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How Advanced Contextual Enables More Cost-Effective Retargeting

The end of the third-party cookie on Chrome will make it urgent for advertisers to rethink tried and true strategies such as retargeting. 


Advertisers have been using data from direct publisher buys, data partner usage, and third-party data segments to create site visits for their campaign and retarget consumers with high intent from there. 


But as third-party segments go away, advertisers will lose signal on “intenders,” and parts of their retargeting pools will be eliminated. 


Contextual advertising can help advertisers fill the coming retargeting gap at scale. Here’s how.


Finding your audience more efficiently with contextual advertising


Retargeting efficiencies are directly related to the CPCs paid to create site visits, which themselves create retargeting pools. And the lower the CPC, the better the retargeting efficiency is.


Because context is a good indicator of consumer intent, it can deliver low CPCs that are of high quality. We focus our platform and operations around a few activities to achieve a high-quality, low-cost CPC.


1. We use topics, not keywords. That means that, for a hotel chain in the Bahamas aiming to find audiences who might stay at their hotels, we don't just look for articles that contain the words "Bahamas" or "travel." We identify topics related to your search such as high-end Bahamas hospitality and find a narrower and more relevant set of pages relevant to that topic.


2. We screen out brand-unsafe articles as well as ineffective and low-quality inventory such as MFA sites. You only show up on sites that are brand-suitable and where real humans are consuming content.


3. We only target pages, not domains or channel fronts. For example, the New York Times has pages relevant to a Bahamian hotel chain. But not every page on the NYT is relevant, nor is even every page on its "travel" section. So, we don't target the NYT home page or its travel section. We target the NYT pages most relevant to the topic.


The way most contextual providers would help the hotel chain target potential customers is by targeting keywords. For example, they might help the hospitality business target any articles containing keywords related to "travel" or "the Bahamas." This is how contextual targeting by all the major providers such as Oracle, The Trade Desk, and Google works.


The problem with the usual approach — using keywords alone — is its inefficiency. If you rely only on keywords, you'll target plenty of pages on the Bahamas that have nothing to do with high-end travel. Some may even be brand-unsafe. For example, you wouldn't want to remind prospective travelers to the Bahamas about natural disasters in the region.


This more granular approach to contextual advertising drives much more efficient CPCs. For example, a hotel chain like the example we used in this article used us to achieve $0.80 CPCs against a benchmark of $2. 


With these efficient clicks, you can develop a retargeting pool much more quickly and cost-effectively. Then, you can use alternative IDs to find hand raisers wherever they are until you close the deal.


The end of cookies doesn’t mean the end of retargeting. It just means you need smarter contextual solutions to kickstart the process.

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