Contextual Targeting

AdRoll’s contextual targeting option helps you get new site visitors by showcasing your brand alongside content that your ideal customer is interested in. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about setting up, managing and optimizing a contextual targeting campaign. 

Creative Guidance

  • We recommend that you have all of the recommended ad sizes.
  • Native ads, which appear natively on a site or in a feed, can be effective for driving new traffic to your site.
  • Video ads are also a great way to familiarize new customers with your brand.

For Brand Awareness campaigns, it's a good idea to use high-level branding and lifestyle imagery to entice new customers who may not be familiar with your brand. Keep in mind, these ads are meant to introduce customers to your brand and encourage them to learn more, whereas Retargeting campaigns encourage conversions. 

Choosing Categories

You can choose from the following categories: 

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Automotive
  • Business & Finance
  • Careers
  • Celebrity
  • Dating
  • Education
  • Family & Parenting
  • Fashion & Beauty
  • Food & Drink
  • Gamers
  • Health & Wellness
  • Home & Garden
  • Humor
  • Movies & TV
  • Music
  • News
  • Personal Finance
  • Pets
  • Politics
  • Real Estate
  • Retail
  • Science
  • Society
  • Sports
  • Technology
  • Travel

Here are some tips for choosing the right contextual categories for your campaigns:

  • Think about the types of content you want to be associated with. This may be content related to your specific industry, but it may also be another topic that also interests your target audience. 
  • Make sure your campaign creative suits the categories you choose. It may be helpful to come up with slightly different messages for each category that you choose. 
  • Step into the shoes of your target audience and think about what else they might be interested in whether directly related to your brand or not. 
  • Make sure you avoid having a target audience size that is too narrow as it might affect your overall budget. 

Sample Sites

These sites are some examples the types of sites you can expect your content to show up alongside. 

Arts & Entertainment,,
Business & Finance,,
Family & Parenting,,
Fashion & Beauty,,
Food & Drink,,
Health & Wellness,,
Home & Garden,,
Movies & TV,,
Personal Finance,,
Real Estate,,

Note: We include sites specific to the various global regions we serve.


Contextual targeting is part of our Brand Awareness solution, which targets people who haven’t been to your site and likely are unfamiliar with your brand.

These campaigns typically drive fewer direct (last-touch) conversions than retargeting campaigns. Their main goal is to bring high quality new customers to the site, who can then be reached by your retargeting campaigns.

We’ve introduced some new metrics into our reporting to help you evaluate the value of your Brand Awareness campaigns.

  • New Visitors: Number of new users people who came to your site after clicking an ad, who had never been to your site.
  • Engaged Visitors: Number of visitors who viewed at least 3 pages after clicking an ad.
  • Daily Frequency (Web Campaigns): Number of ads seen per day (impressions) by reached users. 

  • Impressions: When an ad is served.

  • Reached Users: Unique users reached.

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