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What Is Contextual Targeting?

May 11, 2021 Sarah Cavill

The roll out of Apple’s IDFA changes has sent ripples through the advertising world with many brands considering the best strategies to reach targeted audiences, now that previously available audience data is limited. Contextual targeting is one of those strategies, recently described by Facebook as “allowing advertisers to align their brand messaging [including video, audio and display ads] within content that is contextually relevant to their target consumer.” 

What Is Contextual Targeting? 

Contextual targeting matches ads to content based on the context of the content. The matching is performed by considering keywords, topics, language and location. For example, with contextual targeting, an ad for cookware might be placed on a recipe site. Contextual targeting isn’t a new concept, but it has grown more sophisticated and accurate with the use of machine learning, algorithms and more advanced measurement tools

In recent years, much of the targeting within digital advertising is behavioral, achieved by aligning ad buys with certain audiences based on information gleaned through internet and app use. As consumers’ privacy concerns increase, and the tech industry becomes more cautious (ex. IDFA changes, GDPR, CCPA), access to that behavioral data is becoming less readily available and other means of targeting consumers, like contextual targeting, has become fundamental. 

What Are The Benefits Of Contextual Targeting?

Contextual targeting aligns ads with relevant content in a way that typically makes sense for the audiences viewing the ads. Additionally, contextual targeting can enhance brand safety, because contextual targeting, using both positive and negative keywords, can help advertisers place ads near content that aligns with their brands while keeping ads away from content that doesn’t align. As contextual targeting becomes more widely adopted, advertisers may deploy their first-party data in conjunction with contextual targeting to make more personalized connections.

Are You Looking For New Ways To Reach Targeted Audiences?

Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) is a leading technology-enabled, data-driven digital performance advertising solutions provider connecting consumers and advertisers. Contact DMS today to learn how our first-party data asset, proprietary technology and expansive media reach can help you connect with high-intent consumers.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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