Why Contextual Targeting Has Emerged as the Privacy Option of Choice

With so much information available at the click of a button in the digital age, it makes sense that consumers are increasingly concerned about their data privacy. Apprehensive users make it a whole new ballgame for marketers who must navigate this new landscape full of more information and tools, but also more anxiety over personal safety.

recent study by KPMG shows that 86% of respondents are worried about their personal data being collected, while 40% say they don’t trust companies to use their data ethically. These concerns aren’t too far-fetched, as 53 million people had their personal data subject to compromise, leak, or exposure in the first half of 2022.

There’s also a bit of a paradox in play. Through data collection, marketing has become a personalized experience for people looking to purchase specific goods and services online. It’s so common that 71% of consumers expect personalized experiences, and maybe even more importantly, 76% of consumers get frustrated if this doesn’t happen. On the other hand, 92% of consumers believe that companies need to be proactive when it comes to protecting data. So, where does that leave us?

What Is Contextual Targeting?

Consumers expect businesses to ensure that their data is protected, but they also expect them to personalize marketing toward their specific needs. One answer to this paradoxical problem is contextual targeting. Contextual targeting allows for at-scale outreach, all while respecting consumers’ confidentiality and addressing data privacy concerns head-on.

Contextual targeting is more effective than traditional advertising methods because it doesn’t require any consumer data but can still deliver relevant advertisements to the consumer. Companies can appeal to users through text and video by placing ads on specific websites or formats. For example, a sports betting site might place an ad on a page where a sports fan would receive scoring updates.

The difference between contextual and behavioral targeting is that behavioral targeting requires user data, whereas contextual targeting relies on the relevancy and context of the page the ad is served on to get the job done. Already, contextual targeting has made a difference in how marketers and consumers interact with advertising.

The Benefits of Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting is the best consumer-first approach to advertising available today. Here are some of the most privacy-oriented features you can expect to see with contextual targeting:

1. Create applicable advertisements without being invasive.

With contextual targeting, ads only appear when appropriate, so they never seem creepy or bombarding. This is better for both the consumer and the brand, as the consumer will view that brand more favorably.

Consider a grocery store wanting to increase audience awareness of seasonal products without using third-party cookies. To do so, they run an ad campaign in which their posts showcase recipes that include specific ingredients sold at their store across cooking and recipe blogs. This campaign drives up engagement and gets more people into the store. This tactic is effective because such a specific ad campaign takes into consideration the experience and safety of the consumer.

2. Increase personalization with new technology.

By collecting and utilizing past data from consumers, behavioral targeting increases personalization. However, that can sometimes go a step too far. Contextual targeting, on the other hand, seeks relevancy instead of history. The idea of audience targeting is a mixture of the two. Using contextual targeting in tandem with behavioral targeting removes some of the risks of being seen as “creepy.”

Years ago, a baking company might have had to worry that their ads would be placed on a disadvantageous page because AI couldn’t distinguish between “flower” and “flour.” Fortunately, that is no longer the case. Improvements in AI and machine learning have turned contextual targeting into a nuanced force. Everything is considered: text, speech, tone, imagery, sentiment, metadata, location, and more. That’s how it can provide a personalized experience without using cookies. It’s also great for brand safety. Using AI, your ad will be placed in appropriate and relevant places.

3. Prepare for changes in the digital world.

Contextual targeting is built for the future. We know that third-party cookies are going away and that data collection will move toward first-party cookies. The world of tech and advertising is moving toward handing the power of privacy back to consumers, making contextual targeting an excellent marketing strategy. Switching to a contextual targeting advertising strategy allows companies to be fully transparent with their marketing campaigns, which, in the end, is what consumers want.

Third-party cookies are one of the leading causes of concern for consumers regarding data security, which is why so many companies are moving away from them. Because of that, they need cookieless advertising solutions. Contextual targeting fits in this space nicely because marketers can use the same creative formats but with different targeting attributes. When you use contextual targeting in a transparent and consumer-first manner, you can create ads that deliver an even more personal experience for the consumer.

