Contextual targeting is the deployment of web crawlers, machine learning, algorithms, and data scientist with the objective of letting web browsing behavior indicate what a user is interested in.
We like this for our campaigns for three key reasons:
- The targeting is always being updated
- There is vast amount of inventory that is catalogued
- Because there is so much available and updated inventory the data costs are low, especially given the really strong return on ad spend that is generated from contextual targeting campaigns
Companies in the space, including DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science, Peer 39, Grapeshot, and Moat, all have their own unique take on how to make contextual targeting work for an advertiser.
Further, they all end up deploying similar types of functionality, of course with some variation.
Their tools allow advertisers the precision targeting opportunities based on the keywords on pages, targeting individual domains, and targeting individual URLs.
The key question that advertisers need to answer to take advantage of contextual targeting is to ask what pages, sites, keywords, or apps, is a user on that indicates that a person is the right customer.
If there’s an ad supported place on the web with this type of information, chances are that contextual targeting will allow you to surround users who are browsing for your brand, product, or service.
We use these tools to do keyword and URL based targeting. For example, an advertiser like Ghirardeli who sells caramel, can have their ads appear only on apple pie recipe pages that feature caramel as an ingredient.
In addition to contextual ad targeting these companies provide a slew of other capabilities including brand safety, in-view targeting, video player targeting, and weather targeting.
Most of these tools are available as a turnkey solution in demand side platforms, and so they require just a few clicks to get really powerful ad targeting from them.
From a brand safety perspective we help clients determine how to limit exposure to content that doesn’t align with their brand values. For example, a financial advertiser probably won’t want to run ads on pages that feature negative financial news.
The future for contextual targeting will be strong because more advertisers are looking at content and context as a valuable signal for their ad targeting, especially as technology companies and legal frameworks limit consumer tracking data from being collected.