A new study from GumGum sought to answer the question, and worked Dentsu Aegis and brands such as Sephora to find out.


Contextual targeting was more efficient than behavioral targeting in cost-per-click (CPC); cost-per-viewable impression (vCPM); and the cost associated with reaching the intended demographic of the brand (eCPM), according to the study; “CPM” refers to the cost of showing an ad a thousand times.


Specifically, the average CPC cost was $.80, while CPCs for behavioral targeting came in at $1.53 — a 48 percent delta, according to the study. The cost-per-viewable impression was also 41 percent less than behavioral targeted ads ($5.85 versus $3.44 on a vCPM basis). Meanwhile, contextual eCPMs on average cost $4.36 — about 36 percent lower than behavioral eCPMs ($6.85).