How to Turn Holiday Season Campaigns Into an Unforgettable Success?

Ho ho ho! The holiday season has already begun, to the delight of young and old alike. This is a key annual event for brands and choosing the right targeting strategy is essential. It must be thoughtfully planned out. 

As the range of targeting options is getting broader, decisions can be hard to make. Are you having a hard time choosing a targeting strategy? Unsure of how to pick between contextual semantic, keyword, and behavioral targeting? Let Smart explain it to you.

1 - Contextual Semantic Targeting

1.1 - What is it?

Contextual semantic targeting is the display of ads that are relevant to the context that surrounds them. Pages are categorized thematically based on the analysis of their true meaning. For instance, the display of an ad for Christmas decorations on a page categorized as “Christmas” (for example, a recipe page about Christmas pudding), or an ad for diapers on page categorized as “Family and Parenting” (for example, a mom’s forum). It’s like the digital version of placing a print ad in a niche magazine. 

Contextual semantic targeting enables buyers/advertisers to reach audiences in a context where they are more receptive to the ad displayed. For instance, what can we learn from a user visiting an article on “How to make a fantastic Christmas spread”? They have a strong interest in the holiday season, and will more likely be receptive to Christmas-related advertising if you catch them at that moment. Contextual Semantic Targeting is all about catching the right audience at the right moment, in the right place. 

Contextual Semantic targeting can also be used to exclude certain categorizes for brand safety concerns or to avoid having ads displayed in an unwanted environment.

Semantic targeting

1.2 - How does it work?

  1. Using Natural Language Processing (NLP), the algorithm analyses the relevant content of the page to understand it’s the true meaning. It considers the sequence of words, the probability they will appear and their meaning. Then, as a human would have done it, the algorithm classifies the content into categories.
  2. When a specific contextual semantic category is targeted in a campaign, the ads will only be displayed on pages matching this category.

1.3 - Main benefits

  1. An alternative to cookie-based targeting. Semantic Contextual targeting is not based on cookies, but rather the publisher’s content. This means you can target users at a relevant moment while respecting their privacy, and without the constraint of cookies.
  2. Efficient targeting based on a user’s interests. The type of content consumed by a user gives us powerful information about their interests, which is very valuable for targeting. It ensures you will address the right audience and effectively optimize ad campaigns. 
  3. A smoother advertising experience. Contextual semantic targeting ensures the advertisement will match better with the editorial context, or with the audience’s interests.

1.4 - What are the main disadvantages?

  1. Semantic Contextual might be too generic if you want to target a  very specific type of user.
  2. Custom semantic contextual targeting, coming directly from buyers, might limit the potential reach.

2 - Behavioral Targeting

2.1 - What is it?

Behavioral targeting selects advertisements based on information collected about a user’s web-browsing history, such as the pages they have visited or the searches they have made. 

It allows advertisers and publishers to target customers based on their behaviors across different websites. For instance, if a user browses a Christmas decoration website, they could be targeted with related ads on other websites they visit. 

The data collected on users’ browsing history (website cookie data, mobile device data, geographic location, subscription data, demographic information) is usually stored in DMP or similar data aggregator, and analyzed to sort individual users into groups that share the same behaviors. It is then actionable by advertisers or publishers to deliver ad campaigns using those behavioral segments.

Behavioral Targeting

2.2 - Main benefits

  1. Matching consumer needs. behavioral targeting personalizes the advertising experience to match the users’ preferences and offer them what they are looking for. 
  2. Improved campaign performances. Ads that match user preferences are more likely to drive conversions than generic ones.

2.3 - What are the main disadvantages?

  1. During key moments, such as the holiday season, behaviors and purchase intentions. Indeed, all fathers, mothers, godparents, brothers and sisters will potentially buy toys for their children, nephews, and nieces, so it might be complicated to know who intends to purchase what. 
  2. Behavioral targeting can sometimes be likened to an invasion of privacy and requires the use of cookies, which is why some consumers prefer to protect their information and not give their consent.
  3. Behavioral targeting also requires a large budget due to the extensive segmentation of the target audience, with high prices on the most valuable segments.

3 - Keyword Targeting

3.1 - What is it?

Keyword targeting is about targeting pages when they contain a list of specific keywords. For instance, you can target “Santa Claus” or “Christmas” if you want your ad to appear near content that refers to Christmas.

3.2 - Main benefits

  1. Easy to setup. Keyword targeting is often easy to set up, very intuitive and free in platforms. Strategies can be replicated from one tool to another as it has become quite common. 
  2. Reach. As keyword targeting is less precise, you are more likely to display ads on more pages.
  3. Precise exclusion. Keyword targeting can be used to exclude specific pages from your ad campaigns.

3.3 - What are the main disadvantages?

  1. Keyword targeting doesn’t focus on the exact meaning of the page. If a buyer targets a list of keywords about Christmas, children, toys etc., the ad could actually be displayed near a sociology article questioning the holiday season.
  2. Keyword targeting can lose its magic if the context is misinterpreted. 
  3. By adding too many keywords, buyers might have limited reach and miss key opportunities.

Marketers now hold all the cards to deliver the right ad to the right user, at the right time! With these advanced targeting options, the user experience remains pleasant and campaign objectives can be achieved, making Christmas dreams come true!

For more information about Smart do not hesitate to contact us