3 Common Misconceptions of Contextual Targeting

  • November 24, 2021
  • No Comments

Contextual targeting is a type of user targeting where marketers use ads or messages that are contextually-relevant to the user. It means if a user is looking to buy a particular product such as a mobile phone, personalized ads or messages related to the phone are shown to him/her. Before the advent of third-party cookies, contextual targeting was quite popular among digital marketers. Now, as the martech world slowly moves away from third-party cookie-based targeting, the attention has shifted back to it. 


There are however some common misconceptions that marketers need to be aware of when it comes to contextual targeting.


3 Common Misconceptions of Contextual Targeting


1. Contextual targeting is nothing but keyword-based targeting


Keyword-based targeting | contextual targeting


Contextual targeting is not targeting users based on a bunch of keywords. This was the case in the past where keywords were the go-to strategy for digital marketers. If a user searches for a product with a particular set of keywords. The algorithm shows an ad related to those keywords. Many companies still employ this type of targeting. 


But today, the focus has shifted to 1:1 personalization or hyper-personalization. Consumers want brands to understand them deeply and not just target them with random ads that aren’t contextual in nature. For example, a user who has purchased a brand new Macbook from Amazon will be more interested in ads that focus on accessories such as a USB hub or a mouse or a laptop case, etc. He wouldn’t be interested in ads related to Macbooks as he has already bought one. 


2. Contextual targeting doesn’t mean past behavioral or purchase data


past data | contextual targeting


Looking at the purchase or behavioral history of users is a great way to target them. However, contextual doesn’t mean delving only on past data. It also means real-time targeting. Users want a personalized experience that happens in real-time. For example, a banking customer who has visited the home loans page of his bank multiple times is clearly showing intent to apply for it. A personalized message related to home loans in real-time on his/her preferred channel will resonate really well with that customer.


3. Contextual targeting and ID-based targeting are different


ID-based targeting | contextual targeting


Contextual targeting plays a big role in ID-based targeting. In fact, it’s more of its subset. With the deprecation of third-party cookies, ID-based targeting will be pivotal in driving personalized campaigns for users using their first-party data. If this data can be collected from disparate sources and unified, it helps marketers in understanding the context behind a customer’s or prospect’s need and want. Tools such as Customer Data Platforms can immensely help in the unification of first-party data and activating it across various marketing channels. 


To Sum Up

With the arrival of innovative tools such as CDP, contextual targeting has seen a whole new meaning from its earlier keywords-based approach. A contextually-relevant message is more capable of increasing a user’s digital engagement and conversions than random keywords-based ads or messages. Understanding customers intimately goes a long way in targeting them with messages that resonate well and deliver value. And with the help of AI, this can be done at scale at a whole new level. 


Contextual and 1:1 personalized targeting is the future of the marketing industry. If you would like to know how you could leverage a Customer Data Platform to facilitate this, do get in touch with us


By Bijoy K.B | Senior Marketing Manager at Lemnisk


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *