Dream a Little Dream: Contextual Targeting on TV?

Priorities are always changing and the media landscape is ever-evolving. I am an ardent believer that it is extremely valuable to watch and learn from what other media vehicles are innovating. When it comes to innovating the way ads are served, there seems to be a gap between digital and traditional media.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are innovations taking place in traditional media side in regards to market research. A good example is radio’s transition from diary to PPM or out-of-home’s eyes-on research. While innovations in market research are great, what about in innovating the way some mediums are bought? Maybe I don’t necessarily want to target a specific demo, or a specific daypart, but instead want to target someone who is being exposed to content relevant to my business or product offering?

I’m going to get a little crazy here, but I am just going to come out and say it; What about contextual targeting on television? Why not?

Scanning the web for a company out there offering this service, you won’t find much. Perhaps the barrier holding us back is not being able to buy traditional mediums the same way you could purchase contextual targeting across a the web. I remain hopeful that this will change one day and contextual targeting can expand to other media.

Is it really that crazy that I as a buyer would love the capability to insert an ad based on the content on my television? I for one do not think so, but then again, Scarborough party of one here! Now, I’m not talking about placing ads in a relevant television program. I have done my fair share of research on media habits, indexes, programming demographics, and creative mapping.

Here is my thought, take it for what it is. Let’s say I have a client who does DNA testing. It’s 2pm on an average day and Trisha is on the tube blabbing about “baby daddy” this and “paternity test” that. Well, perhaps my DNA client has deemed those terms contextually relevant keywords to their product offering.


Commercial break comes along and up pops my DNA testing ad.

Why not?

Am I talking about speech or image recognition software that scrubs the boob tube for content, maybe? I don’t personally have the skill set to create it or the technological background to fathom how to make it happen. Did the world’s great thinkers limit their thoughts to only their present reality? No!

It is amazing how a simple thought can begin as a seed and grow into a flourishing garden. Obviously there are many things that would have to change about the industry and the way those mediums could be bought before this technology could be brought to life. But I daresay, I challenge you Network Television, Cable, Nielsen, Radio! Anyone!

I want innovation in traditional mediums and to be impressed by the vendors and capabilities within those forms of media. Some of the digital capabilities that I currently work with make me think that traditional media should evolve and catch up.

My challenge to traditional media: show me what you can do!

On the digital front, the innovations taking place are remarkable. Earned media advertising allows advertisers to get more leverage out of influential content that is on the web in regards to their brand, service or product offering. Their content is then promoted on the web as their ad messaging. Additionally, contextual targeting is not a new concept on the digital side, but it certainly does seem new to traditional mediums from this perspective.

We here at Just Media are pushing the envelope on the way we think. Our expertise in the B2B tech and digital sector force us to quickly adapt to new engaging alternatives to advertising, as the capabilities surrounding us evolve every day. I encourage you to embrace the unthinkable and dream with me; contextual advertising on tv? I say, why not!

I dare you to have a new thought today and to share it with someone around you.

Plant the seed, it will grow!

Stefanie Feilinger
Just Media, Inc. 


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