What Are Contextual and Behavioral Targeting?

Posted at Oct 16, 2018 4:54:00 PM by THAT Agency | Share

As you delve into the ins and outs of advertising, you may come across two terms: contextual targeting and behavioral advertising. It's easy to get these two terms confused, but they are really quite distinct. What's more is that if you're using big data to help inform your advertising (good move), it's essential that you understand the difference. It may just change your next big ad campaign.

Contextual Targeting | Behavioral Advertising | THAT Agency

The Power of Context

Contextual targeting is simply ensuring you do your homework before you place an ad. You're not relying on demographics or even location (though these factors are crucial). Instead, you're looking to the content that might be similar to your own and what's on every page consumers are browsing.

Then your ad is placed near those spots that consumers might be interested in, giving you a much better rate of success. When an ad for a sports-betting service shows up beside ESPN's website, for example, that's contextual advertising.

A Look at Behavior

Behavioral advertising is very different. It does rely on cookies to decide where to deliver the ads, but it's not as targeted as a contextual advertising because the content might be different. That means it's not typically as powerful. For example, you might find a clothing ad in that same ESPN browsing session mentioned above.

Which Is Better?

Experts often suggest that behavioral targeting is “better,” but it depends entirely on the marketing situation. Contextual targeting is driven by a page's content and the keywords involved. It has a high click-through rate and it's cost-effective. It's typically idea for local ad campaigns, but it can be used in national campaigns as well.

Behavioral ad targeting, though, is preferred for a reason, but to make it work, you have to have big data on your side. It's only as effective as the information you have, and smaller companies aren't likely to have enough information on their side to make it work. That may mean conversion rates are smaller in some situations. In situations where large national campaigns are involved, though, behavioral advertising is typically the only way to go.

Ready to explore contextual and behavioral targeting with your digital ads? Contact THAT Agency today for help managing your pay-per-click and social media advertising campaigns.

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