Behavioral Targeting vs. Contextual Targeting: Which Is Better?

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Hale Soucie

As a car dealer you have more than likely heard about Behavioral and Contextual Targeting when it comes to marketing, but if you’re like a lot of the dealers I have spoken to, you may not be entirely clear on the difference between the two.

The truth is that both are similar in a lot of ways:

Both Contextual and Behavioral Targeting use intelligence to place ads in front of the most relevant, likely-to-buy shoppers they can. Both forms of targeting are also dynamic, meaning they constantly change to deliver better results when given more data.

Though both forms of targeting have a lot in common, there are a couple key differences in how they go about reaching their goal that are important for you as a dealer to know about.

Behavioral Targeting monitors shoppers’ online behavior and places ads accordingly. So, let’s just say that a shopper is spending a lot of time researching cars online. This allows us to assume that the person is most likely shopping for a new car, so when they move on to other webpages and social media sites you can serve them with an ad for your dealership or even the specific model that they were looking at.

While Behavioral Targeting monitors the behavior of the online user, Contextual focuses solely on the content of webpages. For example, if you did not have access to behavioral data and were simply trying to place an ad online for a potential car buyer, where would you place that ad? Most likely somewhere related to cars, whether that be on review sites or pages about shopping for cars to engage those users on those pages. With Contextual Targeting, ads are placed on relevant pages so that no matter who is viewing that page, the offers being shown still appeal to them. The dynamic aspect of Contextual is that as the content of a page changes, so do the ads shown on that page.

So, the biggest distinction is that Behavioral campaigns serve ads to prospects based on their past behavior while Contextual campaigns try to place ads where “best-fit” potential prospects are going to be browsing.

Both targeting techniques are powerful tools to reach shoppers, but both can miss out on potential customers on their own. That is why at Edifice we use both Behavioral and Contextual targeting to display ads on webpages that car shoppers may be visiting and then continue to show them offers as they leave that webpage for other websites and Social Media.

It gets better though.

Say that person is shopping for cars on their laptop. After a while they call it a day, hop in bed, and decide to see what their friends have been up to on Facebook using their phone before they sleep. At Edifice we can track users across multiple devices and continue to serve them ads on webpages, Social Media Sites and even in apps.

How’s that for connecting with a customer?

Have more questions about Behavioral and Contextual Targeting? Want to learn how you can use them to send more shoppers to your store? Contact us with the button below and an Edifice Representative will reach out to you within one business day.

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