Contextual VS Behavioral Targeting

Mar 6, 2019 by

The question of what to choose: contextual or behavioral targeting started arising long years ago. Some experts were inclined to think that behavioral, as more personal approach, should be used only and second variant can be used as not obligatory supplement. Others argued furiously and were saying that both of them should be adopted sure as hell.

What is different now? Actually, nothing. The issue is like chicken-and-egg problem. People still can’t arrive at a common view. Let’s study the field in details to stand your own ground.

Contextual targeting
The idea of this approach is to publish ads, relevant to the website content. It reminds posting advertisements in a glossy magazine.

In general, it is direct and deliberate targeting. Nowadays a branch named semantic targeting is of great demand. Here the technologies of text analysis and moods are used for targeting the ads that may suit a web-page, point of view or main moods.

Behavioral targeting
Here the accent is made on users’ behaviour regarding visited pages, search requests and the products they bought. After such filtering, visitors with similar behavior are collected into some segmented groups and advertisers can target them with the help of specially selected ads and content, based on browsing history and purchases.


Contextual targeting there is a direct connection between the ads and surrounding content. Behavioral one determines states that users’ highest activity determines which ads and when will be displayed, while the relevancy of the ad and content may be missing or very weak.

So, what to choose?
Well, we must admit they are both perfect. You don’t look surprised, do you? The focus here should not be on what is better, but how to use them at different moment of customer’s journey to gain the highest results.

Both approaches are developing and offer its unique options, you should just think which one is better at a certain moment, but not as the whole concept at all.

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