Contextual advertising is not new, when I first started writing about targeting advertising the technology was new, the concept was new and few bold marketers were trying and learning from their mistake while helping others teach on how not to make this mistakes.
I remember when we are first dabbling withdisplay ad targeting and retargeting back in early 2000s, one of the things we were trying to solve for is to understand the full context of the content you were reading. We saw many marketers making the mistake of not understanding the negative context of the content and wasting their ad dollars on wrong content. For example we saw an ad targeted (I believe it was served by Google) on a page talking about plane crash that showed an ad for carry-on luggage. When you are reading such a tragedy, last thing you want to see is an ad about plane travel. Technology and best practices have come a long way since then but the same mistakes keep happening.
Here are two things you can today to make sure you do not make the same mistake as VW dealer (or their agency) made:
Filter ad placement on negative context: If you are going to show an ad about your brand then understand the whole context and then filter out any content that has negative context related your brand. For example the whole context of that video was about negative to VW because of recent emission scandal. You as a marketer need to know that a lot of recent content (video, articles, blog post etc.) are going to be about this scandal, so keeping this context in mind, create a list of negative keyword list e.g. emission, scandal, problem etc. Now filter out the ad targeting on the content which contain “Volkswagen” and these negative keywords because if you place your ads on such content it is likely not going be very effective. Stop wasting your dollars by targeting the wrong context.
Show Ad to counter the negativity around your brand – If there is a message that you have in response to the negative press then use this opportunity to put your message in front of the customer and prospects.