The 4 Factors Driving Effective Contextual Targeting


In association with InMobi.

Following ATS Singapore 2022, Narayan Murthy Ivaturi, director, sales, Southeast Asia, InMobi, details the rise of contextual targeting and outlines four key considerations marketers need to take to effectively leverage it.

The past few years have seen discussions around data privacy slowly but surely get more nuanced. As advertisers fail to track user activity in the absence of device identifiers, and more and more individuals shy away from sharing personal information, behavioural targeting has taken a back seat. Contextual targeting – the practice of targeting audiences based on the environment in which they are browsing – has come to the fore as a solution. Its impact has been felt in combatting challenges posed by stringent privacy regulations, rising consumer awareness and the growing need for non-intrusive, relevant advertising.

1. It all starts with contextualising data

Narayan Murthy Ivaturi

Narayan Murthy Ivaturi, director, sales, Southeast Asia, InMobi

Context needs to be enabled in advertising as easily and as seamlessly as possible. And it all starts with data. Contextualising data can help a brand avoid irrelevant marketing and deliver the right communication, at the right place, at the right time. Instead of intruding on a user's online experience, context can help brands anticipate the needs of potential consumers and create personalised and actionable experiences. Other than enhancing trust, this approach would lead to more meaningful relationships.

2. Leverage deterministic audiences

The focus on privacy has created a massive obsession with first-party data. However, brands and marketers need to understand that all data being collected comes with a perishable date. Unless first-party data is managed, enriched, and contextualised, it would add little to no value.

At the same time, while the need for gathering first-party data has never been louder, this approach typically highlights brand-specific interactions only. To get a holistic picture of a customer’s behaviour, brands must embrace data partnerships that gather and enrich their customer data and build deterministic audiences. Investing in deterministic audiences allows brands to track user interest and activity across different sites and apps, resulting in a more personalised ad experience. A reliable partner could help brands dive deeper into audience intelligence and consumer insights and utilise these to provide personalised advertising across the customer lifecycle in a privacy-compliant manner.

3. Enhance contextual experiences with immersive creative

In ensuring that the context is right, the creative process has paramount importance, everything else comes later. This is simply because, from the type of device to the nature of the platform, there are numerous factors which decide how a message gets delivered to an individual. For example, the targeting mechanisms for an Android user and an iOS user vary because of the innate contextual differences involved. To enable a seamless experience across all mediums, an immersive creative strategy thus becomes crucial – it could make or break a campaign. Unless brands combine context with immersive creative, they run the risk of alienating users and subsequent drop-offs.

For instance, to build a seamless shopping experience, brands could look at building personalised shoppable storefronts that create real e-commerce experiences within the ad itself. For consumers, that guarantees a personalised shopping experience and for brands, it ensures access to a high-quality audience and insights into the full purchase funnel. Considering these factors, we at InMobi recently partnered with iPrice, Southeast Asia’s leading online shopping companion, to help brands create personalised Storefront Ads and bring engaging, relevant, and actionable ad experiences to millions of Southeast Asian consumers.

4. Context inspires action

As the third-party data ecosystem gets turned on its head, marketers are trying to juggle the catastrophic impact of not having access to users’ tracking data. And in this scenario, contextual targeting has emerged as a buzzword. However, it's important to understand that we can never afford to take context away from advertising.

Over the years, the terminology and approach could have changed, but the fundamentals remain the same – the context of an ad will decide whether an individual will or will not take the intended action. Marketers should start off by understanding their target’s affinity towards certain content, and the role of other contexts involved in this interaction such as media platforms, device, and location, and thus create contextually relevant interventions that would inspire purchase intent.