Customer Targeting: The Difference between Behavioral Targeting and Contextual Advertising

What is Behavioral Targeting? Top 4 Benefits for Marketers


Marketing has now reached new heights in terms of options and methods of marketing available to marketers. Digital marketing has allowed marketers to target customers based on their buying patterns and preferences with the help of different technologies.

To simplify how these targeting methods work, let’s look into an example. Suppose you are looking for a new headset on an e-commerce website. You look at several styles, colors, and brands but aren’t ready to make a final decision to purchase a pair yet. moments later when you’re scrolling through Instagram, you come across an ad for the very same headset you saw on the online shopping store. Suspicious, right?

Let’s take a look at another example, imagine you are on YouTube looking for a new workout routine. After you’re done, you stumble upon an article about the latest happenings and while you are reading that said article, an ad for multivitamins and protein shakes pops up on your screen. 

If you are wondering how this happened and how the internet could know what you are interested in,  let us tell you that you have been exposed to targeting methods often used by marketers who are trying to earn new business: contextual advertising and behavioral targeting.

To further understand these concepts you can take an online course on customer targeting but to learn these concepts properly make sure you subscribe to a reliable internet connection and if in case you don’t have one, you can get in touch with Hughesnet Customer Service and choose an internet deal that best fits your internet needs.

In this article, we will give you a basic overview of both contextual advertising and behavioral targeting and the difference between them.

What is Behavioral Targeting?

It is a targeting technique used by marketers to reach the audience they would be interested in the products or services offered by them. They do that by collecting relevant data about their audience’s behavior. This data is accumulated by analyzing their web browsing history, the queries searched by them and the product pages they have visited. 

Using this knowledge, marketers create ads that seem to pop up on the screen of their said target customers.

For instance, you want to purchase a new handbag and you have spent hours on the web looking for a bag that you like the best. Later, while visiting a new website, the ad for the same handbag brand that you searched for pops up on your screen. This is what behavioral targeting is all about. Marketers have been using your web browsing history and online buying behavior to show you targeted ads based on your perceived interest.


What is Contextual Advertising?

Contextual advertising, also known as contextual targeting or contextual marketing, on the other hand, is another targeting method used by marketers to serve online ads to consumers. This is a more generalized method of targeting that uses the content of the site visited by the users and shows them ads that fall under the same context. While behavior targeting uses your buying patterns and behaviors, contextual advertising uses specific website content to deliver relevant ads to the targeted consumers. 

For instance, you are browsing the web in search of a cycle and after a while ads about cycling gear start to pop up on your screens.


Which is better – Behavioral Targeting or Contextual Advertising

Both behavioral targeting and contextual advertising is worth trying out as a part of the digital marketing mix. As the marketing landscape continues to evolve and big data and AI continues to advance, marketers now have more marketing methods and strategies to apply to target and attract new customers. 

Marketers can also use both behavioral and contextual targeting together to generate a more holistic approach and reach consumers at different points in different ways.

Wrapping Up

Many savvy marketers are using a combination of these two targeting methods to reach audiences who are more likely to purchase their products. And with the marketing landscape shifting, the adoption of more consumer-friendly methods has made it easy for both marketers and consumers to connect and spread awareness about a product or service that a particular consumer needs.