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Contextual Advertising For Publishers: Skyrocket Your Revenue

Publishers are a crucial part of a rich, complex advertising ecosystem. Through publishers, advertisers can show their ads to users to turn them into clients and buyers. Publishers spend a lot of time and effort to create engaging, user-friendly websites with valuable content that draws advertisers. Where most types of ads aren’t affected by content (or the context thereof), contextual ads are heavily reliant on the content publishers create.

While there are several undeniable benefits for advertisers, what are the benefits for publishers? In this article, we’re going to explain:

  • What contextual targeting is, and why it’s relevant to publishers.
  • The differences between behavioral and contextual targeting.
  • The benefits of using contextual advertising for publishers.

We’ll start with a brief explanation of contextual targeting.

What Is Contextual Advertising And How Is It Relevant For Publishers?

Unlike behavioral targeting, contextual advertising relies on the “context” of a page’s content to determine which ads to show. For example, if users view a page regarding secure online browsing, they’re more likely to see ads for VPN software. However, if they were looking at a cooking site, they’d instead see an advertisement showing kitchen appliances. That relevance between the content and the ads is the cornerstone of contextual targeting.

At rev•amp, we scan the pages from our publishers’ network, ensuring our system understands the context of each page. We then use the information to match the best possible ads to your content, increasing the odds of users clicking on these ads. Consequently, our publishers can boast higher CTRs and generate more revenue as a result.

The Benefits Of Contextual Targeting For Publishers

Below, we will look at a few of the critical benefits of contextual advertising for publishers. While there may be many others, these are the primary advantages in our experience.

Greater Trust In Relationships With Advertisers

Brands care about their reputation, and they can’t afford to have their ads shown on offensive or damaging content. Advertisers need to know that they can trust publishers. Luckily, many publishers understand this need. In fact, 58% of publishers feel that establishing trust and ensuring brand safety is one of the most essential factors of retaining an effective relationship with advertisers.

Contextual targeting adds another layer of security to that relationship. Since ads are only shown on relevant content, advertisers can trust that their ads won’t be placed next to, before, or after content that will negatively impact their brand reputation. In turn, publishers can establish more profitable relationships, whether through standard programmatic contextual ads or premium direct deals.

More Relevance To A Publisher’s Audience

It’s just as important to publishers to show relevant ads to users as it is to advertisers. Advertisers won’t see a worthwhile investment if users don’t view and click on these ads. That, in turn, will drop a publisher’s revenue.

Relevance is a key element of effective advertising. Traditionally, programmatic ads rely on data from third-party cookies to show users relevant ads on publisher sites. Unfortunately, according to a Forrester study, 35% of advertisers blame bad data for wasted ad spend and inaccurate targeting.

Contextual targeting allows advertisers to trust that their ads will be displayed next to relevant content, appealing to users who are interested in their products or service at the most opportune time. That’s a great advantage for publishers - not only does it make their content play a critical role in determining which ads to show, they also have a better relationship with advertisers and can generate more revenue from views and clicks.

Higher Click-Through Rates Generate More Revenue

To advertisers, click-through rates, viewability, and engagement matter. When an advertiser bids for ad space on a publisher’s site, they intend to get a return on their investment by way of a user viewing or clicking on their ad. Consequently, publishers need to optimize their ads and ad placements to ensure they draw a user’s attention without being intrusive.

In our tests at rev•amp, we’ve found that contextual ads can boast a click-through rate up to x3 times! - that’s significantly higher than the 0.01% of cookie-based ads! However, statistics show that advertisers already recognize the potential of contextual targeting. In fact, 59% of publishers claim that they get better deals from advertisers if they include contextual ads.

The New York Times introduced contextual advertising to their website in 2020. According to the publisher, they’ve generated as much revenue from contextual targeting in the first two quarters of the year as they did throughout 2019. Their impressions are also up by 15%, while advertisers are willing to pay as much as 50% more for contextual ads.

Since contextual ads can appear naturally amongst content, they’re also less intrusive while still appealing to users. Since they focus on a user’s current interests and needs based on the content they’re viewing, it’s more likely that a site visitor will click through to the advertiser’s site. Consequently, publishers benefit by building stronger relationships, getting better deals, and boosting their revenue - all without destroying the user experience.

Future-Proof Approach To Personalized Ad Targeting

Effective advertising has always relied on some form of personalization. That’s why most programmatic ads and targeting methods depend on third-party cookies to determine which ads to show to users. These cookies “follow” users around as they browse the web, telling advertisers whether a user has recently shown interest in their services or products. Unfortunately, many people find third-party cookies intrusive, and many data privacy laws limit what these cookies can do without user permission.

In addition to legal restrictions, many of the most popular browsers now block cookies by default. Even Google will be doing away with third-party cookies by 2023. These factors have left many publishers and advertisers scrambling for alternatives.

Since contextual targeting focuses on the context of a page’s content rather than the visitor’s browsing history, no third-party cookies are required. That makes contextual advertising a “future-proof” targeting method without sacrificing personalization. It’s also far less intrusive while being far more effective.

Conclusion: Is Contextual Advertising Necessary?

There are pros and cons to using contextual targeting. However, the advantages far outstrip the disadvantages for publishers. Not only can publishers build stronger trust relationships with advertisers, but they can also boost and future-proof their revenue. These are just some of the reasons contextual advertising is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to target ads.

If you’re still not sure whether contextual ads are a good fit for your site, it’s a good idea to speak with an expert. At rev•amp, we’re confident that the results speak for themselves and that contextual targeting can benefit almost any publisher.

Filipe is a Senior Business Analyst focusing on Pricing & Yield at Softonic. As a Senior Business Analyst, Filipe is responsible for maximizing the revenue yielded from the traffic generated by all our properties, including rev•amp, Softonic’s new publisher monetization platform. Within rev•amp Filipe oversees the pricing strategy, as well as being on the constant lookout for opportunities to improve monetization capabilities.
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