AdWords Contextual Targeting Revamped


Google is making it easier and more convenient to manage contextual targeting campaigns within AdWords.  In mid-January of 2011 Google introduced the Contextual Targeting Tool and this week they’ve expanded options even further by granting the opportunity to specify select topics and sub-topics to contextually target ads on the Display Network.

Contextual Targeting Tool

The Contextual Targeting Tool automatically creates lists of keywords based on categories or themes rather than requiring manual build outs of keywords into tightly-knit ad groups.  Not only does the tool build keyword lists for ad groups quickly and conveniently, but it is also useful for reaching audiences that advertisers may not have otherwise thought of targeting. For example, if a company sells shoes, they can enter the keyword “shoes” into the targeting tool and a list of suggested ad groups and suggested bids will show.

They can also expand on each list for even further refinement.  For instance, if there is a large emphasis on women’s shoes, by clicking on “expand” next to the “Womens shoes” suggested group, more options for sub-categories of women’s shoes will show.

Prior to the availability of this option, many advertisers used Google’s Wonder Wheel tool which suggested themes for keywords but did not supply keyword lists within client’s AdWords accounts.  The Contextual Targeting Tool finally makes this possible.

Contextual Topics and Sub-topics

With this week’s addition of over 1,750  topics and sub-topics available within AdWords under the new “Topics” tab, advertiser’s can now easily reach broad audiences that may engage with their business-related content.

Using topics relies less on particular tight knit groups of keywords and more on all of the terms within a page to determine that page’s topic.  Both the Contextual Targeting Tool as well as topics and sub-topics can be used together but while keyword-based targeting is useful for focusing on a specific brand or model of a product, topic targeting is generally a better option for raising awareness within a group of broad audiences.  For instance, when selling women’s shoes, the advertiser may want to reach out to audiences outside of the Footwear category such as Women’s clothing and Women’s Interests to educate, create interest and raise awareness for their products.


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