"A lot of targeting is based on channels, which are structured around broad topics like entertainment," Ferber said. "That can mean a lot of things. If I'm a sponsor of a major music act, I want to be able to market that on MTV's websites for the Video Music Awards. After the VMAs are over, I want the ability to target all videos by a particular artist. There are individual URLs for that – that's pretty hypertargeted and that's what TriVu can do with us."
Most video targeting still focuses on display-style targeting, by primarily focusing on "domains and audience data," said Paul Calento, TriVu's CEO. "This can lead to a disconnect between the ad and the content it's aligned with. TV advertisers may pay on an audience model, but they buy specific programs that align with specific brand objectives. We've doing that for online video."
TriVu bases its contextual targeting on three areas of consideration: the content itself, how much reach that content has and what kind of response the ad got, either via clicks or a percent of the viewed component.
The dynamic between behavior and contextual targeting is pretty simple, said George Hammer, VP and group director of media strategy for Digitas: If you want people to do something, behavior targeting is the way to go. But if you want them to think about something, then contextual is the best model.
As a skill set, contextual has rarely impressed media buyers, despite the natural appeal of adjacency. But by marrying contextual with behavioral targeting, the hope is that the benefits can be maximized, particularly in capturing the audience with more precision.
"As a first step in an online video campaign, marketers want brand safety assurances that a contextual environment delivers," Hammer says. "Then, they'll want to narrow that target to find people who have specific behavioral attributes likely to resonate with a purchase or brand affinity. The problem with doing both is that the more filters you put on a campaign, the less scale you get. It's a strategy that requires a lot of fine tuning."
Still, Ferber says that the programmatic system Videology has in place can manage that balance. For the most part, contextual video advertising will continue to gain traction, because the realization that the same audience in different contexts and mindsets will naturally react differently to the same ad.
"Scott Ferber watching CNBC is more valuable to E-Trade than the same Scott Ferber watching Barney with his daughter," he says. "That's what advertisers care about."