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What is Contextual Advertising?

Updated: May 12



Contextual advertisement is the most recent method for marketers and advertisers to reach users digitally to try and capture their interest in the hopes of converting them into paying customers. According to a recent study, more marketers are using content-based, contextual advertising rather than targeted advertising.


Contextual advertising is more targeted than conventional advertising since the ads are specifically linked to the consumer's current activity. Aside from providing a more immediate ad experience, context-based targeting enables readers to find relevant information in advertisements and learn more about the content they consume, such as age, gender, race, faith, ethnicity, and so on.


Companies may create context-based advertising strategies that function for specific niches by drawing inspiration from context-based ad examples. First, use contextual targeting in your campaign and advertising on Google ads with Google AdWords, Google Analytics or Google Search for more information.


Google's AdSense software is a textbook example of context-based advertisement, since it selects appropriate ads for users based on words entered in Google searches (also known as "pay-by-click" marketing). The contextual advertisement algorithm selects advertisements based on keywords and other metadata found in the content. Search engine ads are context-dependent in the sense that the ads that appear are specifically based on the keywords of a search query, but they are also a type of context-based advertisement in the sense that the ad that appears in the results is based on the keyword that the searcher uses. The queries are just like the search results, and the algorithm that powers contextual advertising chooses advertisements based on these keywords (and all other data such as age, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, etc.).


Although behavioral targeting promises more targeted advertisements to people who are already searching for a specific product or service, context-based advertising makes broad assumptions about your future preferences based on the content of the websites you choose to visit. In comparison to targeted advertising, contextual marketing makes broad assumptions on what could be of interest to you based on the content and pages you visit frequently.


Some people can mix up contextual and behavioral targeting. However, they are not the same. Advertisers target behavior based on behaviors the user has taken prior to arriving at the web page. This may involve reading a specific post, clicking a specific link, visiting a product page, and so on. For example, if you see an advertisement for a small business accounting tool on a political blog or on Facebook, it is because you have been behaviorally targeted.


Advertisers, on the other hand, target context depending on the site in which the user is surfing. Keyword targeting and subject targeting are also concerned with the content of the web page that the user is on. If you see an advertisement for small business accounting software on a website devoted to assisting entrepreneurs with their financials, you are most likely being contextually targeted. The product is associated with the content.


A site with a diverse range of content can be used for context-sensitive ads, and the content you see corresponds to the content shown on the ad. You directly pick the creatives of an ad that appears next to you and adjust the content of those creatives depending on the site's content and keywords. Contextual advertising is a persuasive proposition for advertisers because it eliminates changes in website content. For instance, when a user visits a football-related website and the site is used for context-based ads, the user can see advertisements for football-related companies such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Arsenal.


Another example, an advertiser on eBay could place an ad on a segment that has recently been searched, suggesting that it is interested in a particular product or service, such as e-commerce. Context-oriented targeting ensures that the page on which the ad is displayed does not affect the user's view of the banner. The ad can be placed on a relevant page because the offer that is displayed on this page is still attractive no matter what is viewed on the page. In addition, ads on this page may also be placed in the context of other relevant pages, such as social media pages.


Context-based advertising enables businesses to produce advertisements that are tailored to users' tastes and online activities, as well as their desires, such that when an advertiser wishes to promote a product, service, or whatever, the advertisement is shown on the website in a relevant manner.


Instead of using visitor data, context-based targeting allows marketers to show specific advertising based on website material. Through placing the ad in context, marketers may concentrate their attention on placing it based on the individual actions of Internet users, ensuring that their ad is only seen by those who are most likely to act. The downside of contextual advertising is that it can confuse and irritate customers as it interrupts content, and its delivery also ensures that it is overlooked and falls behind competitors. This makes displaying a relevant ad challenging, but it works.


Before it can put an ad on a relevant website, the advertisement system needs to know what the campaign is about in order for it to function in the sense of the platform you advertise on. The method of presenting advertising that are more important to the editorial context in which they are positioned is known as semantic contextual targeting. Context-based targeting focuses on the environment in which the ad appears, as well as a person's ability to determine whether or not they are interested in purchasing an item based on past online habits. Contextual targeting, like native language advertisements, is used in the design and execution of advertising campaigns, as well as ad placement.


