Contextual advertising is advertising that enables publishers to display ads relevant to the website’s content. An automated system is required to display ads related to the context of your site based on keyword targeting. AdSense is the first platform of contextual advertising.

For example, if you visit a basketball news website you might see ads related to stores selling basketballs or other basketball related accessories. Similarly, if you visit mobile review websites, you might see ads related to stores selling mobile phones. This is how a contextual advertising system analyzes the content on the webpage and display ads accordingly.

As contextual advertising is precisely targeted so they are more likely to be clicked by the users. This helps in boosting website revenue for many publishers.

How contextual advertising work?

Contextual advertising follows several steps to make sure that a user sees an ad related to the content of the site. The steps are listed below:

1. Keyword selection or topic based parameters for targeting

Publishers have to select different parameters or topic to define their content because an advertising system needs to know about your campaign in order to display your ads on relevant pages. In short, the keyword or topic you have selected must match the central theme of your website.

2. Advertising system analyzes the pages

After the ad request is sent, an advertising system tries to match your ad with the most relevant content. There are a couple of options in the advertising system to choose between broad and specific reach. If you choose broad reach, ads will be selected based on topics and if you choose specific reach keywords are matched before an ad is selected.

3. The suitable ad is served

After the advertising system completes the above analysis, a suitable ad is then served.


Understanding different methods of digital advertising will help you become a successful publisher. However, publishers must try different formats and techniques of ads monetization to find out whether which works better for them.