Digital Advertising

5 Reasons to Focus on Contextual Targeting in Advertising

Contextual targeting

Last Updated on: 24th May 2024, 10:01 pm

Looking for some solutions that will improve the effectiveness of your online ads? Leveraging advanced targeting in advertising is one of the first things you need to consider — it allows marketers to reach the right customers, namely those who are interested in your company’s offer. This way you can improve their efficiency and reduce the costs of your marketing campaigns at the same time.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What is contextual targeting all about and how does it work?
  • How can contextual targeting help you communicate more efficiently with a new audience?
  • What are the benefits of leveraging contextual targeting in your marketing campaign?
  • Which advanced technologies are powering contextual targeting solutions?
  • What needs to be done to ensure that your company can start contextual targeting?

Table of Contents:

What is contextual targeting, and why is it so important?

Contextual targeting strategies in advertising, where online ads are targeted at people based on the context of their browsing history and patterns, have returned to the spotlight of the programmatic industry. In addition to the relentless search for ads that generate positive and memorable experiences among users, context analysis has gained prominence in discussions about the future of online advertising. This resurgence in interest is driven by the need to strike a balance between ad effectiveness and respecting users’ preferences.

Today, causes such as brand suitability and data privacy seem to be at the very center of interest within that industry. Companies that want to become more competitive must be aware of the most modern trends in online advertising. Advertisers are increasingly recognizing that aligning their brand with suitable content and respecting users’ data privacy rights are not just ethical imperatives, but also essential to their long-term success in a rapidly changing advertising landscape.

Contextual vs. behavioral targeting

The key difference between contextual and behavioral targeting lies in their focus. Behavioral targeting relies on monitoring a user’s online actions to understand their interests and intentions, but it carries the risk of inaccuracies, especially if users share devices or if there’s a time lag between behavior analysis and ad delivery.

Contextual targeting, on the other hand, centers on the content of the web page a user is viewing, offering more precise ad placements. It can address some of the limitations of behavioral targeting, such as ad mismatches, reliance on cookies, and privacy concerns. However, it’s important to consider campaign goals, assumptions, and business specificity when deciding between these targeting methods, and sometimes a combination of both can yield the best results.

Read more about the differences:

Benefits of context analysis and contextual targeting in advertising

Through context analysis, the advertiser can communicate with new audiences by associating themselves with content aligned with their brand proposal, creating a favorable space for long-lasting relationships, and leveraging the much-desired engagement. Statistics on both performance and branding campaigns show that our Deep Learning-based technology could deliver up to 47% more value within the same marketing budget (compared to global market benchmarks from Moat by Oracle). 

It is worth mentioning, however, that the idea of contextual segmentation is not new, despite having evolved a lot. In the past, it was based on a simplistic keyword association approach, whereas in recent years the method has been significantly improved. With advances in machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing, artificial intelligence algorithms can decipher the content of a publisher’s web page with extreme ease and accuracy, and indicate the ideal context for each ad impression.

Below are five important reasons why contextual targeting has been attracting advertisers’ attention in the awareness landscape:

1. Marketing campaigns that prioritize experience

When interpreting the content of a web page, artificial intelligence algorithms can make important and assertive decisions about where, when, and how to position each ad to ensure the highest level of engagement for each campaign. The idea is to always seek the ideal match between the context of the website, the brand’s communication objectives, and the content of the banner or video that will be displayed, analyzing the countless available data points and their variables.

When linked to automation techniques in the customization process of the banners, contextual segmentation allows for generating exceptional experiences for the user, with a level of customization previously unimaginable. To get an idea, today it is possible to have branding campaigns with uncountable variations of a single video, all elaborated in real-time by artificial intelligence, mixing products and specific elements customized for each context.

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2. Assertiveness that translates into results

At RTB House, we boost top and mid-funnel campaigns with our ContextAI engine and a proprietary contextual targeting solution. Our experts also leverage Deep Learning algorithms, which have already proven to be up to 50% more effective for customizing programmatic media campaigns than conventional machine learning campaigns. Using advanced technologies ensures even more processing power for contextual analyses, resulting in even more assertive campaigns.

