Contextual advertising is targeted advertising that typically occurs on a banner or pop-up ad on a website. Contextual ad systems target advertising to a specific user based on the keywords on the page he or she is visiting (hence, the context of the ad comes into play)

Contextual advertising is essential because it does not depend on any kind of cookies. Instead, this targeting uses keywords and key phrases on a web page, thus eliminating user data reliance.

Advertising is not just about putting out ads to promote your products and services. It’s also about showing these ads to the right people at the right time. Marketing is quickly evolving, and so is advertising. Now, digital advertising is the way to do it – putting out advertisements on different platforms and reaching out to your target market. 

That is where most marketers struggle with. However, there is a technique that will help marketers achieve their advertising goals – contextual targeting.

Have a look at this video:

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See how smartly Ryan Reynolds Sneaks an Aviation Gin Ad into a Movie Ad Inside a Samsung Ad! See how a well-placed ad efficiently promotes three products? Genius! 

The context is decisive. Not only in just content creation but also digital advertising. Contextual advertising has been in the industry for a long time. 

The Contextual Advertising market worldwide is projected to grow by US$279.2 billion, driven by a compounded growth of 18.5%Business Wire.

According to a survey conducted by GumGum, 61% of US advertisers use contextual advertising, and additionally, 24% of advertisers have planned to increase their ad spending on contextual advertising next year.

In the same report, GumGum stated that 49% of advertisers prefer contextual advertising. Over the last couple of years, publishers and advertisers have taken advantage of targeting solutions such as behavioural, demographic, and geo-location.

This sudden surge in contextual advertising is triggered by the various data privacy laws coming into effect and media outlets, including Mozilla and Google removing third-party cookies from the web browsers.

The contextual advertising system inspects a site’s text for keywords and returns ads based on such keywords to the website page. The ads could be showcased on either the webpage or even as pop-up advertisements. 

For instance, if the customer visits a sport-related website or the site utilizes contextual advertising, they can see ads for sport-related companies, like memorabilia dealers, ticket vendors, etc. The contextual advertisement has been used by web pages to advertise online centred on keywords throughout the user’s request on the search pages. The contextual ad is also known as “In-Text” or/and “In-Context” ads.

What Is Contextual Advertising?

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Contextual advertising uses keywords on a web page to display ads. Unlike behavioural targeting, where tracking pixels and cookies are used, contextual targeting displays relevant ads based on its content. 

This has a positive impact on users browsing the web page. The ads remain contextually relevant, thus getting better viewability. In a 2020 study conducted by Seedtag and Metrix Quality, contextually targeted ads with rich media yielded more robust view quality.

Google AdSense is among the most common manifestations of contextual advertising. Google’s robots conveniently display user-relevant ads. For instance, if you are running a film review site, AdSense may serve contextual advertisements to purchase cinema tickets or register any streaming service. The advertisements are chosen from the stock of advertising companies who register via AdWords.

A few contextual advertisement examples entail:

In-game contextual advertising

Sony’s Wipeout HD became among the first online games that featured preloading contextual ads.

In-video contextual advertising

One example of such a form of contextual advertisement will be a shampoo’s YouTube commercial displayed in front of a video demonstration about how to trim your very own hair.

Native advertising

Native advertisement is a type of contextual advertisement, where supported ads are made to resemble the site’s native stuff. (sometimes this is viewed as the deceptive advertising experience.)

Behavioural advertising

It is expected that behavioural ads may be the next wave in the contextual advertisement. Behavioural advertisement is intended to influence the customer depending on the behaviour instead of merely the user’s interests.

How does contextual advertising work?

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Without going into the technical mumbo-jumbo, contextual advertising is a highly efficient way of delivering ads directly relevant to the content the readers are consuming. Have you ever noticed how some websites just so happen to have ads for related products or services? That’s contextual advertising.

The general idea here is that readers interested in tech gadgets are more likely to want a cool new accessory for their smartphone than readers on a gardening website. Ads are targeted based on the context of what readers are looking at, making ads more appealing to the audience. 

In turn, a more exciting audience generally translates to better click-through rates and conversions. Besides, contextual advertising is more personalized than traditional display advertising because it is directly correlated to the surrounding content.

What is a Contextual Keyword?


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A contextual keyword is used to provide a specific meaning in the code, but it is not a reserved word in C#. Some contextual keywords, such as partial and where have special meanings in two or more contexts.

