Contextual targeting - reaching target groups through context instead of cookies

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Contextual targeting aims to play ads to users who visit pages thematically related to the advertised offer.

Contextual targeting, as a concept, builds on one of the simplest insights in marketing: Customers are more likely to take up an offer if they are interested in it. As an example: If you are vegan, an advertisement for barbecue sausages will not work for you. However, if you are interested in grills, then the offer may be very interesting for you. The task for marketing is therefore: How can we find out what an online user is interested in? This is where the Targeting into play. 

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Targeting- or: the art of targeting the right customers

Target is an English vocabulary from the military field and actually means "hostile target". In marketing parlance, the meaning has shifted somewhat: The Target here is the customer willing to buy. Targeting therefore means nothing more than the Identification of corresponding persons

One way of doing this is by "shadowing" Internet users with digital spotters. They have users tracked across the network and thus learn what interests them. This variant is actually common. Technically, the so-called Cookies responsible for this. This is the reason why, since the entry into force of the GDPR, you must consent to the use of the digital cookie on any website. 

Use of Contextual Targeting and Behavioural Targeting
Contextual Targeting vs. Behavior Targeting (Image:

Actually the cookies not a good tool for targeting. They are not fit-for-purpose, but collect extensive data that must first be evaluated. However, many companies have found that this additional information can be used to make good Make money letsbecause other companies may well be interested in the additional data records. Internet users, however, do not want exactly this. Cookies are therefore often blocked. Targeting has failed.

Another variant is therefore more sensible: the Contextual Targeting

Contextual Targeting: Recognizing and Using Contexts

Contextual targeting means that Customized advertisements for the pages that a user visits. So there will be Interrelationships recognized and used. For example, a user reads news from the world of motor sports. It makes sense to play him an ad from a tuning store. Another user is reading a guide on how to jog properly for beginners. He gets an ad for running shoes.

The advantages are obvious: 

  • The advertising speaks a Interest of the user an. 
  • The display is shown as coherent felt and therefore not immediately ignored. 
  • A large proportion of so-called "bad ads" are automatically avoided: Without context, advertisements sometimes end up next to content that glorifies violence and pornography - especially on video platforms such as YouTube. 
  • Advertising will suitable for the state of mind of the potential customer: They do not always want to deal with recipes, new cars, etc., for example. If, on the other hand, they visit a corresponding page, they are open to it. 

Various studies have therefore already found that contextual targeting works. The CTR for contextual ads is higher than for behavioral targeting (cookies)

The danger in contextual targeting

Where there are advantages, there are usually disadvantages as well. This is no different here. Contextual targeting carries the Danger of false conclusion in itself. As an example: If a user reads a report about cruise ship disaster, he certainly does not want to receive an advertisement for a cruise. He will not only reject it, but will also be a negative image of the provider get, as he finds the ad distasteful. 

How Contextual Targeting Works
This is how contextual targeting works (Image:

The solution to this danger of Contextual Targeting is the semantic analysis. Semantics refers to the content concept of a sentence, paragraph, text. Signal words help here. As an example: 

  • The "hopefully" signals a positive statement. 
  • Now the "unfortunately" makes a negative statement clear. 

Although digital robots are not able to understand language like people, you can still use the Signal words learn. They are thus able to perform a semantic analysis in order to deliver the right ad to the right place. So-called tags are used for this purpose. These are terms that signal that the ad is appropriate or must not be served under any circumstances. 

Conclusion: Contextual Targeting is not easy, but worthwhile

Contextual targeting is not a tool that relieves from all work. On the contrary, it costs a lot of effort due to the semantic analysis. In return the procedure is all the more worthwhile. However, it should be done by experts to avoid mistakes. We will be happy to help you with this. Just contact us now!

Brand Analysis Template: The Foundation for Your Digital Marketing Strategy - Download Template



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