Affiliate marketing using contextual advertising

Contextual advertising is a method of showing ads to a group of users, which is formed based on a search query (or previously viewed resources).

As a rule, the PPC (Pay Per Click) payment model is used here where the advertiser pays for clicks actioned on an ad with a further redirect to the site. The ad with the highest bid gets the highest priority.

For those involved in traffic media buying, Yandex.Direct and Google Adwords are among the most used advertising tools. Their unique market advantages have made contextual advertising in media buying one of the very effective sources. The fact is that social networks and advertising platforms show ads to a relevant audience using targeting whereas contextual advertising will help you quickly find highly motivated potential buyers – those who are interested in a product or service here and now.

Advertising of affiliate offers through the search giants Google Adwords and Yandex.Direct has certain strengths and weaknesses. That’s why here we will talk about how to drive traffic through contextual advertising, which vertical is better for Yandex.Direct traffic media buying, and how to choose the right offer for this particular source from the affiliate network.

Interested? Then let’s go.

What is better for media buying — Google Ads or Yandex.Direct

Use of Google Ads and Yandex.Direct in traffic media buying requires investments. Media buyers, marketers, and business owners sometimes find it difficult to choose one platform to focus on.

Although these sources have a similar principle of operation, there are some distinct differences:

  • More flexible settings are offered by Google Ads.
  • Yandex.Direct has a simpler and more intuitive interface.
  • According to Statcounter Global Stats, at the beginning of 2022, Google’s share of the global search was over 90%.
  • In mobile search, Google also leads, controlling the Android smartphone operating system and all applications associated with it (in particular, the browser and search).
  • According to the results of analytics from Netpeak over the past year, the average cost per click by 2022 for Yandex.Direct was $0.05 – $0.34 in search and $0.04 – $0.14 in YAN. Google had a click at the level of $0.05 – $0.12, and in the Display Network – $0.03 – $0.05.
  • Google provides more options when placing ads, including structured data and site links.
  • According to Roistat, more than 70% of webmasters using contextual advertising with Yandex.Direct received a better payoff than those using Google Adwords.
  • Yandex.Direct is aimed mainly at the Russian-speaking audience, Google was originally oriented to the West.
  • The level of competition is higher for Yandex.Direct.
  • Yandex imposes stricter requirements on sites, which ensures higher CTR and conversion.
  • Despite strict moderation, the rules for placing ads on Yandex are simple and clear. Google has a lot of nuances.
  • Due to strict rules, YAN advertising offers better sites, but the advertiser cannot choose them on his own (unlike Google).
  • Yandex.Direct does not support agent accounts, whereas Google has a Client Center.
  • In YAN, you can accurately specify residential or public facilities (business centers, restaurants, salons) for displaying ads. With Google Ads, it is impossible to specify an object, but only a territory with a given radius (at least 500 m).

What are the features of Google Ads

Here is how Advertising in Google Ads works. In response to a user request, the search engine shows relevant advertisements among the search results. Also, these ads are displayed on the resources registered in the Google advertising network. Thankfully due to the different types of advertising campaigns and available ad formats in Google Adwords, contextual traffic media buying can be finely tuned. The functionality of the platform contributes to the effective attraction of users to the site, and the active promotion of offers and makes it possible to track conversions well.

The Google Ad Network consists of:

  • the search network, which is presented by search results pages, partner resources, and other Google services;
  • contextual display network (CDN), where you can select certain trusted resources and get a quality audience from them.

By default, Google Adwords contextual advertising campaign will be network-wide, but you can customize it to display specifically for Display Networks or SERPs.

At first glance, media buying in Google Ads may seem too complicated for a beginner. However, if you spend a few hours learning more, it is quite possible to understand the logic of the platform and deal with the interface. The functionality allows you to quickly make adjustments to the advertising campaign – disable, change rates, and monitor performance (including from mobile devices, thanks to the Google Adwords mobile application). From one interface, you can manage advertising not only directly in Google, but also in YouTube, Gmail, and Google Customer Match.

