Semantic Contextual Targeting: Back and Better Than Ever

Semantic contextual targeting isn’t new. However, renewed interest in ethical targeting and user privacy has brought it back into the spotlight with good reason.

Contextual targeting has come a long way since the early 2000’s. It began with roots in predefined website themes and categories and served as a solid solution until cookie-based targeting transformed the digital advertising landscape.  With the need for compliance after GDPR became effective in 2018 and the increasing concern around data privacy, semantic contextual targeting has made a comeback…with a glow-up as well.

The advances in AI over the last decade have created powerful new possibilities and it just might be time for a second look at the benefits of semantic contextual targeting. 

The Power of Semantic Contextual Targeting

Unlike other targeting solutions, like domain and IAB category targeting, semantic contextual targeting goes beyond simple keyword matching to provide a true understanding of the text. By extracting relevant content from within each web page and then applying AI-powered semantic analysis through natural language processing (NLP), semantic contextual provides precise page-level categorization into the best fitting segment. 

Take the following example of a story shared on a general news site: this page would get categorized into the Arts & Entertainment segment despite being located in the News section of the publisher’s site when utilizing semantic contextual targeting. 

Semantic Contextual Targeting

With domain category targeting, the same page would fall under the News category as there is no page-level classification available and all pages within the domain are assigned the same category, potentially resulting in lower performance and elevated brand safety risk.

Context to the Rescue

With the looming elimination of third-party cookies, there’s no better time to revisit the strategic role of semantic contextual targeting. In addition to providing a seamless user experience, it serves as a cookieless targeting solution offering benefits to both buyers and publishers. 

For buyers

  • Connect with your audiences based on their interests and content they are consuming at a point in the journey where they’re most likely to convert.
  • Boost campaign performance by improving brand recall and audience engagement.
  • Fine tune your inventory selection and target only brand-relevant content.

74% of consumers are likely to remember an ad if its message relates to content around it

Source: IAS study, 2020

Contextually relevant ads generated 43% more neural engagement than contextually irrelevant ads

Source: GumGum Contextual Study 2020

54% of US marketers say they will move to contextual targeting to solve 3rd party cookie deprecation

Source: eMarketer 2020

83% of consumers worldwide are concerned about their privacy

Source: eMarketer Pro report, 2019

For publishers

  • Leverage your most important asset –  your content
  • Increase your ad revenues. The right content classification lifts ad placement relevance and value. 
  • Enable unique targeting capabilities for your media buyers. 

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a semantic contextual targeting strategy that allows you to best meet your objectives. 

Reach out to our team to discuss how we can help you. 

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