Top 5 contextual targeting tactics: persona-driven alignment

March 1, 2024 | 4 minute read
Tim Carr
Head of Marketing, Oracle Advertising
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In the first three segments of this series, we focused on targeting specific content related to mindsets and moments rather than targeting individuals as we do through digital audiences. Each of these contextual alignment tactics provides unique benefits that are hard to achieve through audience targeting alone, making them highly complementary to an audience targeting-led approach.

Persona-driven contextual targeting, on the other hand, closely resembles audience targeting techniques - attempting to reach a specific group of people through the content they will likely consume instead of data points connected through digital identifiers. For example, if you want to target avid hikers, you may want to appear against camping content, recipes, van life blogs, trail research, and more. This privacy-centric targeting tactic is ideal for situations where audience data is not permitted, for categories that may be considered sensitive, or for channels that rely heavily on identifiers that may be eroding through changes such as 3rd party cookies. 

Let’s review the steps you may want to take to optimize your persona-driven contextual targeting strategy. 

Start by better knowing your customers and prospects

To create a persona-driven contextual targeting plan, you need a deep understanding of your target audience. Discerning their interests, hobbies, and passion points that they are more likely to be interested in than the general population can help narrow your targeting field. In some cases, these insights may be highly intuitive, such as electric vehicle shoppers being considered green consumers and interested in anything more environmentally friendly. 

While intuition may be helpful at times, interests can be more accurately derived through more analytic methods such as:

  • Focus Groups – Hearing directly from small groups to learn about their interests.
  • Social Listening – Analyzing online conversations about your brand.
  • Zero Party Data – Customers sharing personal details through survey’s, loyalty programs and more.
  • Data Enrichment – Leveraging external insights tied to your customer records.

Oracle Data Enrichment can do more than give you an inside look into consumer passion points. It appends known attributes, characteristics, purchase behaviors, and demographics at the individual level, allowing you to segment your consumers granularly, prioritize investments by the individual, improve product and sales decisions, identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities, and personalize their singular experience cross-channel, reduce attrition by enhancing their overall customer experience. 

Choose or build your custom contextual segments

Next, take the insights you have learned and choose from readily available syndicated contextual segments that correspond with your testing strategy, or build a custom segment to align more closely with your chosen interest. While sometimes a single “context” can achieve relevancy, you may require multiple types of “contexts” to find an audience with varied interests and reach a broader scale. 

For example, you may find that many Tesla buyers skew highly toward environmental or sustainability content. Still, this context will only reach a portion of the Tesla buyer base. Technology enthusiasts may also overlap highly with Tesla buyers, and by simply placing your ads in front of green-friendly content, you would exclude this valuable customer segment, leaving potential buyers off the table. 

If you need help choosing the right contextual targeting segments, or need access to our technology-transparent user interface, reach out to our dedicated Oracle Advertising Contextual Intelligence team.  

Take the guesswork out of marrying audience interests with context

As we saw with the hypothetical Tesla example, your target consumer can be multifaceted. Most audiences are comprised of people with diverse backgrounds and a broad range of hobbies and interests. It can be a challenge to not only decide which contextual targeting segments to test into, but also time-consuming and expensive to add a plethora of segments to every new campaign.

To take the guesswork out of the equation, Oracle Advertising developed Content Affinity Targeting. This new form of privacy-centric targeting begins with Oracle’s legacy in offline consumer purchase data, bringing in our Contextual Intelligence engine to analyze what a given seed audience views online, building a profile of the content types they’re most likely to engage with and what they tend to steer away from. Once a robust portrait is created, we decouple the people-based seed from its consumption profile to create a data-backed contextual persona-driven targeting segment with global scale. 

For more help crafting your contextual targeting plan, please get in touch with your Oracle Advertising account management team, or you can request a consultation to learn more.


For more blogs in this series, please see below:


Tim Carr

Head of Marketing, Oracle Advertising

Tim Carr leads marketing for Oracle Advertising’s suite of digital media solutions, including audience targeting, contextual intelligence, data onboarding, ad verification, and attention measurement solutions.  Before joining Oracle, Tim spent 20 years working in the CPG industry, holding various roles in sales, insights, and strategy at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare and in shopper analytics and loyalty marketing at IRI and Catalina.

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