Benefits of Contextual Advertising:


1. Easier and More Affordable to Implement

Lots of information (the most valuable being first party data). That means you'll need software to capture and analyze data, as well as methods for using it and people to optimize the process. Behavioral ads may not be worth implementing right away for companies with less resources and less consumer data at their disposal.


Contextual ads, on the other hand, may provide an option that is simple and inexpensive to begin with, while still offering a degree of relevance in its own right. And, while it may not be as personalized as behavioral ads, its scope would be wider in most instances, making it a powerful way to divert traffic away from other websites and into your own.


2. Not Constrained by Privacy Legislation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was the first piece of legislation to identify cookies as personal information, establishing specific guidelines on how they can be obtained. Since then, the governing body has imposed significant penalties for violations of consumer privacy. Some countries are now following suit by enacting their own versions of the legislation. It also suggests that the no-holds-barred approach to behavioral ads is coming to an end.


While this is generally a positive thing, it does mean that browsing activity is more difficult to collect than it used to be. When visitors arrive at your website, they no longer give their consent to the use of cookies for advertising purposes. You must persuade users to sign up. And, though increasing opt-ins may boost the efficiency of your retargeting (and, ideally, public perception of behavioral ads in general), it does complicate the method.


Contextual advertising, on the other hand, does not use sensitive personal information to serve advertising. This makes it better for advertisers who want to ensure that their advertisements are shown on compliant sites. According to research, as GDPR went into practice, many publishers changed their advertising dollars from behavioral to contextual advertising, and saw an increase in ROI.


3. More Brand Safe

Brands are concerned about more than just legal protection; they are also be concerned about the safety of their reputation. In certain cases, it has been difficult to manage for behavioral marketers. Brands are increasingly finding their ads in non-brand safe settings, such as adult or extremist material. However, this is the danger of putting ads solely based on your user's actions.


However, with contextual targeting, the web page where the ad will appear is at the core of the campaign. You choose the subjects, subtopics, and keywords. And this reduces the likelihood that your advertising will follow a consumer to an area where they do not expect (or want) to see advertisements, and where you do not want them to appear.


4. Sometimes Context Matters More Than Behavior

Advertisers understand that personalization is an effective marketing strategy. However, this is just because it makes an ad more important. And, sometimes, an ad tailored based on past experience isn't completely applicable to current wants or needs.


If your audience is on a cooking website, for example, they will be interested in seeing cooking material. If they are on a marketing website, they may be more open to martech advertising than they are to cooking ads at that time.


5. Relevant Without Being Creepy

The sense of being "surveilled" and "stalked" on the internet is not unusual. In reality, you're probably aware of it on a regular basis. It has been shown that whether or not this makes you uncomfortable varies according to age, context, and other factors. Some complain that they are bombarded with advertisements from the same businesses, and that these advertisements follow them even after they have made a purchase. They're "obnoxious" and "intrusive." Others argue that creepy retargeting is simply a product of poor ads and that techniques such as frequency capping will minimize it.



Although it is difficult to argue with outcomes, it is fair to conclude that if you can have value without creeping out your audience, it is well worth implementing. This is something that contextual ads should do. A consumer is less likely to be followed around by an advertisement if it is relevant to the content they are currently consuming. Even if the ad follows the user around, it is much less noticeable when it is contextually relevant.


Another medium that applies the same concept of contextual advertising is pDOOH (programmatic digital out-of-home) advertising, which we offer here in dKilo. It targets audience when the environment is relevant and suitable. Thanks to the programmatic technology's improved versatility, advertisers can specifically target their ideal audiences for any given goal. IP targeting (zeroing in on a particular IP address—typically used to target a specific business or event), geolocation targeting (east/west coast, state, area, zip code, etc.), contextual targeting, and so on are some examples of this targeting.


Find more info on pDOOH here.



dKilo pays people for being stuck in traffic by pushing digital ads to their cars, and sell the digital ooh ad space to companies and brands through an intelligent impressions' based online ads manager platform.


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