What is contextual advertising?

The article concerns the question What is contextual advertising? Contextual advertising is the most commonly used monetization method online. Its widespread use is a result of the convenience to setup and the win-win situation for both advertiser and publisher. In the advertiser’s perspective, ad impressions are displayed to a highly targeted audience which results in high ROI, for publishers it provides an easy way to quickly setup an income stream for their website traffic.

What is contextual advertising

The most common type of contextual advertising would be pasting a snippet of javascript on your site, and impressions would be displayed based on the content of the site, the content would be grabbed based on the title, permalink, the content on the site and keywords, although this depends on the ad network of course.

New ad networks have brought about other innovative variations of serving ads based on content. Another method of displaying ads based on content is using in-text advertising. Here certain keywords within the content body of a web page are hyperlinked to an ad, hovering over the link displays an ad bubble with details on the ad.

These types of ads are sometimes frowned upon because they can be an annoyance if you accidentally hover over these links. Another recently launched intelligent ad serving technique is practiced by popular ad network Chitika, where content on websites are only displayed to organic traffic based on keywords made to find the website with the content based ads.

Contextual advertising is usually performed based on a pay per click or pay per mille (thousand) impression basis. Context ads are niche dependant with some niches providing higher revenue than others. While context ads are usually cleverly blended in a website and appear as part of the content, visitor awareness has increased over the years leading to lower CTR.

Redundancy of this monetization method on the Internet has also accustomed several visitors to be ‘blind’ to these ads. Certain tweaks however may be performed to optimize CTR, this includes changing the color, font and location (placing it above the fold offers a higher CTR for example) of the ad displayed, these options are all offered by the ad network when configuring the ad usually.

It may seem inevitable that contextual advertising would be replaced with other advertising methods by most webmasters as effectiveness reduce over time just like the traditional banner advertising, however the convenience and unobtrusive layout it provides would have a firm hold in the hearts of webmasters for several years to come.

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