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To target ad buys based on channel or demographic information alone is to bake a cake with only half the ingredients and no instructions. Sure, something will result from the effort, but it won’t be anything to write home — or in this case, tell the client or the CMO — about.

Just as a recipe benefits from hand scribbled notes in the margins, so campaigns benefit from additional context. For instance, while a keyword scan of a site might suggest the page’s content is relevant for a current ad, it doesn’t consider the context in which that word appears, much less the overall quality of the page.

This is where additional context is needed. Is the keyword in question appearing on a page negatively? Is it juxtaposed against high risk user generated content? Does the site contain malware, spoofed URLs, or other dangerous elements?

Indeed, much is at risk when a campaign relies on simplistic targeting mechanics. It’s no wonder that savvy marketers are turning to smarter, contextual ways of finding their audiences in brand-safe settings. In fact, according to a 2018 survey of US marketers, 33% are investing more heavily into contextual marketing.

What is Contextual Targeting? 
Contextual targeting is a form of targeted advertising that relies on technology to match both the ad content and the place it appears with the user that will be seeing it. While behavioral targeting relies only on attributes or actions of the target audience (i.e. a sports fan), contextual campaigns try to place ads where potential best-fit customers will be. This means that the product or service you are promoting is directly related to the website or page where the ad appears. So if you are promoting sports equipment, you would show that ad on sports pages.

Who Uses Contextual Targeting? 
While many marketers in a variety of industries and verticals use both behavioral and contextual targeting, retail is one industry that is particularly aware of the impact context has on the bottom line. With thousands upon thousands of product names and descriptions to promote, the need for targeting that looks beyond easily misinterpreted keywords is paramount. As such, it’s not surprising that 48% of retail marketers leverage real-time contextual targeting to drive in-store traffic.

Nevertheless, some lagging marketers still question whether contextual targeting is worth the incremental impression cost. But the answer is an overwhelming yes. According to a survey of over 200 marketers leveraging contextual targeting:

  • 47% became more efficient in campaign planning
  • 34% were able to leverage real-time campaign activation
  • 33% saw a performance uplift across brand metrics
  • 27% saw a performance uplift across direct response metrics
  • 20% enjoyed an increase in their audience understanding

Simply, not only does contextual targeting better protect brands against unsafe content that could pass through keyword filters, but it also improves overall campaign metrics. What’s better yet? With the right tech stack, deploying contextual targeting across campaigns is a piece of cake.

Want to Learn More? 
If you’d like more information on how AUDIENCEX’s suite of programmatic, search and social advertising tools can help you layer contextual data into your ad targeting to drive performance, contact us.