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.