Contextual advertising as it pertains to online marketing is an ingenious way to target an individual based on the content that person happens to be viewing. So, for example, if the person is visiting a fishing website, a contextual ad on the side margin of the page they’re on might advertise the latest fishing pole on the market. By understanding contextual advertising and how the ads can be targeted for every individual who views them, you can improve your conversions and your returns.
Understanding contextual advertising becomes much easier when we see it in action. Take the Google Adwords platform. This is a pay-per-click advertising platform that allows you to create banner and other types of ads for the purpose of contextual advertising on the Google Adsense platform.
Google Adsense is the display platform where the ads will actually show up for website visitors. With Adsense, you create the webpage or blog, set up the Adsense code, and the ads your visitors see will be customized according to your content. If your blog is about smoke cessation, contextual advertising may be used to sell e-cigs or the latest brand of nicotine gum.
What Content Is Used?
Contextual advertising relies on all kinds of content – text, videos, audio and any other content you can think of. It’s no secret that advertisers have attempted to monetize everything online, and understanding contextual advertising is the next best step. The search engines, like Google, are very powerful in their abilities to scan all web page content for meta data that can help them rank the pages accordingly and establish a contextual advertising framework. This is why you’ll not only see contextual ads on Adsense enabled websites, but also in the search engine results pages.
In fact, Google’s entire revenue stream comes almost strictly from its Adwords PPC platform. Google has made quite a name for itself by using contextual advertising; and if any innovations are going to come from this model, you can expect Google to be all over it.
In fact, the latest rumors are that the new GoogleGlass device will use the advertising method dubbed ‘Pay-Per-Gaze’. Yes, we live in interesting times, but this just goes to show you that contextual advertising is here to stay and it’s expected to evolve in ways we can’t possibly predict.
PPC Contextual Advertising
Adwords is only one example of a PPC marketing platform that uses personalized ads like this, but we are going to use Google for the purpose of understanding contextual advertising because they are the biggest company that offers it by far. Other platforms also use contextual ads to help marketers enhance their reach and bolster their brand images, so it might make sense to do some research to find out if Adwords, or another PPC network, might be best for your needs and goals.
Honing Your Contextual Ads For Your Target Market
When building PPC ads, ensure that you are using all the keyword phrases your customers might use to search for your business, brand, product or service online. This ensures that your ads will be displayed prominently on the search engine users’ results pages. You have probably noticed the sponsored ads in the margins of the results pages when searching on Google, Bing or Yahoo. These are contextual advertising banner and text ads that will pay the marketer for every click received.
Contextual Ads Via Adsense
If you are on the other side of the spectrum, the Adsense side (or similar platform), you must ensure that your website content is consistent and relevant to your overall message. The search engine bots that scan your web pages should never have to guess your site’s subject matter. This can result in misplaced ads.
An example of a misplaced ad would be like seeing an advertisement for the movie “Big Fish” on that fishing site we spoke of earlier. While a person who enjoys fishing might in fact like that movie, we wouldn’t necessarily call that targeted to hard-core fishermen and women. Bait, camping equipment, nets and fishing poles would be far more appropriate for contextual advertising purposes.
How You Can Get Paid Through Contextual Advertising
With Google Adwords and other PPC marketing platforms, you typically pay the network for every click you receive. You will usually set a budget, whereby your cost-per-click amounts will dictate how long your ads remain active. When your limit is reached, your ads will disappear until the next day or until you replenish your budget.
Google Adsense users, on the other hand, are poised to get paid through the use of contextual advertising. By setting up a website, blog or single landing page, the webmaster/marketer can set the stage for contextual ads by filling up each of the pages with relevant content.
Online Video Contextual Ads
If you are going to use video content on your site, you will be happy to know that Adsense also displays video contextual ads. The ads will be tailored towards the subject matter of your video, so make sure your titles and descriptions contain enough content to allow for proper ad placement.
Tips for Increasing Clicks And Impressions With Contextual Advertising
Understanding contextual advertising is one thing, but actually putting it into action is quite another. Whether you’re on the advertising or display side of the contextual advertising spectrum, these quick tips will help make your ads far more effective.
- When designing contextual advertising ads, keep the message and visuals simple.
- When designing content for the display side, make sure there is enough content for bots to work with and use bolded subheaders and bullets to enhance subject matter familiarity.
- Test all ads, as well as the content used to display contextual ads, in order to find the most effective formula for success.
Contextual advertising is one of the most effective ways for reaching your audience, mostly because your prospects are actually looking for whatever it is you’re advertising. Just wait until you open a magazine one day and advertisers are able to print moving ads that actually talk to you. By understanding contextual advertising, you should be able to see that this advertising method is sure to be around well into the future.