Mostly, marketers are looking out for more real ways of engaging with individuals that are already into the market because of what they promote.

Contextual targeting of keywords, put it simply, tends to make everything just far more straightforward. Thanks to contextual keyword targeting, marketers can expand the success they’ve had on paid search to their programmatic advertising strategies. 

Marketers have turned to keyword targeting because it gives them control over the environment in which their ads are shown. Keywords help you connect your campaigns to likely buyers based on what they are reading or browsing. For example, if your most likely customers hike, you might add keywords around hiking or the outdoors.

Depending on your keywords, your ads instead may show to audiences based on their recent browsing history or other factors, rather than the content of the page they’re currently viewing. But there are some core differences between the keywords you use in paid search campaigns and those in programmatic advertising campaigns.

When keywords are chosen, sites are searched with available advertisement placements, most appropriate keywords are found on such pages, and a deterministic algorithm is applied to identify and categorize a website as well as the impression. If the chosen content is essential to the site, you are entitled to compete on the sensation.

Contextual category targeting enables advertisers to reach sites that categorize them in a particular field or subject, like “dogs” or perhaps “sports.” The contextual category, while less costly to a contextual keyword, promises a lower degree of granularity. Furthermore, contextual keyword targeting – however, more expensive – does have a click-through price from around 3X of the targeting contextual categories.

What is Contextual Traffic?

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Contextual traffic or PPV (Pay per view) is indeed a chosen and provided advertising depending on the quality shown to a customer. These are necessarily adware throughout the context of the toolbar as well as activated software that allows advertisement pop-ups whenever a user enters a specific search and visits a particular site. However, as the title implies, it may be a fantastic way to obtain exposure, affiliates PPV(pay per view) of an advertisement irrespective of whether or not a customer clicks upon this.

Behavioural Targeting vs. Contextual Targeting

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Both Contextual, as well as Behavioral Targeting, utilize intellect to put advertisements in front with the other very relevant retailers they‘re inclined to buy. However, both types of targeting are dynamic, meaning that they alter continuously to produce better results as more data is released.

Although both aspects of targeting possess much in common, there seem to be several significant distinctions in how they’re achieving their objective, which is essential to you anyway, a dealer.

Therefore, the main difference is that Behavioral strategies deliver advertisements for prospects dependent on past actions. In contrast, Contextual approaches seek to position advertising where ideal opportunities for “best-fit” will be browsing.

Here is some significant difference between the two:


Category Contextual Targeting Behavioural Targeting
Tracking Makes use of keywords on a web page to display relevant ads Uses cookies which track online behaviour for displaying ads 
Data privacy Effortless privacy compliance as ads uses keywords. Requires additional step of obtaining user content
Accuracy Less accurate as users may not be interested in the product at all More real as ads are based on the user’s interests
Dependency It doesn’t depend on user data. Advertisers can easily target users based on webpage information. It entirely depends on user data. If users decline the use of data, advertisers can’t use this option.
CPM Works on the ‘best-fit’ principle; hence, advertisers are known to put less money – around 10- to 30- cents range. Since users are targeted with more accuracy, advertisers are known to range between 50 cents to $3.
Best case Works best with audience segmentation and niche webpages Works for all kinds of webpages and niche


Both targeting strategies are useful tools for reaching shoppers; however, both may miss off through their own on prospective clients. This is why people need both Behavioral and Contextual targeting executing structure to present website advertising that car buyers who access and then begin to display deals once they depart the site for many other websites. 

Tips for Contextual Targeting in Advertising

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1. Divide campaigns

Do not put all your eggs in one basket. Create separate ad groups for your contextual ads. Do not use the same ad groups for your search ads. Aside from search ads are more expensive, this also allows for a wider reach, given that you have several ad groups targeted.

2.Analyze your target audience for relevance in contextual targeting

When it comes to advertising, your ads must reach the right target audience. Or else, it would be a waste of time and resources. Blogger outreach involves sites reaching out to their target audience in their niche with backlinks inserted that boost traffic to their websites. 

Analyze your target audience by conducting a thorough study of their internet usage habits. Provided with that data, you can then strategize your ads to run on time slots where the internet usage among your target audience is at its peak. 

Another, you can also deliver targeted messages and offers that are properly timed. This way, it can substantially grow your brand’s image and increase overall conversions.

3. Group keywords that are not frequently used to be contextually accurate

Try out the long tail marketing approach. Basically, it is the process of grouping together keywords that are not often used to capture the market’s neglected segments. In totality, these segments represent a vast sector. 