If you’re ready to see how contextual targeting and cookieless advertising can play a role in your marketing strategy, contact us here.

The Rise of the Metaverse and Its Impact on Advertising

It’s the term currently breaking the internet: The metaverse. Throughout 2021, searches for the term skyrocketed. Now, this curiosity is being put into action. In the past few months alone, we’ve seen increased discourse surrounding the metaverse, along with more startups and established companies diving into the digital world.

So what is the metaverse? Who invented it? And why should your business get involved sooner rather than later?

What, Who, and Where Is the Metaverse?

The metaverse is a virtual universe, a set of digital spaces that sit alongside the physical world and mimic the structures, sights, and phenomena we find here. Companies like Facebook and Microsoft explicitly use the term to describe how they are building a digital world that will immerse users inside and create digital experiences that mirror their physical counterparts.

The abstract quality of the metaverse makes it a hot topic for discussion. Without a solid definition, it can mean many different things to different people. To an online retailer, it could be a virtual marketplace powered by a virtual economy. To a social platform, it could be a fully immersive public forum where ideas and images get shared by users who have fully formed identities in this world.

What Are the Metaverse’s Main Opportunities?

While the versatility and complexity of the metaverse may seem intimidating, we can view it as a natural next step in our evolution with the internet and digital technology. Back when social media emerged, people were astonished and a little terrified of it; now, we understand its place in our lives.

The metaverse has massive potential for advertisers, marketers, and brands looking to garner more traction in the digital age. From 60 million users in 2020 to 81 million in 2021, research predicts artificial reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) usage — the backbones of the metaverse — will reach 1.73 billion in just two years.

Any digital space represents a continued, controlled environment where businesses can test digital advertising strategies. Companies willing to put forward a metaverse marketing budget can use the metaverse as a testing ground and rapidly achieve more impactful messages, ultimately forming deeper relationships with users.

Imagine, for example, how many new audiences your business could reach if marketers had a whole other world to work in. This audience is younger, tech-native, and holds a lot of buying power in this developing realm. Many Gen Zers are already living in the metaverse; Vans’ interactive skatepark, for example, has become a virtual hangout for 48 million people since its conception.

These young people live through their avatars. They buy clothes and shoes for their online identities; they have virtual hobbies; they earn money and rewards in the virtual space and spend them on the products they enjoy. As such, advertising in the metaverse is becoming more impactful because it can be highly personalized and adapt directly to the data analytics baked into virtual channels.

How to Advertise in the Metaverse

The metaverse trend will impact some industries more intensely than others, and metaverse advertising opportunities will be a more natural fit for specific businesses over their peers. However, we’re seeing a bold trend likely to gain steam and stick around because of the sheer number of use cases already involved and the projected number of users expected in the next few years.

For a successful advertising strategy, now is the time for brands to consider diving into the metaverse and practicing metaverse-specific advertising. Below are four steps you can follow to determine whether advertising in the metaverse is the logical next step in your business’s omnichannel digital advertising strategy.

1.Understand whether metaverse advertising is suitable for your business’s needs.

Use your existing audience and overall business strategy to explore whether marketing in the metaverse makes sense for your brand. If your audience is already using the metaverse, ask yourself what they’re doing there and how they act. Think about the crossover between your objectives and how consumers are making connections. Then, consider how you could advertise in a way that engages with what your audience members are already doing in the metaverse. This will help guide opportunities and actions you can create within the metaverse to connect with your specific target audience.

2. Explore the numerous use cases available.

The remarkable opportunity of the metaverse is just how many possibilities present themselves when you start exploring the virtual world. Consider all the ways that your business could make use of virtual spaces and surfaces. Could you create virtual waiting rooms for appointments? Perhaps you could offer virtual employee training or host a virtual showroom for displaying products and ideas. With the metaverse, physical problems can become digital solutions.

3. Don’t be afraid to test and learn.

For some, the metaverse may be intimidating, leaving businesses wary of diving in immediately. Fortunately, testing is a great way to gain the evidence you need to start investing. Test ad formats and run a trial campaign to start with, and then you can iterate based on what is and isn’t working well.

