July 22nd, 2019

Contextual Advertising – What it is and How it Works in Mobile Apps

contextual advertising


For years, it was difficult for traditional media publishers to know which ads would resonate with their audience and to which advertisers they’d be able to deliver the greatest value. Without knowing who their specific audience would be, advertisers needed to rely on ads with broad mainstream appeal to ensure results. In today’s digital landscape, however, there are many practices that allow advertisers to reach niche market groups using highly targeted advertisements. Of these, one of the best practices is contextual advertising.

What is contextual advertising?

Contextual advertising is the practice of using the characteristics of host-media to intelligently determine what ad content is most likely to resonate with a given audience. Today, this most often means targeted advertising within digital channels like apps and websites that pair audiences with ad messaging based on the content being presented. A contextual ad system scans website text for relevant keywords to know which ads are most likely to resonate with the site’s readership.

Why go in-app with contextual advertising?

Contextual advertising practices were first developed to help make web advertising more effective. Mobile gaming apps were initially slow to adopt contextual systems, largely because of the challenge posed when “crawling” for in-app text. In-app contextual advertising follows the same targeting principles as web-based contextual advertising, but it now often relies on other information sources to provide context.

Ad networks like Tapjoy rely on a variety of targeting criteria in order to deliver contextually relevant advertising experiences, including app category, target demographics, and a variety of user-specific data points available to advertisers. Regardless of the exact methodology, in-app contextual advertising is one of the most effective techniques available to modern advertisers, making it a valuable channel for modern marketers.

Benefits of in-app contextual advertising

Marketers have pursued the benefits of in-app contextual advertising systems for years — after all, they’ve seen how effective it was for traditional web advertising. When these ads are optimized and effectively targeted, they can:

  • Offer a better user experience: Contextual creative reduces the intrusiveness of mobile ads by only providing relevant content to users
  • Protect user privacy: Contextual ads target users without relying on data storage solutions, ensuring private information can’t be abused
  • Generate higher engagement rates: Ad campaigns delivered through contextual systems deliver higher results than those that aren’t. One contextual ad study suggests they generate twenty times higher engagement than standard display ads.

How to take advantage of in-app contextual advertising

Contextual advertising looks fairly simple on paper, but it is complex in practice. It requires ad networks and platforms to have a deep understanding of app audiences and the connections between their shared interests. It also requires them to understand emerging markets, especially as millennials and Generation Z customers grow in buying power.

Thankfully, the most effective way to get the most out of contextual advertising in 2019 is also the easiest — partnering with a mobile ad network. An ad network that specializes in pairing audiences with apps, identifying valuable new audiences, and enhancing in-app campaign performance can dedicate itself to expanding your brand’s mindshare.

These are all fields that Tapjoy excels in. Since 2007, we’ve connected advertisers with their ideal mobile customers through one of the world’s largest networks of mobile games and apps. Our SDK is integrated in over 30,000 mobile apps that serve over 800 million active users each month. We even offer value-exchange ad products — such as rewarded ad placements and mobile offerwalls.

For more information on how Tapjoy can support your in-app contextual advertising campaign, contact our mobile advertising experts today.

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