Centrality is a fundamental network property which ranks nodes by their structural importance. However, structural importance may not suffice to predict successful diffusions in a wide range of applications, such as word-of-mouth marketing and political campaigns. In particular, nodes with high structural importance may contribute negatively to the objective of the diffusion. To address this problem, we propose contextual centrality, which integrates structural positions, the diffusion process, and, most importantly, nodal contributions to the objective of the diffusion. We perform an empirical analysis of the adoption of microfinance in Indian villages and weather insurance in Chinese villages. Results show that contextual centrality of the first-informed individuals has higher predictive power towards the eventual adoption outcomes than other standard centrality measures. Interestingly, when the product of diffusion rate p and the largest eigenvalue λ is larger than one and diffusion period is long, contextual centrality linearly scales with eigenvector centrality. This approximation reveals that contextual centrality identifies scenarios where a higher diffusion rate of individuals may negatively influence the cascade payoff. Further simulations on the synthetic and real-world networks show that contextual centrality has the advantage of selecting an individual whose local neighborhood generates a high cascade payoff when pλ<1. Under this condition, stronger homophily leads to higher cascade payoff. Our results suggest that contextual centrality captures more complicated dynamics on networks and has significant implications for applications, such as information diffusion, viral marketing, and political campaigns.