contextual targeting

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A guide to contextual targeting

An ad for a stroller displayed on a site for expecting parents or a shampoo ad shown before a hair makeover video. Makes a lot of sense, right? 

The method that allows for ads to be displayed alongside highly relevant content is called contextual targeting and can be done through specific keywords or categories relating to the central theme of a website or page.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Before launching a campaign, we choose a set of specific keywords, topics and themes relating to your ads on the Display Network. Google then analyses the content of publishers’ websites and matches it against your chosen keywords, topics, language and location. 

An example would be if you are a restaurant chain looking to run an awareness campaign for your newly-opened branch. If a person is nearby and reading a food blog, your ad might get displayed.

Because the ad isn’t disruptive (the user is already interested in this type of content), the user is more likely to respond positively to your ad. 

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR KEYWORDS

The Google Keyword Planner is a great starting point to start building your keyword list. There are best practices for how to maximise the success from your keyword list. Typically, Google recommends that each ad group should contain anywhere between five to 50 keywords, and they should be shorter and more to the point than the keywords you’d typically use for organic search. 

PLANNING YOUR CAMPAIGN

For a successful contextual ad campaign, it is also important to consider the buying journey of your target group. Do you want to target users in the consideration phase? What type of content will users who are ready to make a purchase consume? By getting a good understanding of this journey, you’ll be able to draft up a more effective list of keywords. 

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

We recently worked with  Bompas & Parr who, together with the Design Museum, organised the competition Fountain of Hygiene to raise funds for the British Red Cross in light of Covid-19. Read more about the campaign. 

The aim of the campaign was to maximise the number of competition entries. To do so, we used contextual targeting to get the ad displayed alongside relevant content and in front of designers and creatives who would be likely to enter the competition. 

Below you’ll find two examples of ad placements for this campaign.

DESIGN WEEK

contextual targeting example

The Design Week placement shows an example of category contextual targeting where a page matches a specific pre-assigned category for which the ad matches. 

The Design Week has a large readership of designers and creatives and our ad would likely fit well alongside any page on the site.

EVENING STANDARD

CONTEXTUAL TARGETING AD EXAMPLE

The Evening Standard  shows a result of keyword contextual targeting where the ad is displayed alongside content that matches a specific keyword.

Although the site isn’t  necessarily specifically targeted towards our main target group, we were still able to display out content alongside highly relevant content.

INTERESTED IN HEARING MORE?

Our team are experts at planning contextual ad campaigns, so if you’re keen to try out this method for your next ad campaign, please get in touch and we’d be more than happy to help you plan it. 

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