Contextual Ads Tutorial: Article on Contextual Text Advertising
I was recently interviewed for an article focusing on Contextual ads and wrote up the following responses by email.
Happy to chime in on contextual advertising, since it has been very good to me. I actually wrote an article when Google first introduced Adsense contextual ads and the article generated so much interest in my own web site that I saw a huge spike in traffic, and since I had Google contextual advertising there, made a hefty chunk of change from click-throughs on those ads the week the article was distributed. Since then it has produced steady income for several years for me. Most of that income from three very popular pages – one on “Open Source Ecommerce” another on “Creating and Sending HTML Email” and the last about “Affordable Health Care“.
Here are my responses to the questions:
Question: What is contextual advertising?
“Contextual Advertising” has grown significantly since its introduction and offers several types of ads, including video. It has grown from simple text ads to much more sophisticated hybrids of behavioral ads served by major ad networks. Contextual ads are ads which reflect the content of the page they appear on.
Question: How does it work?
Ad relevance is determined by an ad network crawler (or spider) which looks at the text on a page and the title of the article (and web page title) and then dynamically inserts ads which most closely match the page topic on keyword driven advertising inventory from networks of advertisers.
Question: Who are the major players?
Google is the dominant player with Adsense (as it is known by publishers) and Adwords (as it is known by advertisers) and now YouTube with Adsense for publishers
Yahoo Publisher Network and Microsoft Ad Center are also players, albeit small by comparison.
Question: What do you think entry-level media and marketing professionals need to know about contextual advertising?
That it is more effective on some sites than others and also more effective in some industries than others. Within Adwords, this is known as advertising to the “Content network” and many choose to disable content network ads entirely because conversion ratio is quite low in some categories. Demographics and quality of visitors is difficult to determine across content network buys.
Question: What are some do???s and don???ts when it comes to contextual advertising?
Test before investing on the agency advertising side. Ad effectiveness testing by an advertising client is imperative before they put large contextual campaigns in place across the content network. At the same time, it is very effective on search results pages, which are “contextual” to the search phrases used by searchers – but generally not seen as “content advertising”.
For web publishers, there is little downside to contextual advertising. Using contextual advertising on the publishing side is rarely a bad move as those contextual ads always out-perform display ad CPM by sizable margins.