Contextual Traffic: What Is It And Why Should You Care?

Contextual Traffic: What Is It And Why Should You Care?

Advertising has always been one of the most important sectors of any business. During ancient times, people would advertise their products by singing or shouting in the market areas. With papers came posters then radio and television gave marketing a new and attractive look. But as the internet came into being, online marketing has been the most efficient way of marketing. Keeping that in mind, what is contextual traffic or advertisement? And how is it different?

Contextual traffic or advertisement is the type of advertisement that relates to the content you are seeing on the web page or a video. It is true to the context of the theme you are looking for and focuses much more to be of help than just being a random click-bait advertisement. 

Contextual advertising is becoming the new face of efficient advertisements. Instead of focusing on the consumer’s data, it focuses on the data that the consumers are rather interested in. This breaks the traditional cookie-based advertisement system and brings in better results, as the audience can relate to the product that is being advertised and is interested in it. Not only this is efficient in getting more customers, but it is also very cost-efficient. 

What Is Contextual Traffic?

In simple words, contextual traffic or advertisement is the kind of advertisement that will be related to the context of the materials you are browsing. This kind of advertisement has been there since the early 2000s with the development of internet advertising. One of the earliest examples of contextual advertising would be Google AdSense. Using this the Google AI would try to grab the concept of the material you are viewing and show you a related advertisement.

Contextual advertisement is very much unlike the kind of advertisement we have come to know about. Generally, the producers try to advertise their products to make the people interested in getting them. I have seen television ads, newspaper ads, radio ads, and even a lot of ads on the internet that have less to do with our interest, rather those are to program us in such a way that we get interested in the products that are being shown to us by the advertisement.

But this is where the contextual advertisement is quite different. Rather than making you interested in the product, the advertisement works with the things you are interested in. But it also doesn’t try to predict your behavior like the behavioral advertisements. Its main intention is to try to figure out what kind of content you are looking at in the webpage or the video and cross out what you might not be interested in. By using that data it shows you a related advertisement.

A good example of a contextual advertisement would be, getting an advertisement about a skincare product while viewing a skincare video. Or getting an advertisement about car paints when you are viewing a webpage about car paints. As you can see, all the advertisements are relevant to the topic you are browsing through. The popup ad’s only focus will be the context, so even if you are bald and you view a haircare video, it will suggest you hair care products.

Contextual advertisement doesn’t require cookie or user data unlike a lot of forms of online advertisement. How it functions is rather simple and very futuristic. For example, you go to a website looking for the contents that interest you. What the ad engine will do is try to figure out what kind of content you are viewing, the themes, and the knowledge of the video to extract the data of what kind of advertisement is suitable in this context.

The algorithms of the engine are set in a way to evaluate the content you are viewing into three categories. The categories are ‘safety, suitability, and relevance.’ Evaluating these three factors the algorithm will try to produce the most suitable advertisement for you. This might also take into account the seasons, the time of the day, and other external factors to make the advertising more sufficient and more attractive for you.

Not only contextual advertisements focus in the right direction when it comes to placing products, but it is also very efficient. Studies have suggested that contextual targeting can increase the intent to purchase by 63% of the audience. It also suggests that 73% of the consumers are comfortable and felt the advertisements are relevant to what they were looking for. 83% of the viewers are most likely to recommend the advertised products that are shown. 

Not only this is good for the consumers, but the producers are also highly benefited by this. As their products are shown in the relevant places, the consumers are more likely to get interested easily and grow curiosity. Study shows that the brand favorability is 40% higher when it comes to contextual advertisements. And 40% of the time these advertisements trigger a neutral engagement.

Why Is Contextual Traffic Important?

Contextual traffic is very significant for the development and betterment of online advertising. It is not only going to change the dynamics of trust between the producers and the consumers but also, make marketing more relevant and interesting. In other words, contextual traffic is probably the most ethical approach towards online advertisement while keeping into consideration the safety of the consumer’s data and brand relevance.

In recent years, we have seen how user data are being mercilessly used by big companies and they are trying to program our behavioral pattern. In the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal, we got to know how the consumers have become the product on the online market. There are a lot of data firms that are working every day to analyze our behavioral patterns and make a user profile based on them.

Different websites are using cookies and complicated terms while getting our private data almost effortlessly. As a result, the advertisements that are being shown to us, are programmed around our behavior rather than what we are actually looking for. This is creating a fake environment of demand among the consumers making them buy products that they were not initially interested in. Not only this is unethical but also this is in some way a theft. 

The products you are being shown are pretty likely based on the things you were interested in the past week or month and can overload you with very unnecessary advertisements. This is where contextual advertising is the most important. Rather than exploiting the consumer’s data and behavior and programming them to get interested in products they might not need, contextual advertising focuses on the contents the consumers are viewing. 

With almost no data taken from the viewers, the AI is trying to recommend the best product that goes with the context of your searched topic. The advertisements are based on your current curiosity and are up to date. It is being able to show you the best recommendation without even having to dive into your personal life. For these reasons, ethically and due to its effectiveness, contextual advertisement is very important.

Native Traffic Vs Contextual Traffic

Native traffic is very closely related to contextual traffic. It can be even termed as a branch of contextual traffic. But in reality, native advertising and contextual advertisement have their fair share of differences. Both of them do follow the same concept of being related to the context but the way the advertisements are presented draws the line between these two marketing ideologies.

Native advertisements are paid ads that come off as the content you are looking for. In plain view, it is hard to figure out these advertisements. The native advertisement is simply advertising the product in a way that will match your wanted content, theme, context and will give you information while advertising their product. In fact, the whole content that you are reading is an advertisement itself.

If you look closely at different website’s recommended sections, you will see sponsored contents that will be related to what you have been looking for. For example, under a fishing tips webpage, you might find different contents like “Top 10 best fishing rods”. These contents are sponsored and are written as an advertisement for the products that are featured in that article. You might not even realize it but all that you are seeing are advertisements.

This can be unethical as a consumer must have a clear idea when they are advertised something. It is no less than fooling the consumers and making them believe they are seeing legit content that they were interested in. Even though the whole advertisement has relevance to the context of their search, it is still sponsored and biased towards the products that paid for it. It raises a big ethical question as to if this should be practiced or not.

The main difference between contextual advertising and native advertising is the fact, contextual advertisement won’t try to hide you from the fact that you are being advertised something. You will have a clear awareness about the products that you are being shown and have the full authority to not view the advertisement. While the native advertisement will be focusing on grabbing your attention on their product by decorating content for you.


  • Tristan

    Tristan has a strong interest in the intersection of artificial intelligence and creative expression. He has a background in computer science, and he enjoys exploring the ways in which AI can enhance and augment human creativity. In his writing, he often delves into the ways in which AI is being used to generate original works of fiction and poetry, as well as to analyze and understand patterns in existing texts.