Jan'23·Andrés Auchterlonie·2 MIN

Contextual advertising: do’s and dont’s

Home Contextual advertising: do’s and dont’s

2023 is expected to be the year when the adoption of contextual advertising rises exponentially. Google has pushed its plans to phase out Chrome’s use of third-party cookies to the second half of next year, giving advertisers and big brands more time to look at alternate means of targeting customers and prospects. While the move to a privacy-first cookie-free world began when Apple decided to do away with cookies, 2023 is when the spotlight will be on all things “contextual”.

For the uninitiated, contextual advertising is a form of online advertising that pushes ads to users based on the context of their online activities instead of historical browsing data or cookies. (Cookies are files that websites use to collect user preferences and track online activity). 

As consumers became more aware of how their browsing activities were being tracked and ads served, they demanded more privacy. This is where contextual advertising came to the forefront. 

The goal of contextual advertising is to show users relevant and useful ads, which can significantly improve the chances of either building positive brand recall or an actual sale without relying on user data.

According to statistics, spending on contextual advertising is expected to increase to USD 297.68 billion by 2023, from USD 125.79 billion in 2018. According to a survey from eMarketer 50% of US marketers and 33.33% of UK marketers currently favor contextual advertising as their preferred targeting format.

Given the popularity, there are certain do’s and dont’s for anyone looking to adopt contextual advertising. Here are some of the basic points to ensure are covered when embarking on this journey –

  • Get your keywords right – Keywords play a pivotal role in defining who sees your ads. The defined keywords need to be relevant to the key audience. For example, it’s not enough to merely define ‘shoes’ as a keyword when the business one is in, is about making shoes specifically for a certain sport.  It’s important to define a comprehensive list of keywords that allow easy recognition and correlation with the reader
  • Know your audience – While this is a basic rule of thumb for any form of advertising, it’s even more important in the online world. The kind of ad you create for an audience can have a positive or negative effect. Make sure the message is clear and the creatives leave no room for doubt or misinterpretation
  • Track performance and test your ads - Use tracking and analytics tools to measure the effectiveness of your contextual advertising campaigns. Don’t be afraid to test different versions of your ads to see which ones perform the best and pivot accordingly
  • Invest in user experience – It’s not enough to have a creative ad, but to have a complete experience once the user decides to buy your product or service. How do they purchase? How can they address questions? How long is the sales cycle? What does the post-sales support look like?  Great advertising can take one so far.

Here are some things to avoid when doing contextual advertising –

  • Avoid overusing keywords/spamming consumers/blanket keyword blocking – Optimizing the keyword list to avoid spamming is a continuous process. Also, avoid reusing keywords from paid search campaigns. Many marketers still employ universal keyword block lists to prevent their advertisements from appearing in the wrong places. It’s paramount to get the keyword list correct before proceeding.
  • Update your ads frequently – Brands need to update their ads regularly to avoid repeatedly showing the customer the same ad. As context changes, so must the ad to avoid being seen as irrelevant. Also, it’s important to space out ads targeted to consumers so as not to create an impression of being pushy.
  • Unclear goals of the campaign, improper measurement – Clearly defining the goals of the campaign and ensuring that the performance being measured maps to those goals will save a lot of marketing budget.

We at Seedtag help large brands and advertisers set up their contextual advertising ecosystem by understanding the product or service and mapping the right campaign to ensure brands can see tangible results and grow. It is important to do all the relevant groundwork, from defining the keywords, segmenting the audience correctly, choosing the best places and time to advertise and much more, before one can leap into leveraging contextual advertising. We are here to help simplify and accelerate the same.

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