All businesses must advertise to survive and those that do it effectively are likely to draw more business. Building a brand image and getting the biggest bang for your buck can be difficult in the online world where millions of companies are competing for similar markets. However, by engaging in contextual advertising it is possible to raise brand image and purchase rates through pre-selecting candidates that are already interested in your product or service (Chung, et. al. 2014).
Contextual advertising uses content matched with an advertising display such as a banner ad, video, music, etc… to attract visitors. It is most commonly offered through companies like Google AdSense, Amazon, and others that provide contextual advertising on web pages. Those who are reading a page exposed to similar advertisements that are more likely to draw their interest.
The authors found that there are two factors in successful contextual advertising. The contextual prime and stimulus as well as the complexity of the advertisement have an impact on the ad’s success. In other words, the placement of the advertisement in a context of language and using appropriate display technology for the audience can improve consumer interest.
Think of contextual prime and stimulus as something that prepares you to be aware of something later. For example, the contextual information primes the advertisements contain on the page. As a visitor reads about outdoor fishing (prime) and then offered advertising displays on fishing trips or fishing equipment they are more receptive to such information. They have been primed and selected based upon their interest.
The complexity of the advertisement should also be considered. Complexity can be seen as the amount of pictures, video, sounds, etc… that attracts attention to an advertisement. Sometimes more is not necessarily better. There is a U type relationship where simplicity or complexity should be based on the target audience. Try not to stick too much into one advertisement.
Creating brand image online is not easy. Some programs work well and others flop in our faces. Research helps us weed through all of the claims these advertisers make. Contextual ads appear to help online branding and overall sales. Advertisements should be placed well within the contextual information and have an appropriate use of technology that is not too high or too little for the target population.
Chung, K., et. al. (2014). Are contextual advertisements effective? International Journal of Advertising, 33 (2).