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Contextual advertising

Contextual advertising definition

Contextual advertising refers to a form of targeted advertising in websites and mobile browsers. It involves displaying ads on a website based on the content of the page as opposed to targeting users based on their browsing history or demographics. For example, if you're viewing a website about gardening, you might see ads for gardening tools, plants, or landscaping services.

See also: tracking cookie, cloud advertising

Types of contextual advertising:

  • Keyword targeting. Ads are matched with web pages based on specific keywords found in the content. It’s a highly targeted model, allowing advertisers to reach audiences close to the advertiser’s product. However, careful keyword selection is required to avoid overly broad keywords and prevent keyword mismatches.
  • Topic targeting. Instead of specific keywords, ads are matched based on the overall topic of the webpage. As this method looks at the overall theme or subject of a webpage rather than focusing on specific keywords, it helps capture a wider context. It’s especially useful for products that appeal to readers of a general subject area rather than specific keywords.
  • Interest-based advertising. While not purely contextual in the traditional sense, interest-based advertising uses the context of the user's browsing history to serve relevant ads on whatever site they are currently visiting. It enables advertisers to reach users with ads that are tailored to their demonstrated interests, potentially increasing engagement and conversion rates. It's effective in retargeting, where ads are shown based on previous interactions with the advertiser's website.