Does Content = Audience Online?

Data-Driven Thinking"Data-Driven Thinking" is a column written by members of the media community and containing fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today's column is written by Amiad Solomon, CEO at Peer39.

When watching an NFL or NASCAR event on TV, you expect that most of the commercials aired will be for beer, restaurants, shavers, or cars. Although television does not possess the granular targeting technologies we utilize online, advertisers are expert in predicting what sort of audience these events will attract and they buy ad time accordingly. It’s the proven way to reach an audience.

Reaching audience at scale in the digital environment proved to be much more complicated. With content distributed across nearly infinite locations, it became nearly impossible to build critical mass in audience by targeting to specific types of content alone. It became necessary to for advertisers to work with behavioral and audience targeting providers, who could leverage cookies and vast content networks. This became the one way to reach targeted audiences at scale to meet campaign goals online - buying audiences using in-market and other traditional data sets.

With semantic advertising, it is now possible to aggregate millions of users who are reading relevant content. By understanding the true meaning and sentiment of web pages, semantic systems can determine what a user is reading about and enable ads to be targeted to that specific content category, delivering the message to an engaged user at the right time.  Using semantics, a financial advertiser can identify content specifically about stocks and mutual funds, pharmaceutical companies can find condition specific content across the web and consumer electronics brands can target to blogs that are discussing the latest Apple product launch. This level of granular content targeting uses the nature of the content to deliver the audience – at scale.

Reaching audiences via the content they are consuming is clearly not new, and is certainly effective. Getting the right message to the right audience at the right time is the holy grail of marketing.  Until very recently, it was impossible to target content at scale, and connect to the ideal audience. Semantic targeted advertising makes it possible across massive amounts of unrelated digital content, and it is also complementary to today’s most effective behavioral strategies. How effective would it be for a luxury car maker to reach the in-market car buyer while he is reading a piece about positive financial news?  This is where semantic advertising can take us online.  By enabling advertisers to take full advantage of knowing what a user is interested in at the moment, semantically targeted ads deliver the relevant message to the proper audience at just the right time.

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