Display Defined: Contextual Advertising


May 5, 2021

If I told you that your ad would perform 63% better if you chose its display path vs. your audience’s data being the guide1, would you give it a chance? Now that I have your attention, it’s time to give a little context to contextual advertising and how it serves your association’s member lead generation funnel.

What is Contextual Advertising?
Contextual Advertising, also known as contextual targeting, is a form of programmatic display advertising. By targeting contextually, you, the publisher, define select keywords and topics of content (i.e. web pages) that you would like your ad to appear next to.

[You might be wondering what programmatic advertising is. To keep it crystal, programmatic advertising is a form of ad buying, whereas a demand-side platform (DSP), i.e. algorithm-led software, is used to buy digital advertising in place of traditional ad buying which involves proposals, cost negotiation, sales orders, etc.]

Contextual targeting, often mistaken for behavioral advertising, doesn’t rely on knowing the data of your audience. Instead, contextual advertising depends on the relevancy of a web page’s content for the ad to display on the page to the visitor. In other words, it’s all about the environment fit, not what the web visitor has been searching or viewing in the past.

Here’s an example: Carol, a dental hygienist, is browsing the web and finds an article on 15 ways to improve your patient’s dental health. She sees an ad next to the article that advertises a dental association’s continuous education courses. Based on the content of the web page Carol was viewing, she was contextually targeted with a relevant ad.

The careful targeting methodology behind contextual advertising could be the reason why 61% of ad publishers use contextual ads and also why 24% of advertisers plan to increase their budget for contextual ads2. With such a positive outlook, what makes it a leading targeting method for your association?

Benefits of Contextual Targeting for Associations

  • Relevancy drives ROI. The click-through rate (CTR) of a contextual ad is actually 10x higher than that of a regular display ad3. Think about the example above. Carol would be much more likely to click on the association’s ad for CE courses if she sees it amidst related content. Reason being, the ad isn’t taking away from her browsing experience – it’s enhancing it. Not to mention, your ad doesn’t end up looking spammy because it’s a fitting piece of the web page’s puzzle. Contextual advertising lives up to the right message, right time, right place philosophy.
  • Cookies don’t hold you back. You may have heard about the instability with how cookies will be utilized in the future, if at all. This uncertainty could have you looking to other advertising methods to push your messaging focused on converting prospects to members or selling tickets to events. Since contextual advertising relies upon your selection of topics and keywords, as well as defining what topics or keywords you don’t want your ad targeted to, in order to deliver the ad to relevant web pages and ultimately, its visitors, you have zero risks associated to the cookie debacle. Using contextual targeting eliminates concerns about data privacy due to using website content as its informer for placement, not the past behavior of the visitor.
  • Ad dollars are spent efficiently. Contextual targeting requires fewer resources than other behavioral advertising since user data collection isn’t part of its process. This means your digital marketing dollars are used more efficiently given a lower cost service4. Paired with the relevancy factor, impressions for your contextual ad are more valuable given they’re already qualified by the content around them, thus making your ad dollars work more efficiently for you.

How to Join the Contextual Crowd
Now that you know what contextual advertising can do and its role in your digital marketing strategy, all it takes is setting a budget, preparing your ad content, and identifying target keywords to join other associations that are experiencing the benefits of adding contextual targeting to their tool belt.

To get started, choose Multiview as a partner who not only knows how to fine-tune digital marketing strategies to deliver results, but also understands the ins and outs of associations. Multiview’s experience with 1,200+ associations, serving as an extension to their leadership teams, enables us to help associations drive membership growth, provide additional channels for non-dues revenue, and market more effectively in a digital world. Connect with our partnership team to learn more and discover contextual targeting’s fit in your strategy.

1: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160316005448/en/New-Study-Reveals-Effective-Brands-Connect-Consumers
2: https://www.knorex.com/blog/articles/contextual-targeting
3. https://insights.gumgum.com/hubfs/Contextual-Advertising-the-new-frontier-final-guide.pdf
4. https://adage.com/article/digital/study-suggests-contextual-ads-are-more-cost-efficient-behavioral-advertising/2278266

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