So what is contextual advertising and why should you care? I thought you'd never ask. You know how when you read a magazine, the pages are littered with ads? Context ads do the same thing, but with a twist. It's a way of distributing Pay Per Click search results across the Net.
Here's how it works: the text of a web page is scanned for "keywords" or a theme, then ads are shown that are related to the page's content. A website's content is matched up with the advertisers' keywords. For example,if I were reading a page about dogs. there would be pet related ads, usually contained in the right hand side or sometimes the top and bottom of the pages.
Unlike ads that are shown on Search Engine results pages, these ads are dynamic and allow you to reach people in a different mode other then search. Some call this more of a "shopping mode." Whatever you want to call it, context ads are distributed through millions of partner sites across the Internet.
Some advertisers claim that click thru rates are lower for this type of ad, compared to standard PPC search results ads. You might want to do your own testing to validate that claim for yourself.
There are two ways to approach contextual advertising: as a publisher, and as an advertiser.
Website publishers can earn extra money by displaying ads and enhancing their content. This is not a bad way to earn extra income that might just pay for your web hosting bills, and then some.
Advertisers may find that context ads provide yet another means of attracting targeted traffic. You only pay for click thrus, not exposure. Make sure your ads are narrowly focused, i.e., they should only deal with one topic. You can also "pre qualify" prospects by using what's called "negative qualifiers" in your ad's description. Some examples are "For men over 35," or "For Career Women." This helps to insure that only your target market will click and not those for whom your product or service may not be suitable.
If you've been doing Pay Per Click advertising with Google and Overture, make sure you haven't been participating already in context ads. Many times your ads will be shown on their context networks as the default when registering, and it's up to you to opt out. You should always manage your context ads separately from your search to see which is working best.
Google and Overture are the "Kings of PPC" and both offer contextual advertising, but there are many other smaller companies to take a look at. Whether you're a publisher with web pages to fill or an advertiser looking for more exposure, there's something for everyone here.
1) Kanoodle: Calling their contextual ad program "BrightAds," small to medium sized publishers may display Kanoodle ads on their sites.
BrightAds are more relevant to your site's content due to the fact that they map ads by topics instead of keywords. It's easy to sign up and Kanoodle offers a variety of ad formats to choose from and also offers PayPal as an option for your monthly commission checks.
Their program for advertisers is called "ContextTarget." Your ads are placed adjacent to editorial content of sites such as MSNBC, CBS, Market Watch, USA Today, and AutoBytel.com. You select the topics that best describe the products and services you sell, set up your ads, and set bid amounts. The minimum bid price is $.20 but runs up to $2.10, depending on market demand for the types of pages you wish to be displayed on.
2) Overture: Their advertiser program is called "Content Match." Your ads will appear on pages of their partner sites, such as Yahoo, MSN.com, CNN.com and ESPN.com. Overture makes it easy to keep your context bids separated from your PPC Search Engine ads. This makes it easy to track your return on investment from both types.
3) Google: The program for advertisers is called AdWords, while the one for publishers is called AdSense.
Publishers must first get accepted and approved into the program and are paid when they reach $100.00 in click thrus. You may choose to display only text ads or image ads as well. For more, see http://tinyurl.com/6e3uh
With Adwords, your ads will appear on their network of high quality partner sites which are all Adsense users, including N.Y Times Digital, Village, Weather.com, Primedia,, CNET and others. Text ads are also shown inside emails of Google's new Gmail account users. Google allows you to opt into contextual ads and keep them separated from your search results so you can view reports for each individually.
Context ads are displayed two to four on a page. You can set the daily amount you want to spend and your credit card will be charged monthly according to your wishes. If you're using Adwords now but don't know if you're being displayed in the "context ads," you'll need to log into your control panel to see if you have that option selected. See
Several ad formats are available, such as 468x60, 728x90 and others. Very similar to Adsense in formats that are available. Advertisers pay $25.00 to open an account and pay a flat cost per click, which means no bullying for position, as with some of the other Pay Per Clicks out there. You select the sites you want your ads to be displayed upon.
5) Clicksor: Serving over 200 million impressions every month and partnering with over 10,000 specialized websites. As an advertiser you can run text or graphic ads that only appear on sites that best match your keyphrases. The higher you bid, the the higher placement your ad receives. For more, see: http://tinyurl.com/4yflt
For publishers, Clicksor pays you 60% of the advertisers' clicks that your site generates. You must earn over $50.00 to be paid for the month or your earnings will rollover to the next. Free to join:
6) Bidvertiser: Publishers can join free to display text ads on their websites. You can customize the look of all ads you display and block any unwanted ones. You must earn a minimum of $10.00 in a month to be paid by PayPal or $25.00 minimum to be cut a check. For more information, see: http://tinyurl.com/4g23d
Advertisers can choose the sites to run their ads on and only pay for click thrus. You set a cap on how much you'd like to spend daily, weekly, or monthly. Your bids are automatically adjusted so you only pay 1 cent more than your competition. No minimum monthly spend at this time. Advertisers find out more by visiting:
7) RevenuePilot: Publishers can fill out an online application to be approved to display RevenuePilot's ads. They do favor original content type of sites. Advertisers are paid 60% of each search terms bidded value. To be paid for the month, you'll have to have earned a minimum of $25.00. You can sign up here: https://secure.revenuepilot.com/signup.jsp
8) BidClix: If you're a publisher, you'll find BidClix has strict guidelines for joining their network. Your website needs to be approved first, then you'll be sent some HTML code to add to your pages. The types of ads served are skyscrapers, banners or pop unders. For more, see:
With over 30 million ads served per day, advertisers are sure to find targeted websites to run their ads. Advertisers can open an account for only $25.00 You select the "channels," such as entertainment, news, health, etc., that you want to bid on and pay as little as five cents per click. For more, see: http://www.bidclix.com/AdvTop.html
9) FindWhat: Targeting small to mid-sized businesses, Findwhat calls their program "AdRevenue Xpress," and uses category or keyword targeting for distributing their ads. At this time, this program is only available to existing FindWhat advertisers. Go to: http://www.findwhat.com/content/advertiser/index.asp
Publishers who want to display ads on their pages can choose between a search box that returns ads from Findwhat, or display text ads directly on their sites. You earn a portion of all click thrus and Findwhat offers a 10% reward bonus to publishers who also reinvest their share of what they earn back into their own Findwhat Advertising Account. For more, see their site: http://FindWhat.com
10) SearchFeed: This is a private label feed program. Webmasters can display relevant information and earn extra cash at the same time. Real time reports, publishers earn from 35 to 50% of all click revenue. For more, see
11) ContextAd: Serving up contextual ads with high precision. Publishers can choose from a variety of ad units and also have access to their very own dedicated account manager.
Publishers need to be approved before they can display their ads on their sites. Then it's a simple matter of adding some cut and paste code onto your website pages. You can also review and ban ads that you don't want shown on your pages. Advertisers and publishers can find out more at
12) Quigo: Calling their program "The AdSonar Exchange," at this time they only accept publishers and advertisers that cater to the Health, Beauty & Fitness, Travel and Educational Fields. This ad network includes over 200 sites, including USAToday and NYPost.com
For advertisers, Adsonar reads your ad's landing page and offers choices for placement. You bid on topics, and keyword discovery is handled by Quigo.com. Then you set the price you want to pay per click. Advertisers and Publishers can find out more or apply at:
Whether you're a publisher who wants to add content to your pages and earn some extra income at the same time, or an advertiser looking to get more exposure for your website, you're sure to find it here. So take some time and select one or even two programs that will work best for your site and increase your bottom line as well.