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  • Priyash Nigam

What is contextual advertising and how can be used in digital marketing?

Updated: Jan 8


In spite the fact that the term “contextual advertising” has been around for a long time now, not so many internet marketers have given it the required attention. However, I think that all of us who have been involved in the digital marketing in one way or another, we are all familiar with the services of Google’s AdSense and AdWords or other similar online advertising companies offering contextual advertising


Contextual ads definition:

Let me try and give my own definition for the term contextual advertising and I hope I will describe it as thoroughly and shortly as possible:

“Contextual Advertising concerns online ads which with the synergy of algorithms can identify the main content and keywords of a website and is able to return relevant advertisements for the viewing user”

For example, if we are viewing a fashion blog which is using contextual advertising then most probably the ads that will appear on this blog will be of fashion related companies selling items such as clothing, shoes, fragrances, etc.

Fortunately, some companies such as AdSense and AdWords, which are basically offering contextual advertising, have been making valuable advancements through continuous developments in their algorithms and systems so that their services will be more effectively targeted to the end user. The fact that more and more publishers are selecting to cooperate with such companies and allow the placement of contextual ads on their websites, has given a considerable boost in this type of business.


Advantages of contextual ads:

One reason which leads publishers to choose to use contextual ads on their websites is due to the fact that these ads usually pay a PPC (pay per click) revenue. Therefore, the publishers can much more easily track down their revenues and they are not just waiting for a sale to happen as in the case of the affiliate programs.Another reason that leads the publishers to choose contextual ads rather than other types of advertisements is that the installation of contextual advertisements on any website is very easy. You just have to install an html code on your website and then you can forget about it. This is a huge advantage in contrast to affiliate ads as you do not have to closely follow the selected affiliated programs in case which one is terminated and its immediate removal is required. A third important advantage of contextual advertising concerns the ability of the advertiser to accomplish well targeted results through this technique as it allows them to reach much more effectively potential customers through careful selection of related keywords.


Disadvantages of contextual ads:

One huge disadvantage of contextual advertising (at least from my own experience with AdSense) is that the publisher is never informed about the fee per click paid by the advertiser to Google (or other similar providers) so that his/her products or services to be promoted through this channel. A second disadvantage (again from my own personal experience with AdSense) is that as a publisher you have no saying in the fees charged for the use of your website space. A third disadvantage concerns the efforts of the advertiser to select effective target keywords which will allow him/her to reach the target customers without spending huge advertising budgets. In most cases selecting the best keywords is so complicated that it should be applied by professionals which are highly trained and posse’s good experience in this operation.


Contextual Advertising and digital marketing:


Contextual advertising itself is basically a well-planned targeting tool which if used wisely it could be a valuable addition to a complete digital marketing plan. That is, an advertiser can create efficient promotional programs through utilization of contextual ads so that to effectively promote through the web products and services all over the world or even to selected geographical areas. Of course contextual advertising cannot be by itself a complete digital marketing plan as it has to complement the plan and not be the plan.

If the contextual advertising technique is utilized by itself then the advertiser should be aware that most probably is spending his/her hard earned money with inefficient ROI which means that his/her efforts will have to be terminated soon.

We will be examining contextual advertising in more detail in future articles as it is a very import part of the whole preparation of digital marketing plans.


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