The Resurgence of Contextual Advertising

09.21.2023 Nick Zinkie4 min

Despite Google Chrome pushing back its deadline to 2024 for the phase-out of third-party cookies, 42% of brands planned to increase their spending on contextual ads in 2023. 

With cookies soon biting the dust contextual advertising is projected to increase year over year by ~13% with further increases to follow pushing spending to over 562 billion by 2030.

What is contextual advertising?

As you may have inferred from the name its targeted advertising based on context also known as contextual targeting. So rather than targeting a specific user based on viewing or purchasing habits you’re marrying your ad with the context of the placement. 

For example, think of a local restaurant advertising their products on a popular food and travel blog site with pages dedicated to their city. The context of that site and page likely lends well to an audience who likes finding new eateries nearby.

How does contextual advertising work?

Contextual ads work by using a variety of factors to determine the relevance of an ad to the content of a webpage thanks in part to AI and machine learning. These factors or data points can include:

  • Keywords in the web page’s title and meta description
  • Topic of the webpage
  • Sentiment of the webpage
  • Location of the user
  • Device that the webpage is being viewed on
  • Ad load of the webpage

Once these factors have been analyzed, the advertiser can then choose to target their ads to web pages that are deemed to be relevant.

Why has contextual advertising seen a resurgence?

Contextual advertising has become popular in recent years due to several factors, including:

  • The increasing privacy concerns of consumers make them more likely to click on ads that they feel are relevant to their interests and not based on their personal information.
  • The deprecation of third-party cookies, making it harder to track a person’s behavior across different websites which historically gave advertisers the ability to leverage behavioral targeting. 
  • The rise of programmatic advertising. Programmatic advertising is a way to buy and sell digital advertising space programmatically, meaning that it is done automatically through software. This makes it easier for advertisers to target ads based on contextual factors, such as the content of the webpage where the ad will appear.

What are the benefits of contextual advertising?

Fortunately, there are a number of benefits to using contextual advertising vs. other methods, including:

  • More relevant and engaging in the locations they appear, improving the chance of connection and resulting in higher click-through rates.
  • More privacy-friendly without the need for personal data, making it more appealing to consumers who are concerned about their privacy.
  • More effective and cost-friendly resulting in 50% more clicks than non-contextual ads.

How to get started with contextual advertising.

If you are interested in getting started with contextual advertising, there are a few things you need to do:

  • Find a contextual advertising platform or partner that meets your business needs.
  • Build your ad campaign strategy which will involve setting your budget, targeting criteria, and creative messaging.
  • Once your ad campaigns are running, you will need to monitor their results by translating the analytics into actionable key performance indicators or KPIs. This will help you to determine which campaigns are performing well and which ones need to be adjusted.

Contextual advertising can be a great way to reach your target audience with relevant and effective ads. If you’re in the market for an advertising partner, we would love to help you. Contact us for more information on how we can help promote your business.

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About the Author

Nick Zinkie

Nick is the Sr. Performance Marketing Manager for Cox Media’s corporate team with over 8 years of experience designing and implementing digital programs within B2B, B2C, and D2C (DTC) environments. He started his career as a web designer/developer and is passionate about telling compelling stories that help connect customers to brands through digital experiences. Outside of the digital world, you can find Nick having dance parties with his cute little toddler Cora, supporting his favorite soccer team Atlanta United, and enjoying a fresh cup of coffee.

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