Contextual targeting is one of the methods used to show ads in the Display Network. With this method, your ads are assigned to placements according to the context of the page and your ad. There are two sources of information Google uses to determine ad placement with contextual targeting. First is Google’s own information about the webpage content, which it uses to determine the page’s central theme. Next, Google uses information from your Display Network campaigns. Keywords are the most important piece here–they provide the basic link between your ads and possible placements. Once suitable webpages are found, Google further narrows the list to the most appropriate placements by taking into account your language settings, location targeting, and even the search history of the user.
- Contextually targeted display ad
The picture above shows an ad that was placed with contextual targeting. On the allrecipes.com
“chocolate candy” section, in the upper right corner, we see an ad for a grocery store featuring decorated cupcakes. Google used its information about the ad and the page that I was on to tempt me to indulge in my sweet tooth. The interesting part here is that contextual targeting will automatically adjust placements to show your ads on webpages where viewers are more likely to convert. In the example above, the ad is appropriate because someone looking for recipes of chocolate deserts could easily be persuaded to go buy cupcakes instead of making them by hand. However, the ad might not be as effective on a page like “The History of Chocolate Candy” because these users are probably just looking for information. These users will be less likely to convert, even if the ad and its keywords match well with the content of the page.