Not all media buying amounts to high-quality advertising. Every campaign manager has spent budget without being sure that he’s doing so in the most efficient way possible. This isn’t entirely on the people who orchestrate media buying. It’s a function of the way most advertising tools are set up.
Three common sources of waste in digital advertising are targeting based on homepages and channel pages, keyword ambiguity, and made-for-advertising sites. Let’s break down how each of these factors drives waste — and how you can eliminate that waste and get more bang for your buck with Advanced Contextual’s approach to audience modeling and targeting.
Poor contextual targeting
Most media buying strategies involve some level of contextual targeting — meaning the advertiser pairs their message with sites that relate to it. To do this, most contextual advertising platforms and media buying tools categorize content based on a site’s homepage or a channel page, as well as article or video level pages. Solely focusing on domains (like nytimes.com) or the channels that most immediately come to mind (like health.nytimes.com) leads to broad, imprecise targeting. On the other hand, focusing on individual health articles and video pages at nytimes.com, for instance, will provide you with a robust, accurate signal.
For example, let’s say a pharmaceutical company wants to advertise its medication for a rare liver disease. A channel page such as health.nytimes.com could seem like a good place to start. However, the content that appears on a channel page like this is too broad to reach that advertiser’s exact intended audience (unless there happens to be coverage of liver disease on a given day when ad is running).
Instead, advertisers should be targeting granular, individual pages of content rather than a homepage or channel front. In the case of our hypothetical pharmaceutical company, news articles about rare liver disease — or other specific pages of content the company’s intended audience likely reads — would be prime targets for advertising.
That’s why Advanced Contextual’s platform ignores homepages and channel fronts. By only targeting specific, individual pages of content for our audience models, our platform enables advertisers to achieve the level of targeting precision necessary for connecting with the most relevant audiences.
In addition to relying on homepages and channel pages, most media buying strategies only use keywords. This is intended to help the advertiser find content, and by extension audiences, relevant to their product and message. But keyword targeting goes awry when the keyword is too ambiguous to ensure brand suitability and relevance.
Consider a hospitality brand targeting “travel” pages. While the advertiser might have articles about a weekend in Mexico City in mind, targeting “travel” and related keywords might land their ads next to articles about refugees fleeing war or natural disasters. That’s not the right mindset for a reader to be in when they encounter an ad for a hotel chain.
Advanced Contextual eliminates this ambiguity by checking the surrounding environment of content first so you’re sure the words you’re targeting mean what they should and that they’re in an environment you want your brand to be associated with — not one that will hurt it. We take a topics-first, keywords second approach. Our engine always checks the topics of the content before determining if the words are appropriate to target with ads, performing deeper topical analysis and measuring tone, sentiment, and psychographics to boot.
This means a hospitality advertiser never ends up next to content about politically motivated travel. Their ads run next to content that is truly relevant to the vacation-minded consumer they want to reach.
Most media buying strategies use tools that direct some spend to made-for-advertising (MFA) sites, or pages that pose as enticing targets for advertising but are really sites with low-quality content, stuffed with ads. In fact, the ANA recently found that MFA sites accounted for 21% of impressions.
Despite their high reach, MFA sites lack the content quality to generate prime advertising engagement. Another way to look at it: most readers only wind up on MFA sites by accident, often leaving them after (at best) minimal engagement.
Advanced Contextual’s platform religiously screens out MFA sites. For instance, a page crammed with cheap inventory and a slideshow is usually a dead ringer for an MFA site, and our platform rules it out for targeting.
By filtering out MFA sites, homepages, and channel fronts and taking a topics-first, keywords-second approach, Advanced Contextual’s custom audience models enable advertisers to target only the pages most suitable for their brands. The custom segments we build don’t just help advertisers cut out waste. They unlock prime opportunities for getting closer to the exact audiences they want to reach.