5 Things You Need to Know About Contextual Advertising

January 12, 2017 · Industry Developments

Contextual advertising has the power to create some of the most memorable, compelling ads, pulling in viewers with ads that offer increased relevancy and timeliness.

Contextual ads target users based on specific keywords on the page he or she is viewing at the time, therefore the context of the ad links up with the content of the page. It also comes in many forms. It’s an opportunity to be authentic, to deliver messages in the moment and to try to get into your viewers’ heads.

You know contextual advertising, though you might not be thinking of it as contextual advertising today. For example, search engine ads are contextual. After all, the ads that appear are directly based on keywords, right? And you may be familiar with Google AdSense, a popular contextual ad program: it considers a searcher’s location, language, and keywords to find the best ad for the moment.

contextual ads

Bottom line: Contextual advertising is all about delivering the right message, at the right time, personalized to the viewer. Read on to learn the five best practices and trends in contextual marketing that can help elevate your ad strategy.

1. The Key Elements of Contextual Advertising

Contextual advertising is a fantastic opportunity for brands to get creative. To do this, think about when a viewer may be seeing your messaging (is it during a holiday or a big event?), what they’re looking for (leverage keywords), how will they be engaging with your product or service (what situation will they be in?).

Every element from language and weather to the time of day, past purchase behavior and the type of device they are using is on the table for use. And remember, it’s okay to start simple.

2. Don’t forget video!

Video can play a powerful role in contextual advertising efforts. This can unfold in a variety of ways: layering ads over videos for viewing before the main video kicks off, in-game ads and viral videos on social media.

Video has presented itself as a great medium for emotional, time-sensitive messages. Remember when airline WestJet produced a video of unsuspecting passengers arriving to their destination and receiving surprise gifts?

3. Pricing is a Partnership Effort

To maximize the profits, both publishers and advertisers are encouraged to work together. It benefits both sides—everyone earns a profit when it’s done right.

Google’s Smart Pricing Scheme allows prices to be set dynamically (though, advertisers have the final say).

4. Mobile is a Huge Game-Changer

Mobile has enabled advertisers to take the concept of contextual advertising and truly hit consumers at the right time.

Emails, push notifications, SMS messages—it’s all available on mobile. And there’s more tools and data available to advertisers than ever before. For example, Apple already includes situational predictions on their device holders based on past behavior patterns.

These insights shed light on behaviors such as user app preferences and even day-to-day travel patterns. Talk about being able to truly reach customers at the right time!

5. Virtual Reality Offers the Newest Wave of Innovation

The advent of virtual reality offers advertisers an entirely new landscape. It’s a contextual advertising playground! Imagine, offering consumers complete brand experiences in a VR world.

Companies such as Coca-Cola, HBO, and Nissan are already taking the lead. Essentially, VR allows commercials to go from engaging and amusing to total immersive experiences. It’s the difference between watching Coca Cola’s iconic Polar Bears sip sodas to sipping drinks alongside them in an arctic environment.

Contextual advertising serves as a reminder that consumers expect more in advertising. The most successful ads succeed because they offer relevant and interesting experiences for viewers.

How can you evolve your ad strategy to become more contextual and meaningful?