Contextual advertising is a targeted advertising form that displays advertisements on different web pages based on the content of the page. Automated ad networks insert ads onto websites based on the subject of the content a user is viewing.

The various ad networks scan sites for different keywords and draw from a massive database of potential paid ads, placing those most likely to draw clicks (based on relevance) on the website. Contextual ads can be placed on individual web pages, on search engine result pages, alongside emails and on many other web destinations. Most services charge businesses to place the ads on websites on a pay-per-click basis. Other models, such as pay-per impression are available, but the PPC model has become the most effective and widely used.

A good example of a contextual advertising service is Google AdWords. The popular ad network places ads on Google SERPs based on users’ search queries. Ads are placed on SERPs using a special web crawler referred to as Mediabot (instead of Googlebot, which is used for the general web).

The relevant factor of contextual advertising

Conextual advertising has greatly enhanced the effectiveness of paid web marketing campaigns, as the quality of each lead is often higher. By placing advertisements on web pages related to the promoted products or services, the likelihood that a link will appeal to the searcher increases.

Contextual advertising is often paired with SEO campaigns and content marketing to help businesses improve their ROI on marketing spend in both paid and unpaid search marketing.

Without compelling and engaging content on the websites behind the ads, it’s unlikely that a discerning prospect will convert. Therefore, creating dynamic, keyword-rich ad snippets and subsequent landing page content is critical for contextual ad visibility, SEO(L2) and conversions.