Contextual Targeting VS Behavioral Targeting

What Is Contextual Targeting

In simple words, Contextual Targeting is the process of selecting ad placements in Display Networks. The selection is based on keywords, topics, and various other factors. It is advertising done on a website that is according to the page’s content. Automated systems are used to display ads on your website based on the content of your website. 

Examples Of Contextual Targeting

  1.   In-game contextual targeting – Targeting inside a game at different levels of game progress. For example, in the beginning, during the game or towards the end.
  2.   In-video contextual targeting – Targeting being done inside a video. For example, an ad of heat protecting spray being displayed before a tutorial on how to blow-dry your hair.
  3.   Native targeting – Sometimes seen as deceptive targeting practice, is a type of contextual targeting in which sponsored ads are rendered to be shown like native content of the website.  

How Does Contextual Targeting Work?

  1.   A web crawler scans through the web and categorizes the content and ad placement on that website.
  2.   A publisher’s ad server fetches important page-level data like header tags, category, and content and then passes it to different SSPs, Ad Exchanges and DSPs. 
  3.   Additional improvements can be done by further analyzing page content with the help of a separate data provider that’s being queried by different ad exchanges. It is different from behavioral targeting where AdTech platforms scan user Cookie ID or device ID whereas, in contextual advertising, the URL or advertising IDs are queried.
  4.   The information regarding the URL is passed to the request server when a user visits a website. Then the ad server matches the data is collected by the crawler with advertising campaigns on the basis of keywords and categories etc. 

What is Behavioral Targeting?

Unlike contextual targeting, behavioral targeting is the process of showing ads to the user based on their behavior instead of user preferences. Behavioral targeting is said to be the upcoming frontier of contextual targeting. It is a marketing strategy that focuses on marketing on the basis of data gathered from users’ browsing history, shopping preferences, etc.

Behavioral targeting results in dynamic ads that are in accordance with the user’s preferences, habits, and tastes. Usual data sources of this process are compiled web searches, shopping histories, frequently browsed websites and other such parameters to create a complete user profile, giving insights into what the target market prefers, avoids and buys.

Examples of Behavioral Targeting

  1.   Local advertising is the most common example of behavioral targeting. It allows you to consider factors like seasonality, local trends and even restriction of marketing services for buyers at a certain distance from the store.
  2.   Email Marketing can benefit a smaller business by suggesting consumers some ads on the basis of their search history and preferences.
  3.   A business that requires suggestive selling. It allows suggesting items that consumers would likely be interested in based on their interests and taste.
  4.   Social selling is another advantage of behavioral targeting that uses consumers’ social media engagement data to display them appropriate ads.

How Does Behavioral Targeting Work?

  1.   A cookie is placed on the user’s computer when they visit a website o create an account online.
  2.   As more and more cookies are collected and analyzed, behavioral pattern formation becomes easy related to user’s buying patterns.
  3.   Using these behavior patterns, different users can be categorized into different target groups.
  4.   On the basis of different target market chunks, information relevant to those chunks is delivered instead of generic ads for every group.

Benefits Of Contextual Targeting

  1.   Contextual targeting is safer to regulate because it has minimal or zero reliance on personal data and information.
  2.   Contextual ads compliment well with the content of the website and don’t seem like its something out of the blue.
  3.   Contextual targeting is proven to increase the purchase intent drastically because of being effective for a specific type of ads according to the content.
  4.   Ads rendered by contextual targeting are considered to be more unnerving because of being relatable to the content and hence are taken more positively. 
  5.   Contextual targeting is all about what the user is actually interested in. 

Challenges Of Contextual Targeting

  1.   The process requires a lot of attention. For example, some contents are too broad in scope to precise targeting and it gives the competitor a chance to take an edge by taking ad slots.
  2.   There can be examples of inaccurate pairing as well. For example, someone reading about a celebrity’s new home might not be interested in buying one for themselves.
  3.   There have been problems in the implementation of frequency capping. However, it does not entirely depend on contextual targeting, rather it depends on various other factors like GDPR and browser cookies.
  4.   Scaling is not as easy.
  5.   Knowledge of SEO and writing keywords appropriately in content is necessary which can be time-consuming.  

Benefits Of Behavioral Targeting

  1.   Once a user accesses the company’s website, the brand can offer related ads from other parts of the website. This can increase clicks and activity for specific ads and increase customer engagement.
  2.   Behavioral targeting gives the most desirable content to the user, leading to a greater chance of potential buyers to turn into a regular customer and better sales.
  3.   By continuously gathering information about consumer preferences, its easier for marketers and publishers to offer them more personalized promotions and new offers.
  4.   Behavioral targeting gives higher efficiency in the overall e-shopping process by constantly analyzing and collecting user data.   
  5.   Users are usually reluctant to share their browsing information with the publisher. However, they also prefer more personalized ads. With behavioral targeting, users find their web browsing experience more enjoyable and interactive, leading to more user satisfaction.

Challenges Of Behavioral Targeting

  1.   Privacy concern is the most common in behavioral targeting. A consumer usually prefers to keep their information safe and may consider behavioral targeting as an invasion of privacy.
  2.   Expect a higher cost while opting for behavioral targeting for your business. This is due to the extensive segmentation of the target audience.

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