A Brief Rundown


Final Words
Contextual advertising can be perfectly described as – advertising that is “in context.” It is a kind of advertising that serves ads to users interested in the subject, which increases the chances of generating a positive response. It also gives control in the hands of the advertiser and is far more economical. With so many benefits, learning about context targeting and implementing it in the business is a must.

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