Contextual ads are a bit different than your search ads. So we are on the same page, contextual ads are ads that are served based on the content of a website. For example, a website devoted to photography would carry ads for cameras.
So what makes these ads different from your search ads? After all, are they not served up based on the criteria and keywords that you created? The main difference is the tone of the ad. A search on a search engine constitutes the need for information. A contextual ad on a website is more suited to advertising philosophy.
Since the mind set for a search ad is informational, your search ad should be descriptive in nature with appropriate links to information. Contextual ads instead are interrupters - an ad that is not expected, but may make sense for a browser. This ad should have stronger sales language to encourage a browser to leave the site and visit yours.
Contextual ads have expanded recently to go beyond websites and into videos and games. As such, there are more opportunities to utilize contextual ads to deliver your message to a focused or niche audience. This is in line with Web 2.0 benefits of engaging a person rather than a mass market.
Some tips for creating your contextual ad:
Make Your Ad for Me - I am on this site, watching this video, or playing this game for a reason. Make sure your ad reflects this and fits in appropriate with the content and the audience.
Make Me Look at Your Ad - If I am to take my focus away from what I chose to do, make sure there is something in your ad that will catch my attention like features and benefits.
Call Me to Action - I am not going to leave what I am doing without an incentive. “Save 20%!” “Free Shipping!” “Free trial” “ETC!”
Take Me Right to The Spot - With a search ad, I should go to the appropriate information. With a contextual ad, I should go right to the offer. If more info needs to be communicated, give me the option to click on it. As such, your landing page may need to be designed differently for contextual ads.