Context in advertising

How Important Is Context in Advertising?

Online advertising offers various advantages – among them is to better reach and attract target audiences. Most online advertising platforms also provide targeted advertising tools, which have become increasingly popular.

Contextual advertising is one type of targeted advertising that has gained popularity among brands. But what is contextual advertising, and how does it work?

Let’s take a look at the definition of context in advertising, its importance, and how to create campaigns that utilize context properly.

What Is Contextual Advertising?

Contextual advertising is a method of placing advertisements in appropriate media that fits the ad content. This method is commonly used in online marketing platforms such as Google Ads which will use its algorithm to place advertisements on relevant web pages or search results.

Contextual advertising relies on the target page’s content to determine the best ad placement. For example, you are more likely to see an advertisement for a digital marketing product or service on a business-related website.

What is contextual advertising

Online advertisers usually use demand-side platforms (DSP) as a tool to determine their ad’s desired topics and keywords and identify web pages that fit these parameters.

Why Context in Advertising is important

Creating engaging online advertisements can be challenging due to intense competition and negative attitudes towards advertisements. That is why marketers need to apply various strategies to create attractive ads, including contextual advertising.

Let’s look at four benefits contextual advertising can give you as a business owner or online marketer.

1. Make Your Advertisements More Relevant

When you match your advertisement with the target page content, it is more likely to have relevance with the target audience’s search intent.

For example, when someone clicks on an article about making a good YouTube video, there is a better chance that they will click on an ad for video-editing software. Advertisements that match the page’s content are also less intrusive and won’t impact your brand negatively.

2. Targeted Without Intruding Privacy

Other targeted advertising types like behavioral advertising analyze your target audience’s online activities. It tracks what websites your target audiences visit, what products they click on, and what content they watch.

Although this can be beneficial from the advertiser’s standpoint, many see this method as highly invasive to their privacy. It became such a problem that the EU established the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to protect customers’ privacy.

Companies can avoid potential legal problems related to privacy by relying on contextual advertising instead. In fact, brands that use contextual advertising saw improved return of investment (ROI) following the GDPR.

3. Reduce Fatigue Towards Your Advertisements

Unlike behavioral advertising, context-based advertisements don’t follow the target audience and appear on various irrelevant pages.

For example, target audiences’ might feel annoyed when your ads keep appearing on unrelated articles, social media feeds, or YouTube videos. This can be counterproductive as it negatively affects your brand’s reputation instead of improving awareness.

Contextual advertising can therefore reduce ad fatigue since ads only appear in complementary environments.

4. Leave a Lasting and Positive Impression

Brands should consider whether their advertisements can leave a lasting and positive effect on target audiences. Media-context factors seem to strongly influence and elicit higher recall and recognition for brands or products.

When your advertisements appear only in relevant and reputable content, audiences are likely to see your brand positively. This will also help familiarize your product or service with the right target audience.

How to Create Contextual Advertising

1. Define Your Target Audience

Before creating your advertisement, it’s important to understand your target audiences’ characteristics. Consider their demographics, the types of websites and content they frequently consume, and the ad type they likely prefer.

For example, displaying your ads on entrepreneurship or financial blogs can be great if your target audiences are business owners. On the other hand, displaying ads for kitchenware will do well on recipe websites.

There are multiple ways to know your target audience. Two of the main methods are by conducting market research and competitor analysis. Use tools such as SEMRush, Google Analytics, and Remesh to gather and process this data.

2. Choose Your Advertising Platforms

An essential factor of contextual marketing is choosing the right DSP. This is a type of software that allows you to buy advertising space with the help of automation. Once an advertiser creates ad content, they only need to input the parameters and budget for the campaign.

There are multiple DSP options to choose from. Five of the most popular ones include:

Take your time to research their features, capabilities, and pricing plans. Make sure that you choose a platform that suits your needs and provides a targeted solution.

3. Decide the Ad Format

Online advertisers can create various ad formats to fit their target audience’s preferences or match the intended message. Some examples include image ads, video ads, responsive ads, and product shopping ads. However, the types of ad formats available also depend on what platform you use.

Each of these ad formats is intended for different types of web pages. For example, video ads will appear before, after, or in the middle of video content on websites that partner with your chosen ad platform.

Ad format

Choose formats that have the best potential for engagement based on your target audiences’ and products’ characteristics, but note that this process may take some trial and error.

4. Create the Ad Content

There are several factors you need to consider when designing ads. Firstly, choose specific and appropriate keywords that fit your target audiences’ search intent to improve the chances of getting your ads displayed.

Additionally, use a brief and strong copy that effectively delivers your product’s or service’s value proposition. Then, consider including a call to action to encourage audience engagement.

Pay attention to various design elements for your display ads, as well, such as color palettes, typography, business logo, and image size.

5. Test and Track Your Ad Performance

Another essential task when running online advertising campaigns is regularly measuring and evaluating how they perform. Even after applying the methods mentioned above, it doesn’t mean that your advertisements will automatically deliver the best results.

Test and track ad performance

Image source

Testing and tracking enable you to develop improvements and advertising strategies that better suit your product characteristics and audiences’ preferences. A/B testing is one of the methods to consider when testing your advertising performance.


Context in advertising is a targeted advertising method that uses several parameters such as keywords and topics to enable ads to appear on relevant web pages. This method offers advertisers numerous benefits, including to:

  • Make their advertisements more relevant
  • Target audiences without intruding on their privacy
  • Reduce fatigue towards their advertisements
  • Leave a lasting and positive impression

Aside from exploring what makes context important in advertising, we also learned five crucial steps to create contextual advertisements.

Now that you have a deeper understanding of contextual advertising, you are ready to apply it in your campaigns. Follow the tips presented in this article to create engaging advertisements and attract more customers.