What are the features of Yandex.Direct

Contextual advertising in Yandex.Direct means promoting a resource through:

  • search results;
  • advertising network Yandex (YAN).

At the moment, up to 4 positions above organic search results in Yandex SERPs are occupied by advertisements. They give the maximum click-through rate, but the cost per click will also be the highest here. Another block (up to 5 ads) is placed in the middle of the search results page, on the right or at the bottom. This positioning is a little cheaper but also gives excellent CR.

The second option involves the placement of thematic advertising on partner sites that register with YAN, undergo moderation, and offer advertising space on their sites.

Setting up Yandex.Direct for media buying seems easier for beginners, thanks to a simple and intuitive interface. However, it is unreasonable and irrational to look for easy ways. The choice of a promotion channel depends on what to send traffic to through contextual advertising, what audience the offer is designed for, what your budget is, etc.

Which verticals are best suited for contextual advertising

We have previously mentioned the requirements that the largest search platforms impose on all potential advertisers. Before you start media buying with contextual advertising in Yandex or Google, you have to go through moderation. But not all methods can be promoted here.

So, first, let’s see what traffic you can send through contextual advertising.

  • eCommerce (goods)– when choosing products, the affiliate should clarify the possibility of promoting an offer, otherwise, there is a chance of being blocked;
  • Wapclickwhen offering paid subscriptions to users, it is worth using adaptive ads with pictures (there must be a button with a call to action);
  • Install – contextual advertising in this niche works well because only those users who have not yet installed this application will see ads. In Google Ads, it is recommended to use the video ad format, the Conversion Optimizer tool, and specify “Show on mobile devices” in the options.
  • Gaming – offers with mobile games are easily moderated, but a high level of competition awaits media buyers in this niche.
  • Sweepstakes – media buying in Google Ads and Yandex.Direct in the field of online draws and lotteries are also not prohibited. At the same time, despite the unstable conversion rate, the payback of CC Submit offers is higher than that of the simplest SOI and DOI funnels.

The policy of the largest search engines prohibits the promotion of such verticals as Gambling, Betting, Dating, Crypto, and some Finance-offers. Essay niche is prohibited in some countries but an experienced webmaster with a good affiliate program for contextual advertising media buying can send traffic on everything. Beginners should refrain from trying to send traffic to online casinos, medicines, cryptocurrency, micro-loans, and binary options. Remember, with high payments, you need to have a good budget and personal experience with the “prohibited niches”. It is imperative to use the so-called “layering” and special software (on which by the way you should not be saving money either).

Strict criteria for checking advertising campaigns in most cases require the presence of their own landing pages (the Internet source must fully comply with the content of the ad). Therefore, if you have already thought about whether you need a landing page for traffic media buying in Yandex.Direct or Google Ads, then get ready to work hard. You won’t be able to drive traffic from contextual advertising to standard affiliate landings — many of them require significant improvement. In addition, the system does not immediately bring the ad to the top positions, and by the time it does, the link may burn out. Given the life span of a working link, traffic media buying from Yandex.Direct and Google Ads are associated with some payback risks.

For advertising not to be lost among competitors, you need to strive for the maximum match for all key queries and a low level of competition.

Selection of offers for contextual advertising

When choosing a suitable offer for contextual advertising we recommend listening to the advice of a personal manager from the affiliate network you are working with. After receiving a list of recommended offers, each one will need to be checked for popularity. To do this, use any online service for searching the keywords, where you can track the frequency and number of views. Also, analyze the results of the search results and the statistics of the offer in the affiliate program. If at the moment such ads are in rotation in the search results of Google or Yandex, you can give it a try.


Contextual advertising in Google Adwords and Yandex.Direct requires a competent approach and a good budget. As a result, you can quickly get a high-quality audience and an excellent CTR. Despite strict moderation, there are enough cases in the network where media buying from Yandex.Direct landing on a prohibited topic not only received approval but also brought a great profit. Therefore, everything here depends on the personal knowledge and skills of the webmaster.

Start earning!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get all of our marketing tips, case studies, and the latest developments at Los Pollos directly to your inbox!

You might also like