Published on: 11 Jan 2023
Reading time: 4 minutes
Traditionally, advertisers have focused majorly on behavioral targeting to reach their audience across the digital space. Whether it is retargeting display ads toward existing customers or using dynamic creative optimization to reach a wider audience base, advertisers have always relied on third-party cookies and behavioral targeting to reach relevant users. However, with growing concerns over consumer privacy and with the digital landscape shifting towards a cookie-less environment, more and more advertisers are shifting their attention to contextual advertising.
Contextual ads have now become quite significant for brands that wish to remain relevant in the coming times.
Unlike behavioral advertising, which involves tracking user behavior across the web to display relevant ads, contextual ads are placed on web pages based on the content of those pages. The focus is not on who is reading the content but rather on what content is being read. Contextual advertising is all about matching keywords and topics of the websites and the ad units to be placed. Contextual ad targeting allows brands to connect with relevant users in real time with messages that are more likely to be viewed as interesting and helpful, rather than annoying or intrusive.
One of the best examples of contextual advertising is the way search engines display paid ads when a user uses a particular set of keywords. Search engines match the keywords searched for with to display ads that are contextual to what the user is looking for.
Contextual advertising, whether it is video or display, makes it easier for marketers to navigate a constantly evolving digital landscape. Content keeps changing and so does user behavior, which makes it quite difficult for marketers to chase trends for finding suitable ad placement opportunities. But with contextual ad targeting, they do not have to rely on previously collected data about old user behavior as they can choose the type of content that they want their ads to be shown alongside. By ensuring relevance to the content of a page, brands can be sure that they are reaching the right set of audiences, every time. Contextual advertising is more likely to drive clicks and conversions for digital campaigns.
Some of the best reasons why examples of contextual advertising do so well today are:
Relevance has become extremely important today as consumers are increasingly looking for a more personalized experience from brands. Contextual ad targeting does not depend on what the user was looking for in the past or on what their browsing habits are. Instead, it anticipates the mindset of the user in real-time through the content they are looking for. While it is impossible for brands and advertisers to know what is going through a user’s mind, contextual ads offer them a glimpse into the interests and intentions of consumers by helping them understand what is happening on the targeted page. Delivering ads in line with web pages makes it more likely to match the user’s mindset at the time, which can significantly help improve campaign performance.
While at times, improperly applied behavioral targeting may lead to people being ‘followed around’ by a particular ad, which ends up being displayed anywhere without context, contextual ad targeting makes it less obvious by always ensuring relevance to content instead of a particular set of users. So, users only see certain brands during browsing when they visit pages that are related to the services or products offered by the brand. Another way to put this is that when a user visits a certain kind of website, they will only see related services or products in ads.
One of the most important benefits of contextual video or display advertising is that it keeps the brands safe from gaining a bad name by avoiding it help any negative associations. One of the biggest reasons behind the effectiveness of contextual advertising is that it allows advertisers complete control over which websites their ads will be displayed on, so adult, violent, or irrelevant websites can be avoided with ease.
Other forms of advertising like behavioral targeting require vast amounts of data, which in turn calls for the right tools and technologies to collect and analyze information to generate insights. Apart from being a complicated process, based on numerous variables, dependence on data and user behavior does not always guarantee relevance in real-time. However, as contextual advertising is all about the content on a particular webpage, which of course will remain the same for a long time, it is much easier to implement across your digital campaigns.
Personalization is an extremely important tactic in marketing, but only because it makes an ad more relevant for the users. While it is easy to create engaging ad units through the best display advertising platforms, deciding where to place them requires due thought. A user’s past online behavior may not always relate to what they are looking for at the moment, which is why contextual targeting offers much more relevance, especially as advertisers begin navigating an increasingly cookie-free world.
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