Andrew Goodman kicks of the session by mentioning that the audience is most likely knowledgeable about paid search already and looking for more a source of more quality traffic. He passes onto Chris Bowler who starts by surveying the room to get an idea of the existing contextual knowledge in the room.
What is Contextual Targeting? Displaying advertising on a third-party website which is used by your target consumer market. Google offers content targeting across hundreds of top partners such as About.com, as well as many thousands of AdSense publishers. They offer several different forms of content targeting including a new Cost Per Action initiative, which is currently in Beta testing. Advertisers are demanding performance-based deals to make campaigns more cost effective and reducing risk. Yahoo also has a partner network for contextual ads, although it’s much smaller than Google's. Their options include contextual, keyword and behavioural content matching - as well as Run of Network. MSN has a contextual network pilot program, although there's little data about its status or release date yet. While search traffic has matured and stabilised, content networks continue to grow and also offer cheaper CPCs. Content targeting can differ a lot between different verticals - finance seems to perform poorly whilst retail advertising works very well. Networks are starting to offer formats other than just text now, with some of them trialling video and graphical ads.
Anton from Acronym Media specialises in keyword driven marketing. Keywords tell you a lot about a potential customer, so you must look at the keywords they're using and make sure that you're targeting them correctly. The CPC model offers a lower risk way of experimenting with campaigns. Contextual advertising is perfect for brand awareness as it's instant and has broad coverage. It extends an online marketing campaign beyond the search box and gets around the issue of a lack of search inventory. It should be managed and monitored separately from a search campaign due to their differences. Utilise keyword data from search and other online advertising information in order to get the best possible results. Remember to use negative matching in order to avoid damaging your brand by advertising next to questionable content. It can be used for damage control as well though, when people blog or write about something negative regarding your company you may be able to advertise your response next to these pages. Check your referral logs to avoid poor quality sites and try to track this back to conversion rates per publisher. Using fewer keywords in each ad group can allow for more granular tracking and monitoring. Publishers can use multiple ad spaces on their site, so make sure that your site is positioned well. Top position is important for contextual advertising as well. CTR is not taken into account on contextual networks - you can bid as low as you like and your keywords will not get disabled like with PPC quality scores. Click fraud happens and is more likely with contextual ads so it's important to look closely at your traffic and record information such as IP addresses in order to catch abusers and report them. Choosing the right channels is crucial, so investigate your options.
Don Steele from Comedy Central uses contextual advertising to promote comedycentral.com, which promotes their TV shows as well as generating traffic for their own advertising inventory. You need to read and understand what people are saying when they mention your brands so that you can understand the words and terms that they use. Contextual banner ads offer a great alternative to buying display inventory, reaching a much wider group of sites that may not be known or accessible otherwise. Be flexible and fluid with your campaign; get ready to catch traffic from new interests e.g. an upcoming guest on The Daily Show.
Note: Please excuse typos, this coverage is provided live and without much editing, due to the timeliness of the coverage...