Contextual Advertising: What Is Contextual Advertising?

Contextual advertising is advertising on a website that is relevant to the page’s content. In traditional contextual advertising, automated systems display ads related to the content of your site based on keyword targeting. 

One of the more well-known examples of contextual advertising is Google AdSense. Google robots automatically serve ads that relevant to your users. For example, if you run a movie review blog, AdSense might serve contextual ads to buy movie tickets or sign up for a movie streaming service. The ads are selected from the inventory of advertisers who register through AdWords.

Some more examples of contextual advertising include:

  • In-game contextual advertising: Sony’s Wipeout HD was one of the first games to contain contextual advertising before loading.
  • In-video contextual advertising: An example of this type of contextual advertising would be a YouTube ad for shampoo shown before a video tutorial for how to cut your own hair.
  • Native advertising is a form of contextual advertising, where sponsored ads are designed to look like the native content on a website. (This is sometimes seen as a deceptive advertising practice.)
  • Behavioral advertising is expected to become the next frontier of contextual advertising. Behavioral advertising is designed to target the user based on their behavior rather than just the user’s stated preferences.