Have you ever searched for a product, only to find that product following you in advertisements as you surf through blogs and websites? Suddenly everywhere you go, your searched item is there blinking at you, reminding you of your desire to buy?
Does it work? Have you ever clicked and returned to the site and bought?
That’s contextual advertising in play.
What Is Contextual Advertising?
In its purest form, contextual advertising places ad campaigns on websites or pages that are directly relevant to the key terms you selected for the ad you are running.
Contextual ads work for both products and services. If you’ve searched for a new blender, that blender is likely to show up when you visit your favorite food blog looking for recipes for dinner. By the same token, if you’ve recently searched for ways to drive more traffic to your site, an ad for a course on Facebook advertising might follow you as you read the latest post on CNN.com.
Contextual advertising works because we all want relevancy in our daily lives. With the amount of noise we live with every day, having the familiar pop up and remind us of what we really want only helps push us forward in a positive way. We’re living in a world where we love and expect customized content. We only want to see what directly applies to us.
How Does Contextual Advertising Work?
Does this form of advertising excite you? Are you already seeing the possibilities? Wondering how you can get it to work? It all comes down to keywords. Becoming hyper-focused on what keywords work best for your business is the name of the game. And because of that Google AdSense is the platform of choice.
Google AdSense allows you to place all kinds of media – image, video, text – directly onto the pages of sites that participate. This enables you to select the most relevant keywords for your business, and have the ads placed on participating sites. This enables you to reach out to people who might never have seen your products or services in other situations.
This isn’t something you throw up a quick ad and see how it works. This is about structure, testing, and focus. It’s about creating ads that are extremely focused; ads that dive in and touch something inside your potential customer because they feel like you really “get” them.
When you maximize this process, you’ll maximize your conversion too.
Things To Plan For
If you want to use contextual advertising, you’ll quickly learn how to deliver the right message at the right time. And that means tweaking your message over and over again. And again!
To start, put yourself in your customer’s place. What do they want? What do they think about when they use your product? What benefits are they looking for? And how does that change?
That blender we spoke of earlier might be used to mix up summertime fun during the summer months, and be used to get your health back on track in the new year. When you focus in on who your client is and what they want, your keywords change accordingly. You can engage them with your product or service in different ways.
How you do this should change as well. Some of your prospects may prefer to read a quick ad. Some may jump at seeing a graphic or a photo. And others will be motivated by watching a short video. Video has a powerful role in today’s contextual advertising campaigns. It’s a great way to share emotional messages and give them a chance to go viral on social media. Or deliver time-sensitive messages in a creative and fun way.
Of course, you should also consider how your audience will view what you have to say. While many might view your ads from work on their desktop or laptop, just as many may view it from their mobile or tablets. Mobile gives you another advantage of delivering your message at very specific times.
How about delivering a restaurant’s message a short time before lunch? There are many tools and data available when setting up contextual advertising that allows you to reach out to your audience like never before. If you can predict your customers’ patterns, you can be there advertising to them when they’re ready to listen. Watching the data and studying the analytics can be an eye-opener, helping you tweak your delivery times and messages just so.
And if you’re ready to step it up even more, consider what’s coming next: virtual reality. Only the big names like HBO and Coca-Cola are playing in this marketplace right now. But if you know your customers well and know they spend a lot of time in a virtual world, this might be something to explore. VR takes advertising to a whole different level. Instead of engaging them through simple ads, you create a totally immersive experience. Love the ads of polar bears drinking from a bottle? Imagine if you were right there with them!
Where Do You Start?
The good news is it’s just as easy to set up contextual ads as it is for other campaigns you run for your products and services. We use the Google AdWords platform to start a campaign. The Display Network allows you to make all of your choices, what ads to show, what sites to show them on, or even what platform to show up on – why not have your ads show up on Gmail while they’re browsing their email?
Just like other Google advertising methods, with contextual advertising, you’ll have a large target and demographic options available to you. This is where you’ll tweak your messages over time. The more you learn about the behavior of your prospects, the more flexible and pinpointed your messages can become.
To become more effective, the key is to be as specific as you can be. Be specific with your keywords. Be specific with your site pages. People like relevance in today’s world. If you give them what they want, they return the favor.
Have you ever tried contextual advertising before?