Bursting the myth of contextual ads! BlueLithium shares proprietary data...
The conventional wisdom, as proposed by Google et al, is that placing advertising on a web page in its context gets the best results. Mortgage ads on mortgage pages, etc. In fact, Google recommends to its AdSense partners that Google ads should blend into the page, same colors etc.
BlueLithium, the online ad network, says that this isn't true when it comes to serving ads based on users' behavior. Its BL Labs research division found that out-of-context ads perform better: (BlueLithiumClick here for BlueLithium press release)
BL Labs analyzed over 400 million impressions across numerous sites, evaluating click-through rates (CTR) and conversion, or action-through rates (ATR), across several pre-determined behavioral and contextual categories. It also analyzed nine behavioral categories containing over 10 million impressions for patterns across various contextual categories. Analysts discovered that ads shown in the same context as behavior had a higher CTR in seven of the nine categories while ads shown in a different context had a higher ATR in five of the categories.
The "shoppers" category showed the highest CTR from ads on career sites and the highest ATR on female-oriented sites. "Travelers" had the highest CTR on food sites and highest ATR on career sites.
These types of findings will help to support online publishers because online advertising will be more effective and better able to support a greater diversity of content. Otherwise the subject matter of content will be designed for the ads, which you can see this happening already.