If managed successfully, it will result in excellent brand exposure. Try to target keywords that are not being frequently used by your competitors. When it comes to obtaining late-cycle and mature leads, long-tail marketing will be of very much help.

4. Focus on attention-grabbing pay-per-click ads

Pay-per-click (PPC) ad is an advertising method wherein an advertiser pays the publisher for every click of an ad. As easy as it may sound, many vie for this type of advertisement. 

Marketers place bids on their ads’ placements – the higher the bid, the priority of placement on the website. Then, focus on attention-grabbing pay-per-click ads. 

5. Include cost-per-mille ads in contextual targeting

Cost-per-mille ad is a technique that is useful when you want to advertise a website, a specific webpage, or a company blog. The advertiser pays for every thousand impressions of the ad on the network.

Since it is much cheaper than pay-per-click, it’s often the preferred method by marketers. It is also a great way to develop brand awareness on a larger scale as it generates visibility on your products and services.

6. Use multimedia

Use the different multimedia to your advantage. Take time to study your competitors and look at their contextual ads. Scour their websites, social media accounts, brands they have partnered with, or print ads published. Examine their customers’ testimonials and reviews too. 

Try to find a way to make your campaigns stronger in terms of keywords selection and creative banner designs using different tools. Remember, there are a lot of contextual ads out there from your competitors. You need to stand out from the rest of them. 

7. Broaden your list of keywords based on thematic terms

When it comes to creating a list of keywords for your ads, create a broad list of keywords as much as possible. Create a thematic list instead of just using synonyms of the keywords. 

A thematic list will likely get you to pages of the entire field, which helps you get a hold of a broader customer reach. 

For example, if you target the keyword bag, don’t just include its synonym keywords such as handbag or purse. Include thematic terms like an accessory or fashion.

8. Include facts, inviting call-to-action, positive customer feedback

One of the goals of campaigns is to spread facts about the products and services. Your campaigns should be convincing enough, but not in a way that is too good to be true. 

Include irresistible call-to-action and positive customers’ feedback; these make your ads believable and more compelling. 

9. Exclude worst performing websites for campaign

In contextual advertising, you need to track your responses and CTR meticulously; you will see that some websites will boost your conversion rates while others will waste advertising resources with pointless clicks. 

Here’s what you can do – exclude the worst-performing sites from your campaign instead of running up large negative keywords. It lets you focus more on sites that can boost your conversion more and fast and create targeted and personalized ads for these sites. Use it to your advantage.

10. Retargeting or displaying again products 

Contextual ads are not just for new products and services. Once products and services are purchased or availed, you are done! 

Retargeting or displaying ads for products and services that were not purchased or availed yet is an effective way to entice customers to return to your site and buy it. 

It also convinces customers to purchase whatever products they have left on their shopping carts, pretty smart? Also, highlight some discounts and sale offers.

Contextual Advertising and the end of 3rd-party cookies

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3rd party cookies removal from Firefox and Safari and their removal from Google in two years will create the need for the  Advertisers and Marketers to find a way to get close to users, which means making ads more “personalized.” Contextual Advertising is a natural choice for the Ad Market because data about users is not collected. Nor is such data needed to present the right type of ads on the web.

Advertisers and Marketers need to find a way to get close to users, which means making ads more “personalized.”

In a cookieless future, contextual targeting has several clear advantages: It does not require third-party cookies and the privacy concerns these now entail, it ensures brand safety, it informs programmatic, and it improves ROI on advertising spend.

More profound use of targeting thanks to AI

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Contextual Targeting can be seen in the future because of AI and technical developments. Advertisers and Publishers can use new Contextual Intelligence technologies to provide many new tools and new possibilities for reaching key audiences. At the same time, they can protect their brand. This type of intelligence also provides insights into user engagement. AI technology, which will be used in this type of targeting, will help to create more precise Advertiser campaigns; and for Publishers, it will help to increase the value of their inventory.

Final Thoughts

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Simply put, context rules because this type of advertising is far from a one-size-fits-all approach. This allows publishers to maximize revenue from every bit of content and further personalize on every platform through contextual ad customization. As each platform has its unique landscape, you cannot underestimate even the tiniest details. With the right solution in place, you can boost your performance by making contextual ads that are personalized and relevant while cutting through the noise and keeping your customers happy.