Contextual vs. Behavioral Ad Targeting: Which Works Better?

Ever since Safari initiated the blocking of third-party cookies back in 2017, advertising has constantly been declining. Following this, Google is approaching a cookie-free medium for a brand’s advertisement by the end of 2023. This is a crucial event for all branding advertisers and a critical stage to find an impactful alternative to grab their audience even in the post-changing scenario.

The burden is now on the advertisers to build an alternate method that concerns with the privacy of its user and delivers appropriate and meaningful advertisements without seeking their info.

That’s where the Contextual targeting method enters. This blog will inform you about all the foundational and advanced knowledge about these targeting methods to help you make the right decision when it comes to your own business.

What is Ad targeting?

Before grabbing your attention towards our keyword, it is prominent to structure your basic learning with a strong foundation first. Targeted Advertising is a kind of advertising that strikes an audience with certain characters based on the product or the individual promoted by the advertiser. This includes online advertising as well. Companies have generated a capable technology that enables them to gather information about a web user. 

By tracking the kind of websites user usually visits, internet service providers can automatically show some of the relevant ads. Some types of Digital Ad targeting means include Google engine marketing, social media targeting, contextual targeting, technical targeting, etc. Many of these technologies are tracking users and are still a topic of debate concerning the user’s privacy issues.  

Understanding the basics of Contextual Ad Targeting

Contextual advertising can be understood as a form of Targeted advertisement where advertisers place relevant advertisements on web pages, depending upon the content of that particular page. In contextual targeting, the advertising media depends upon the type of that content using linguistic elements (keywords or website topic). The automated systems functions to select the type of advertisement, depending on the type of context the user looks for. 

To better understand Contextual Ad targeting, observe the type of advertisement that appears or pops up on the web page you were looking at. It can be a newly launched mobile phone that appears on the webpage of technology. Another example includes a contextual ad for eyeglasses in the section of books on a website. The next one can be related to gym equipment that pops up on websites for fitness and gym.

The saga is continuous over the effective use of Contextual ad targeting and how its key role in connecting users with an appropriate and meaningful advertisement.

How does Contextual Ad Targeting work?

Contextual ad targeting is a form of targeted advertising where the content of the web page the viewer is looking at is in direct correlation with the ad’s content. In simple words, certain keywords associated with the ads will directly pop up on the web page the viewer searches for

The contextual advertising system works by scanning the keywords and locating the ads to the web pages associated with those keywords. As an example, an advertisement related to sports essentials pops up on the website pertaining to sports. 

Contextual ads are more user-friendly and less irritating than some of the previously used methods, such as Behavioral targeting. This is the reason for its growing demand among advertisers. This relates the ad to the best possible interests of the user and, thus, seeks a positive response from the targeted audience.

Understanding the basics of Behavioral Ad Targeting

Behavioral Ad Targetings are user-oriented actions and can be easily achieved on web pages. Information from browsing websites can be easily collected from the user’s search history to find a basic pattern of the user’s interest. For example, if the user frequently searches for plane tickets, the targeted system will collect this information and start showing adverts to unrelated websites, such as some deals on airfare. This type of advertising method helps target an individual’s interest instead of a group of people having different interests and opinions.

Many online users and groups are concerned with the privacy issues related to this type of Ad targeting. For these, targeted advertising seeks a large amount of highly sensitive personal information such as health conditions, sexual orientation, and preferences. This information can be traded among hundreds of parties as real-time bidding.

How does Behavioral Ad Targeting work?

Behavioral Ad Targeting works based on data collected based on the user’s behavior, such as pages viewed, search time on previous websites, time spent on a particular website, content, ads clicked, and some other user interactions with the website. 

The data for behavioral targeting can be collected from a range of sources, like websites, mobile apps, and other marketing automation, and can include: User information, pages viewed, time spent on the website, etc.

The rise of Contextual Ad Targeting

Contextual Ad Targeting is rapidly establishing itself as a prominent alternative to traditional behavioral ad targeting. It has many strategic benefits that were not included in the third-party cookie’s method of targeting the audience. Their brand safe and no issues regarding the privacy of the user are some of the main reasons why companies are shifting toward this method. 

The fall of Behavioral Ad Targeting

By this time, all the advertisers are opting for an alternate method to target their audience instead of third-party cookie- Behavioral Ad Targeting. Almost 60% of global trafficking will turn cookie-less by the end of the year 2023.

The fall of cookies has again left advertisers with a dilemma to find a new strategy to tackle the issues related to privacy concerns of the user and a new advanced method to replace primitive Behavioral Ad targeting. The answer lies in Contextual Ad Targeting. 

How to Identify Which Type of Targeting is Right for Your Business

Is the end of third-party cookies the end of the targeting advertisements? Well, some experts do not support this statement. According to them, Contextual Ad targeting is the best possible alternative method in place of traditional behavioral ad targeting. According to them, this is an opportunity for the brands and the advertisers to shift their alignment towards a more user-friendly and qualitative method to use for understanding individual choices, interests, and necessary content. This can be a key element in forming a more engaging and valuable method of perceiving users’ viewpoints. 

And surprisingly, Contextual ad targeting meets all the requirements needed to beat and become a more reliable source.

Identifying Target Audience Behavior Patterns

Identifying the target audience helps determine what kind of advertisement resonates with the user the most. It is beneficial in leveraging predictive analytics for the target ads. Based on some of the behavioral targeting, you can easily personalize the market depending on different sources such as:

  • What are people viewing?
  • What kind of email user click at?
  • What kind of items do users add to their cart?
  • What kind of actions did the user take on your website?

What we offer

Admedia is a leading brand in drawing advertisers’ attention due to our beneficial advanced strategic upgradation. Now, you do not just have to get access to the web pages based on the keywords. Admedia enhances the targeting media with first-party data to give an impactful output. Admedia introduces your brands to a wider audience via images, video, CTV, display, or our ad formats designed to have an impactful print on the user’s experience. Admedia helps provide qualitative programmatic optimization and increases performance when displaying cookie-less ads.

Contextual ad targeting provides other offers such as brand safety, against fraud, and contextual targeting. You can easily avail and leverage predictive analytics for targeted ads. Further, it relies on the “right people at the right time” without the involvement of a third party and proficiently increases the sale of the advertiser.


The demise of third-party cookie systems was undoubtedly one of the effective advertising methods. But, the user’s protected privacy gives contextual ad targeting an additional point. Their adverting method is based on the group of people and the content of the website. This is the reason why global companies are shifting towards the context ad targeting method, coupled with the protected privacy of the user.

Visit to learn more about how you can grow your business with effective marketing strategies and get a one-stop solution to all your advertising needs. You will also get to know about several ways to build your personalized marketing methods.

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