This segmentation format ensured Honda’s advertising campaigns, driven by RTB House in Poland, a 300% increase in engagement rates. Such results were achieved due to the precise analysis of millions of potential sites and categories, linked to the creation and selection of specific online ads by each car model. The full case study is available here.

3. Impact and safety for the brand

Today more than ever, strategies focused on brand safety and brand suitability are essential to prevent online ads from being displayed in adverse contexts and to ensure that the user will have a positive experience with the brand. This is because linking ads in inappropriate contexts can not only negatively impact the campaign KPIs but also cause serious damage to the brand’s reputation, especially in top and mid-funnel campaigns. Contextual targeting in advertising reduces or even eliminates such risks. Companies that invest in that solution display not only effective but also safe online ads. 

Contextual segmentation, by definition, is prepared to deal with challenges such as those listed above. The technique is based on primary data referring to the URL where the ad is to be displayed. The algorithms naturally analyze information such as categories, topics, and keywords, making correlations with the objectives of the brand and the content of the ads. This dynamic allows for blocking potentially sensitive content or even reinforces the link of the ads to themes that make sense for each campaign through the identification of keywords.

4. Privacy-friendly 

Contextual targeting stands out as a privacy-conscious advertising method, particularly in light of the growing emphasis on data protection regulations. This approach minimizes invasiveness by prioritizing the context of the content rather than using intrusive user profiling. As a result, it respects user privacy and aligns with the shifting expectations and requirements for safeguarding personal data.

In a landscape where privacy concerns are paramount, contextual targeting offers a responsible and ethical way to reach target audiences without compromising user privacy. This not only helps advertisers navigate the complexities of data protection regulations but also builds trust with consumers who increasingly value privacy and transparency in their online experiences.

5. Contextual targeting is cookieless

Contextual targeting’s independence from third-party cookies makes it a future-proof strategy in the evolving environment of digital advertising. As the industry shifts towards stricter regulations and increased user privacy concerns, third-party cookies are being phased out or restricted in many web browsers. This shift has made it clear that brands relying solely on cookie-based retargeting methods are facing significant challenges.

In contrast, brands that have embraced contextual targeting in advertising are in a favorable position, as they are not vulnerable to the fast-approaching depreciation of third-party cookies. They can continue to reach their target audiences effectively and respect user privacy, demonstrating a forward-looking and adaptable approach to advertising that will serve them well in the long term.

How can your company take advantage of contextual targeting?

New technologies are transforming all fields of business. We can see that contextual targeting in advertising means much more than the simple marketing approach we were taught many years ago. Together with the new available AI capabilities, we can drive our industry into a new personalization landscape for awareness campaigns. We can communicate with potential customers more efficiently than ever.

By harnessing the power of AI and contextual targeting in advertising, you can deliver highly personalized and relevant ads to your target audience. Context marketing is about aligning your advertising efforts with the content that consumers are already engaged with, making it a valuable tool for enhancing the impact of your awareness campaigns and driving better results for your business. So, don’t miss out on the potential benefits that contextual targeting can bring to your company’s marketing efforts.

Contextual targeting methods and tools at RTB House

At RTB House, we use special techniques and tools for targeting the right people with your ads. Here’s how we do it:

We use ContentGPT, an innovative technology component that is set to revolutionize the way marketers understand and engage with online audiences. By leveraging the capabilities of Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPT) and Large Language Models (LLMs), ContentGPT provides unparalleled insights into the specific interests and intents of webpage readers across the Open Internet.

We also have another tool called ContextAI, which helps us understand what people are looking at online right now. This way, we can place your ads in the perfect online spots to make the biggest impact.

The best part? We can support various targeting methods, so you don’t need to worry about the technical details. Just tell us your business goals, and we’ll suggest the best way to achieve them.

Using AI-based solutions for business and marketing purposes requires particular skills and experience. Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with this on your own. We offer our full support in creating and maintaining online campaigns with excellent targeting. Let us know if you’d like to know more about our expertise in the contextual targeting field.

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