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The Online Advertising Playbook: Proven Strategies and Tested Tactics from The Advertising Research Foundation by Robert Barocci, Taddy Hall, Steve Rappaport, Joseph Plummer

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Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting is a new concept for targeting, especially online. It places ads on web pages that have a relationship to the content of the page. For example, shampoo ads are placed in the hair care section of health and beauty sites. Financial products are placed on money sites, and hotel ads on travel sites. Well, you get the picture. Collectively, section pages within such properties, called contextual inventory, sell quickly, sometimes years in advance for prime locations.

Contextual targeting’s appeal is straightforward—be seen in places where large numbers of shoppers go to catch up on events or news and look for information about a specific product category or activity like traveling or cooking. Contextual locations are like a specialized shopping district, such as those in New York City for diamonds, garments, musical instruments, theater, and restaurant supplies, or auto malls in suburban towns. Concentrating buyers and sellers allows for efficient markets and enables the sellers to understand their customers and differentiate themselves.

Besides the expected business benefits of contextual targeting, such as reaching actively shopping consumers, online advertisers value the context, the location, and the editorial environment their ads appear in. According to an eMarketer study, 43% of online advertisers cited the association of the company’s brand with high-quality content as a key benefit (eMarketer 2006f). Figure 2.1 shows what online advertisers ...

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