“Contextual targeting” is yet another digital buzzword that can feel impossible to keep up with. We’ve written before about the importance of keeping up with digital terminology, but sometimes a simple definition isn’t enough to gain a real understanding. We’ve compiled a list of the top articles about contextual targeting – below you’ll find resources to define what it is, answer the most common questions, and predict its impact on digital advertising.

For a quick definition:

“What Is Contextual Advertising?”

Source: Wordstream, who help businesses and agencies take the guesswork out of pay-per-click advertising.

Contextual advertising is advertising on a website that is relevant to the page’s content. In traditional contextual advertising, automated systems display ads related to the content of your site based on keyword targeting. 

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For answers to FAQs:

“Why contextual targeting in advertising is the next big thing – again”

Source: Bannerflow, a Creative Management Platform (CMP) that enables in-house marketing teams to take control of their display advertising.

In this article, we will answer the following questions about this privacy “friendly” form of targeting:

  1. What is contextual targeting?
  2. What are the benefits of contextual targeting?
  3. Why did contextual targeting “go away”? (It didn’t)
  4. Why is contextual targeting now making a comeback?
  5. How does contextual targeting in display advertising work?
  6. What is the future of contextual targeting?

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Source: WebFX, an internet marketing agency.

Almost 71% of marketers struggle with creating ads that reach the right audience at the right time. That’s why nearly 90% of those marketers’ plan to up their investment in contextual targeting to achieve their advertising goals.

What is contextual marketing, though?

Keep reading, because this post covers all the essential details of contextual targeting, from what it is to why it matters. Plus, it features several must-see contextual ad examples that’ll inspire your team and your next ad campaign.

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For predictive commentary:

“The Future of Targeting is Contextual”

Source: An interview with eBay’s Director of Ad Sales, with Mat Broughton via ExchangeWire

Through all the uncertainty caused by the necessary pivot towards a fully privacy-compliant ecosystem, one thing is becoming clear: contextual is set to play a more prominent role in the advertising toolkit. Writing exclusively for ExchangeWire, Mike Klinkhammer (pictured below), director of ad sales – EU, eBay, discusses how contextual has evolved from traditional beginnings to a modern and sophisticated targeting method, and why its implementation should be seriously considered.

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For a buyer’s perspective:

“‘It’s a balancing act’: Media buyers want contextual targeting features to evolve further”

Source: Jessica Davies via Digiday

Data-driven media buying may soon look very different, thanks in large part to the heady cocktail of tighter data-privacy regulation and anti-tracking changes made by browsers. For that reason, several agencies are starting to look at ways they can push contextual targeting beyond its current capabilities.

The goal: to explore ways that contextual targeting can be applied in a way that doesn’t dumb down what has been achieved from acute audience targeting tactics used for addressable media, like behavioral advertising. But doing so in a way that avoids the risk of falling foul of data protection law or being at the mercy of any future anti-tracking changes from browsers.

“That’s the balancing act we’re looking to master,” said Ryan Storrar, svp and head of media activation for EMEA at Essence.

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Honorable Mentions: More Articles to Reference