Understanding Contextual Advertising


When ads are shown on a website that is related to the content of the page, it is called contextual advertising. Traditionally, this was done based on keyword targeting where the automated system shows ads that are relevant to the content of the site.

Enter the advertising giants

Among the most popular and most used engines in contextual advertising is Google Ads. This is one of the most efficient ad-management systems implemented by Google. The algorithm is designed to serve ads that are relevant to the users that are related to what you have to offer.

How does it work?

For instance, if you own and run a hotel business, Google Ads will serve contextual ads to the users on vacations around your area. Besides that, it might also serve ads of popular foods or attractions in your locality as well. These ads are normally generated based on the inventory in AdWords from registered advertisers in these areas.

The idea behind Contextual Advertising

Contextual advertising is very straightforward as it is intended to hit the hearts of the readers through ads. A person who is booking a hotel room at your side would be more interested to know where he can find great food or travel attractions instead of wanting to learn new cooking methods or buy car accessories. Hence, the ads are all designed to be related somehow. When you have interested audiences, you will naturally get better and higher click-through rates (CTRs). This will then lead to better conversions.

Common types of Contextual Advertising

Here are some methods where contextual advertising is most prominent:

  • Native Advertising – This is one of the common types of contextual advertising in which advertisers use sponsored ads that seemed to look like the native content (sometimes called advertorials). There are ethical issues debated as being deceptive in this form
  • In-Video – Ads that appear before a video is shown. YouTube does this a lot. For instance, a car insurance ad coming on before your video on car engine servicing comes on.
  • In-Game – Ads that appear before a game starts usually when it is loading.

The process involved in Contextual Advertising

Generally, this is the process where you target your ads based
on certain parameters. It is most commonly applied through the Google DisplayNetwork.

First, the system will use the parameters that you havepre-determined. This means that you need to inform the system what yourcampaign is all about so that only the right ads are placed in the web pagesthat are related to it. You can start from the generic categories like fashion andthen zoom in to Men’s Shoes before getting more micro into Sneakers. The moredetails you provide, the more accurate your ads will appear.

Tip: Each campaign should typically have 5 to 50 keywords.

Let Google handle the next step

Here, you will then allow Google to do its homework. What itdoes is to analyze the content and then match your ad with the ones that are related.

To do this, it will be taking into account all the relevant issues like thetext, language, structure of the sites and then mapping them with the keywordsthat you have determined. Here, you can decide to go for either the specific orbroad reach features.

The former means your ads will only appear on pages thatmatch your keywords specifically. The latter meanwhile will be based on thetopics that you are targeting. After that, Google will place your ad accordingly.

Contextual Advertising is NOT Behavioral Advertising

Be sure to note that contextual advertising and behavioraladvertising are not the same things. In contextual advertising, you are doingthis based on the environment of the browsing nature of your target audience.

Meanwhile,behavioral advertising is based on the actions that your target audience hasmade before they reach a certain page. In other words, contextual advertisingis more real-time while behavioral advertising is more based on your historywhen browsing. Between the two, a lot of advertisers today are going for contextualadvertising as it seems to maintain the relevance of the moment for the targetaudience.

Should you consider Contextual Advertising?

There are several reasons (and benefits) in using contextual advertising where it mainly helps you to spend more intelligently. This is a data-based platform that is run on-the-fly. If you are a small business with a limited budget, then it makes a lot of money sense to use it. In other words, it is more affordable and cost-effective Besides that, contextual advertising is easy to start while meeting its objectives.

Since you determine the topics and keywords, your ads will be shown during the time of your campaign. This is in contrast to behavioral advertising where your ads can end up in sites that are not related to your brand (since it is based on their past actions).

Another perception of ads that are too based on the behavior ofthe user is that they do sometimes feel that they are being ‘stalked’. Contextualads are the related but not to-the-dot type which means users do not feel that youseemed to be ‘monitoring’ them too much.



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