Contextual Targeting 101

Updated: Jul 14


The practice of displaying advertising based on a website's content is known as contextual targeting. Consider placing a keyboard ad on a gaming blog or a dance shoe ad on a musical theater forum. It's similar to placing a print ad in a specialty magazine on the internet. Contextual targeting raises the bar on keyword marketing. Customers are more likely to respond to contextually relevant advertising. This means you'll pay less money on ads and have more control over which apps, websites, or platforms your ads appear on. Ads are served based on what the consumer is looking at, when they're looking at it, and where they're looking at it.

There's the more well-known form known as category contextual targeting, which places advertisements on pages that fit into predetermined categories, and contextual keyword targeting, which places advertising on pages that match particular terms.

Then there is semantic targeting as well. Semantic targeting is a more advanced kind of contextual targeting that involves utilizing machine learning to comprehend the meaning of each page of material rather than just looking for keywords that match. This type of targeting is effective. A crawler crawls the internet and sorts of sites into categories based on context and semantics. When a user views a page, the ad server receives the page's content information and matches it with appropriate advertising for the keywords and content.

Contextual targeting can also work based on the weather. Known as weather targeting, you can serve ads during forecasted weather conditions. This can come in real handy if you sell car washes, sunblock, umbrellas, or ponchos

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Benefits of Contextual Advertising




Convenient and Cost-Effective Execution

According to an Adage analysis, contextual advertising is substantially less expensive than the alternatives. Because data collecting is the foundation of behavioral advertising, its implementation necessitates a significant amount of human and financial resources. You'll also need methods, techniques, and software to ensure that the entire process is properly optimized. Brands with little resources have a minimal probability of successfully deploying behavioral advertising campaigns.

Contextual advertising is the most logical alternative since it allows organizations to display relevant adverts to their audience without spending a lot of money or complying with privacy requirements. It's a lot easier to set up and less expensive, especially for startups and small businesses.

Stay Relevant to Your Customers


Past conduct isn't always an accurate indicator of a customer’s current requirements and needs. This isn't meant to dismiss behavioral advertising; it has its place, but as we said earlier, it's important to note that it isn't necessarily the most effective advertising tactic.


Customers don’t like being bombarded with items they may have bought in the past but don’t need now. However, an ad for a sport’s drink on a running blog, for example, may be much more well received.


The objective of contextual marketing is to generate customer interactions by predicting their desires. Not only do you get to get your brand in front of the consumer, but since your adverts are carefully targeted, customized, and strategically positioned at the moment your client is already thinking about that kind of product, your conversion rates and sales statistics will grow. This is far more successful than large-scale, conventional mass marketing campaigns that target the whole population as opposed to a narrow niche.

Work Around Google’s Third-Party Cookie Shut Down

By 2023, Google Chrome will no longer employ third-party cookies, joining a growing list of browsers that have abandoned the infamous tracking tactic.


Some companies may fear this brave new world on the horizon. On the other hand, many leading brands see it as an opportunity to refresh and reset their targeting strategies. Several well-known companies are contemplating techniques such as focusing on segmented audiences rather than over-targeting clients using their cookies. This highlights the importance of contextual data in the advertising business. It's safe to presume that eliminating third-party cookies will improve data quality and reliability.

Getting Started with Contextual Targeting




What is the working methodology behind contextual advertisements, and how are they placed? Hyper-targeted advertising is the term used here. By selecting the proper keywords and connecting them with the material accessible on the website, ads are displayed on relevant websites or blogs. Google AdSense, for example, analyzes the material to determine the central theme, then matches it to relevant keywords, themes, demographics, users, and browsing behaviors to determine where it should appear. Users may not be looking for you, but Google AdSense may serve them dynamic content based on their browser history and real-time data.

Choose Your Parameters

To find the best ad placements for a contextual campaign, you must first know what your campaign is about. Select your categories. Start with broad categories like 'Music & Arts' or 'Autos & Vehicles,' most networks will let you refine it down to ‘K-pop' or 'convertibles.' Then, you can define your keywords: Keywords help you to more precisely target the relevant ad placements. To help restrict your emphasis, Google recommends using 5-50 keywords in your campaign. Negative keywords, for example, allow marketers to exclude particular publications or themes.

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Allow the DSP to Examine the Network Inventory

Your DSP is your demand-side platform. A demand-side platform is a technology that allows buyers of digital ad inventory to handle several ad exchanges and data exchange accounts from a single interface. Your DSP takes over once you've specified the settings for your contextual targeting campaign. It will search across its network's material to discover the greatest matches. You may usually choose whether you want your reach to be broad or narrow. This will influence whether your adverts appear on pages that are related to your topics or, more specifically, pages that are related to your keywords.

Publish Your Ad

All that’s left after that is to publish your ad. Make sure you've set appropriate KPIs and that your ads are accompanied by well-designed creatives. Then, after everything is in order, you can start placing your adverts. It's critical to pay attention to your data and measure your KPIs, testing, and tweaking until you have a properly optimized campaign, as it is with any campaign.

Using Programmatic Advertising with Contextual Targeting

The use of software to purchase digital advertising is known as programmatic ad purchasing. While traditional methods include calls for proposals, tenders, quotes, and negotiations, programmatic buying buys and sells online advertising space using algorithmic software.

Contextual ad targeting paired with programmatic advertising allows marketers to get the most out of their advertising budget by bidding on high-value impressions and changing the definition of "high-value" on the fly. The proper partner provides you the ability to use data in real-time to make sure you're getting the most out of your money. It's a formidable force when combined with contextual targeting.​​

Advertisers will be able to personalize and optimize their ads with AI, allowing them to better target their campaigns and improve revenue. AI technology can broaden your keyword targeting depending on a variety of parameters, increasing your reach while maintaining campaign accuracy.

7Social can help you optimize your targeting using a wide range of programmatic ad tech solutions and platforms.

Final Thoughts

When advertisers talk about contextual advertising, they’re referring to a marketing plan that is completely dependent on the user's current environment. Everything about that environment is considered, from content and keywords to graphics and online copy, in order to properly advertise contextual marketing content.

Contextual advertising places power in the hands of advertisers or ad publishers rather than the user, allowing them to focus on the visitor's current behavior rather than previous conduct. Furthermore, contextual advertising is significantly more cost-effective and simpler to deploy. It is a viable option for new and small businesses.


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