The Good And The Bad Of Contextual Advertising

Anuja Aggarwal

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Contextual advertising is a type of online advertising commonly used for content-based websites. With contextual advertising, targeted ads appear based on the page's actual content.

First, a contextual advertising system scans the text of a webpage for keyword phrases. Then, the system returns specific, targeted ads based on the content people are viewing.

If a person is looking at a page of art supplies, the ads in those pages would be of art suppliers, painting sellers, online art museums, and such.

Contextual ads appear as:

  • Separate ads that are placed in specific areas of the page
  • Inline or in-text contextual ads
Sponsored links ads

Generally these ads are text ads with links to the related websites. The website owner can choose the location on his website where he would like to place contextual ads. Your ad will come in a box labeled sponsored links. You will need to use the services of pay-per-click search engines to do contextual advertising. This format is popularized by Google Adwords and Adsense.

Inline ads

Inline ads appear in the form of links to the text phrases in the content of the website. When the mouse hovers over that phrase, a short description will come in a box that looks like a tool-tip. If the reader wishes to know more, he can simply click on the link.

Advantages of contextual advertising

  • You get to reach only those people who are already looking for that information or related information
  • You pay only if anybody clicks on your link
  • Such links don't annoy people
  • If the information you provide is good the user gets delighted
Disadvantages of contextual advertising

  • It distracts people away from the content they want to read
  • If the location of the ad is between the content, then people might get annoyed
  • Such ads have become so common that web users have started ignoring them
  • Your competitors’ ads might get placed along with your ads
  • Serious users who are looking for information generally do not click on ads

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