The Programmatic Advertising Dictionary: Types of Targeting

Since Programmatic Media Buying has entered the digital world, advertisements have been well thought and targeted to attract your attention. Usually, a well-defined targeting is an essential element of a programmatic advertising strategy to stay precise and relevant. When it comes to targeting niche markets, it is important that the audience is reached with precision. To assist this, programmatic advertising has evolved over time to help advertisers get closer to the consumer needs to the maximum, today allowing us to target geographically, contextually and across devices.


The ability to pinpoint an audience based on their location and get as granular as their country, city, town and even street, geo-target defines a location applicable to each campaign. Its benefit comes from tackling time and place. For example, a retail company advertising its new winter collection will display relevant adverts depending on the geographical location of its audience. Let us say it will target towards users in the UK more than those in Dubai. Whilst summer collection aimed at Dubai users more than those in the UK.

Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting comes from adverts dynamically displaying on a web page relevant to the page’s content. The adverts are automated based on the profile of the user and content displayed in which the user is in the moment. Let us say, you are on YouTube listening to certain genre. Contextual targeting will allow the advertiser to display relevant adverts of stereo speakers to accompany the music, at the right time and the right place.

Cross-Device Targeting

Digital advertising industry has launched a way of linking same target audience across different devices. Cross-device targeting is the ability to serve multiple adverts on multiple devices based on the target audience. It accounts towards understanding consumer engagement and actions on different digital platforms unlocking behavioural insights. For example, if the user is viewing football news on laptop and later, views football fixtures on its mobile, the advertiser can display sport-related ads such as ticket sellers for the next game.


In programmatic media buying, you are likely to come across the word retargeting when you hear about different types of targeting. Quite simply, retargeting can be explained as re-engaging with the audience your products are aimed at. It assists you to acquire the desired action and reconnect with them across digital channels.

To get a clear picture of how your campaigns are responding and to ensure the results remain positive, adopting relevant and granular ways of targeting is beneficial. It allows you to identify and segment your audience before you dive in the market, saving resources and keeping you ahead of your audience needs.