Blockchain Advertising

Contextual Ads vs Targeted Ads: The Difference Simplified

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As a founder considering paid media in your crypto marketing strategy, you’ve probably asked yourself, “Should I use contextual or targeted (behavioral) ads?”

Both have their own upsides, depending on your campaign goals and target audience. 

This guide breaks down the key distinctions so you can make the right online advertising choice to promote your crypto project.

What Are Contextual Ads?

Contextual ads focus mainly on the content of the page rather than on any one user’s data.

an illustration showing how contextual ads work showing ads based on the page content

Key Attributes of Contextual Crypto Ads

  • Ad choice based on page content
  • No user targeting capabilities
  • Text/display ads only
  • Topic relevance in the moment

For example, if you're reading an article about crypto news, you'll probably see ads for various crypto exchanges or relevant tokens. 

But if you then switch to reading the sports news, you'll suddenly get ads for sports tickets or merchandise instead.

So the key characteristic is that ads in contextual marketing change based on the content rather than tracking a specific individual across the internet like targeted ads do.

Read More: What Is a Web3 Marketing Funnel and How Does It Work?

What Are Targeted Ads?

Targeted ads or behavioral advertising use personal data about specific users’ interests and behaviors to deliver ads aligned to their preferences. 

Example of how targeted ads work, showing relevant ad based on user interest

Platforms like Blockchain-Ads offer crypto advertisers the ability to target audience segments based on attributes like:

  • Cryptocurrency wallet used
  • Type of crypto they hold
  • Blockchains they interact with and more

This means your crypto exchange ads will be displayed only to crypto traders, even when they visit a crypto news site or their favorite sports website. 

Targeted ads follow your ideal users around the web instead of just hoping they see your message on a crypto page somewhere.

Main Benefits of Targeted Crypto Ads

  • Precision targeting of crypto enthusiasts
  • Retargeting your website visitors
  • Cross-device ad reach

For example, a targeted ad campaign could help promote a new gaming platform built on Polygon to “crypto gamers who hold $MATIC in their wallet.”

This was how SPACE got 75,000 new users and 11,000 NFT mints using Targeted ads to Matic holders specifically.

This kind of laser-focused ability to define and target your ideal user makes targeted crypto ads extremely appealing.

Read More: Blockchain-Ads Review: How to Target Crypto Users through Ads

Contextual and Behavioral Advertising: Top Platforms

Here’s a quick example of platforms serving contextual ads and those serving targeted ads:

Contextual ads: 

  • A-ads
  • Coinzilla
  • BitMedia
  • CoinTraffic

Targeted Ads or Personalized Ads:

  • Blockchain-Ads
  • Google-Ads
  • Taboola
  • AdRoll

💡Only Blockchain-Ads supports crypto advertising.

Read More: 10+ Best Crypto Ad Networks for Project Growth in 2024

Main Differences Between Targeted & Contextual Ads


Targeted Ads

Contextual Ads

Primary Advantage

User targeting

Content relevance


all (text, image, video etc.)

Mainly display based

Targeting Capability

Very strong

Limited to page content


Follow user across devices & sites

Limited to when viewing related content

Best for

Engagement and user acquisition


Examples of Targeted Ads vs Contextual Ads

Let's take a look at a real-life example to highlight the difference between seeing a targeted ad vs. a contextual ad as a user:

an illustrative example of how targeted behavioral ads appear and how contextual ads appear on different websites

Scenario: Interacting with the AAVE smart contracts so your transaction is logged on-chain

Targeted ads you may see if you visit a random sports website:

  • DeFi lending protocol ads
  • Ads for a new EVM wallet based on your ether activity 

The user's digital footprint has already saved their device ID, wallet address, and other on-chain/off-chain behavior. 

So, advertisers can show them ads that are relevant to their previous activity, even on websites that are not crypto.

Contextual ads you may see if you visit the same random sports website:

  • Ads for sports betting and fantasy sports leagues
  • Ads for streaming services to watch live sports

With contextual ads, you'd likely see relevant sports-related ads because the content of the page doesn’t have anything crypto-related.

As soon as you change to a site about NFTs or finance, the ads will also change rather than follow you site-to-site.

Our Approach: Targeted Ads for Performance-Focused Blockchain Projects

Here at Blockchain-Ads, we offer advertisers the relevance of targeted ads based on user on-chain behavior.

Blockchain-Ads behavioral targeting capabilities

Our proprietary Web3-Cookie tech allows you to display ads only to people who fall in your ideal Web3 user personas every time.

Key benefits our clients see include:

  • 4-23x return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • 3-5% conversion rate compared to 0.4% from contextual ad networks
  • 60 billion+ ads impressions reaching 11 million+  active crypto users

Read our detailed review of how Blockchain-Ads work.

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Ekokotu Emmanuel Eguono

Mass growth with Blockchain Ads.

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"We are running more than 45 campaigns for 10 different projects. The BCA team is outperforming anything else we have seen. Reminds me on Facebook Ads in 2014. WILD. We're able to scale our campaigns massively. Increase number of token holders, sales, increase volume, acquire high value traders."
Adam Jordan - CEO at Social Kick - photo in FAQ page
Adam Jordan
CEO - Social Kick Marketing Agency