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Mobile Insights With InMobi: Q&A With InMobi’s Utkarsh Sinha on Contextual Targeting

Matt Kaplan
Content Strategist
4 min read
Posted on April 08, 2021

In the latest edition of Mobile Insights with InMobi, we sat down with Utkarsh Sinha, who leads demand-side product marketing for InMobi Exchange, to talk about contextual targeting. With user-level advertising becoming less feasible and less compelling for some advertisers, contextual targeting is on the rise, especially in in-app advertising. In this 18-minute conversation, Utkarsh discusses what contextual targeting is, why it’s valuable and how it’s evolving. Tune in today

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Top Quotes from Utkarsh: 

  • “Contextual targeting is the practice of reaching users based on the content they are consuming at that point.”  
  • “For example, Nike could target users who are consuming content related to sports. Someone like an investing app, for example, can target people who are consuming a lot of financial news, right? So the focus goes away from a user profile that has been built up on the basis of an ID tied to a personal profile.”  
  • "I think the one advantage of contextual targeting is that advertisers not only get users who are interested in, content related to that brand, but also reach them at time when they are most receptive to that kind of content as well.” 
  • "I think the advantage of contextual targeting on digital content, whether it's web, whether it's apps, there are a whole lot of other signals available, a lot more data science that's available to tease out the sentiment of that content, tease out user preferences than, let's say, planning campaigns on analog TV.”  
  • “The very basic form of contextual targeting that advertisers are already running is content, category-based targeting. So to give you an example, when we have these sports events coming up, things even like Super Bowl and March Madness, and we see a lot of demand for advertising on apps that are sports apps, apps that see a lot more usage during these sports events. And so that's like one very good example of how contextual targeting is being used even today. I think even if you look at some examples in how Europe, for example, has adapted to advertising, I think you'll see a lot of good examples even in Europe as well. Stepping out of in app context, I think the most advanced forms of contextual targeting actually exist on the website because the content that is much readily accessible by third party verification partners.”  
  • “You have a lot of these safety, contextual targeting solutions that are unable to parse the entire page of content are able to run sentiment analysis, are able to understand what kind of subjects are being mentioned, what kind of tones are being used. I heard of a very cool example that a page, for example, could talk about a Jaguar as a brand, and it could talk about a Jaguar as an animal and today these AI algorithms are smart enough to understand the context. All of this is now available to advertisers in out-of-the-box segments, but it's something that's been missing on the in-app side for a bit.”  
  • "So many trends to talk about here, right? We have IDFA going, there are rumors in the advertising circle that Google might end up deprecating their IDs following Apple. On the website, Safari and Firefox have already sort of disabled cookies, Chrome is planning to disable cookies, and all of this is going to sort of only accelerate the adoption to contextual targeting, I think.” 
  • "As algorithms get more advanced, as advertisers get more comfortable with contextual targeting, they get to experience what all they can do in today's world compared to what was possible five years or 10 years back. I think it's only going to be up from here.”  
  • “Everybody would like IDs. Yes, it’s more deterministic and great, but more than deterministic, I think advertisers are just looking for reach and relevant reach, and contextual targeting is just one of those ways for them to get that." 
  • "OM SDK will massively expand contextual targeting capabilities on apps.” 
  • "Users are going to be loving the choice, not sharing the data if they don't want to. And advertisers will still continue to find ways to reach relevant audiences in a time where they are. I think it's going to be very cool to see how contextual targeting gets a lot more traction on the in-app side from advertisers.”  

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About the Author/Interviewer        

Matthew Kaplan has over a decade of digital marketing experience, working to support the content goals of the world’s biggest B2B and B2C brands. He is a passionate app user and evangelist, working to support diverse marketing campaigns across devices.   

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