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94% of display media buying respondents to a Google and Forrester Consulting survey released in September 2012 currently combine contextual (i.e. targeting based on contextual category or contextual adjacency) and audience targeting. The primary reasons these respondents give for doing so are higher performance and greater accuracy than using one type of targeting alone. For example, among respondents who have a branding goal for their display efforts, 45% say that the primary reason they combine contextual and audience targeting is for higher performance, while 43% say the primary reason is for greater accuracy. Generally, the more that display media buyers spend, the more they see higher performance as the chief benefit of this combined targeting, and the less they cite accuracy as the primary reason for doing so.

Cost is the main drawback to combining contextual and audience targeting: of those who do so, 58% cited some cost element as the largest negative factor to doing so.

Contextual Targeting Most Popular

Asked what kind of online display targeting their organization uses (or agency uses for them), most respondents pointed to content or contextual (82%) targeting, with behavioral (71%), demographic (69%), geographic (66%), and search retargeting (65%) also popular. Roughly 3 in 5 also use site retargeting.

A ValueClick survey of online advertisers (not limited to display media buyers) from March found them indicating the most important types of targeting for their campaigns to be audience based (61%), demographic (59%), contextual (57%), and retargeting (55%).

Bright Future Seen for Audience Targeting

Details from Google’s “Display Media Buyers Value Audience in Content” indicate that 77% of the respondents believe that audience targeting will become a part of all campaigns in the future for display buying. Only 15% somewhat (10%) or strongly (5%) agree that audience is targeting is completely overhyped and not important, compared to 65% who somewhat (27%) or strongly (38%) disagree.

About the Data: The Google study was conducted in July 2012 by Forrester Consulting. The survey was conducted among 150 interactive marketers with display purview.

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