Compared to other online
ad targeting methods,
such as targeting by demographics, contextual targeting produces better
response. But contextual
advertising is just part of a larger movement that
is sweeping the online marketing world. This movement is known as behavioral
Contextual advertising represents the first
step in a shift in how we think about audiences. Rather than targeting
audiences solely on demographics (Men 18-49, College graduates 18+),
marketers are learning to target by online behavior. The first step is to
shed the well-established offline demographic targeting methodology and
begin to look at the mindset and observed actions of the consumer.
Contextual advertising does just that.
Take, for instance, keyword advertising on
search engines and portals. A car manufacturer who bids on keyword "minivan"
is hoping to capture prospects based on their web behavior – searching for
information on minivans at a search engine. The car manufacturer hopes not
only to reach the right prospect, but also to reach that prospect at just
the right time, when he's searching for information. But contextual
advertising in this fashion is only scratching the surface of the ability to
target desirable consumer behaviors.
What if an advertiser could identify a minivan
buyer entering the consideration process by, say, noticing that the consumer
was gathering information from a number of auto-related websites?
Furthermore, what if marketers could identify behavior that indicated that a
consumer was moving down the consideration funnel and is deciding between
two specific models/options? There is a tremendous opportunity to present a
targeted and relevant message when these types of behaviors are identified.
That's what behavioral marketing is all about.