What Is Contextual Targeting And How To Use It To Your Business Benefit?

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Contextual targeting is an advertising technique that has been gaining popularity in recent months. And it will be even more crucial in the coming months as 3rd-party cookies usually used for classic retargeting won’t be supported anymore by all the major players in the market (that includes Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge). How can you use contextual targeting, so it benefits your company?

The basics of contextual targeting

As the name suggests, contextual targeting is a type of targeted advertising. It displays advertisements for products and/or services to internet users that are based on the content of the website they are currently viewing. How does that look in real life? If a user browses a website and stops at an article about pottery classes for beginners, they may see ads for ceramic mugs and bowls to buy or other types of craft classes. The marketing message will be suited to the content of that particular website. How is that possible?

contextual targeting
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Contextual targeting tracks essential data of each website and uses it to pinpoint the contextual applicability of the page. It monitors such elements as URL address, types of images and content varieties. It’s kind of the opposite of traditional retargeting, which focuses on tracking users’ movements and then displaying ads for the exact products and/or services on different domains across the internet.

Nowadays, contextual targeting is advanced enough that it can analyse data even on an article level. This means it can notice subtle differences between texts about similar things and, as a result, tailor the displayed content much more effectively. For example, let’s say you run a travel agency. If you have two blog articles – one about budget travelling and one about this year’s hottest travel destinations – you might want to show the ads for more affordable travel directions next to the first article.

On the other hand, the second article will be the best place to display ads for your exclusive trips. At first glance, there are two articles about similar things, but their textual context makes all the difference when it comes to tailoring advertising content to the needs of your target audiences.

Behavioral vs contextual targeting

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When reading about contextual targeting (https://blog.rtbhouse.com/what-is-contextual-targeting-and-how-to-get-the-most-out-of-it/), the topic of behavioral targeting appears often. However, those two methods of targeting shouldn’t be confused with each other. Behavioural targeting is a technique that monitors the past behaviours of the users and utilises that data to build a profile of each person and match any future ads to them. Contextual targeting, on the other hand, doesn’t inquire about the user’s behaviour or their past – it focuses its attention only on the website the user is currently visiting.

Contextual and behavioural targeting have one thing in common though – they both want to predict the content of the ads the users may be interested in. Of course, both targeting methods can be advantageous to your business and help you create effective marketing campaigns in the future.

Contextual targeting and your business

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You can use contextual targeting to create highly tailored marketing messages to the users without the need to know their online history. Thanks to that opportunity, you may optimise advertising budgets much easier and boost your brand’s reach in the process. This will be especially significant when it comes to gaining the customers’ attention in the upper levels of the purchasing funnel. Nowadays, contextual targeting is smart enough to include in its analysis not only the website’s text but the photos and graphics as well.

Importance of deep learning in contextual targeting

When talking about contextual targeting, we have to mention deep learning. It’s an advanced method of processing data through varying layers of complexity, which allows the algorithm to recognize patterns and understand insights in the same way as human brains. Thanks to this model, we can use technology to react to new data and learn to process it way faster and smarter than machine learning allowed us to do. What does that have to do with contextual targeting? Deep learning can recognize the content that engages target users the most and decide on particular ads that should be the most efficient way of drawing them to click on the display.

Behavioural and contextual targeting supported by deep learning will be especially beneficial to companies that have multiple target audiences for their products and/or services. For example, a fashion brand may offer items for trendy teens as well as adults who wear business casual on a daily basis. Deep learning can automatically interpret data about different client groups, which is a way faster and more efficient method, and show them the preferred ads option.

How to balance between contextual and behavioural targeting?

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Both behavioural and contextual targeting use intelligent tools, such as deep learning, to boost the accuracy of targeting and select the most effective ads, which means these methods can complete each other quite seamlessly. Behavioural targeting, based on users’ historical data, can show you many accurate findings about their interests and goals but comes with a pretty high risk of error, as people’s plans tend to change. Contextual targeting can address all the weak points of its behavioural counterpart, such as reliance on cookies, ad fatigue, privacy concerns, and the risk of mismatching advertising content.

The future and contextual targeting

As we mentioned, the importance of contextual targeting can increase in the following months. Why? Because it’s a type of advertising method not based on third-party cookies. Cookies are a crucial part of several successful promotional techniques, including mobile or desktop retargeting. However, at the end of 2024, Google Chrome, the largest browser in the world, will stop supporting them. Google will follow the footsteps of Firefox, Edge and Safari – those browsers have already blocked 3rd party cookies. That’s a big change in the marketing world and a chance for behavioural and contextual targeting to become an even more significant part of your promotional campaigns.