Brands that can quickly identify opportunities to place their digital marketing in metaverse locations will be most successful as they can learn from their metaverse advertising and make changes more quickly in a time where there is less competition. Testing campaigns for reception and appeal also helps you refine your advertising solutions for better success in the metaverse down the road.

4. Start with social and gaming opportunities.

Social and gaming are easy ways to start advertising in the metaverse. For a business just barely dipping its toes into metaverse advertising, starting small with in-game advertisements and social plays are safe ways to see success. Consider starting with a few AR filters across games your audience is playing. If you’re already running in-game ads across other platforms, this is a natural transition into the metaverse and doesn’t require too much creative lift for new ad formats.

The Future of the Metaverse

With metaverse-related companies raising $10 billion in 2021 through private capital, imagine how this world could expand and deepen in the next 12 months. You don’t have to sell your home and move into the virtual realm, but consider testing out a little square of the metaverse and refreshing your physical business with digital attributes. In a wide-open world, the possibilities are endless. What could you do here?

If you are ready to begin advertising in the metaverse or are interested in learning more, contact us here, and we will help you find opportunities that fit your business needs and guide your success in the digital age.

3 Ways to Maximize the ROI of Your Digital Marketing Strategies

As the holidays are quickly approaching and economic uncertainty weighs heavy on the minds of many, marketers are under even more pressure than usual to retain a spot in the marketplace and ensure solid returns throughout the rest of the year. This tricky balancing act means that now is the time to reassess how to maximize ROI and establish wise digital marketing habits that will ultimately generate success, revenue, and stability.

Before diving headfirst into new digital marketing strategies, it’s important to understand that the way consumers are interacting with advertisements in the digital age is different from years past. Cable television has been swapped for streaming services, radio has lost popularity to digital audio, and as more people get outside, they are more likely to interact with OOH advertising. Marketers are facing not only economic uncertainty but a shifting landscape. As such, advertisers must begin making strategic decisions when it comes to budgeting, brand partnerships, and advertising strategies.

The Importance of Data in Your Digital Marketing Strategies

Fortunately, even in the face of economic uncertainty, advertisers can still take risks to get significant returns. You must make data-driven, strategic decisions to invest in new opportunities where your audience is spending time and will most likely interact with your brand. In the face of economic uncertainty, it is imperative to back all decisions with well-researched data if your goal is to maximize ROI.

As a marketer, you must ask questions of yourself, your business, and your audience to produce a successful advertising campaign. The data you collect in responses will drive your budget allocation and ultimately help you maximize ROI. Here are just some of the questions you should answer before building any new digital marketing strategies:

  • Where is our business currently standing in the market?
  • How do we offer value to consumers?
  • How much value do we offer compared to our competitors?
  • Where are we losing consumers?
  • What types of ads receive the most interaction from consumers?
  • What is the most important factor in ensuring our success through the end of the year?

Rather than cutting your advertising budget, you should be spending it more wisely. Learn how to speak to your customer’s needs. Adjusting your budget so that you spend on your best-performing tactics, data-driven strategies, and product offerings will bring the most success. In the face of economic uncertainty, data is key. It will allow you to make confident decisions and play into your strengths.

How to Maximize the ROI of your Digital Marketing Strategies

The world of digital media is fast-changing, and it’s easy to get caught up in the ebbs and flows. To stay grounded, it is best to have regular check-ups on your strategies. Consider the following three tips to help you understand the fluctuation of your ROI and give you more confidence for the future.

1.Look to a conversion rate rather than your ROI.

As a marketer, it would be ineffective to completely move away from using ROI as a baseline indicator for the success of specific marketing campaigns. However, conversion rates offer unbiased data-driven insight, plus several other analytic and attribution metrics. Conversion rates can tell you how much money you are spending on an advertising campaign versus how many consumers are converting on an investment.

The bottom line is clear when it comes to conversion rates. Additionally, looking at the data collected by conversion rates allows you to more easily identify which campaigns are succeeding. With ROI numbers, you may be fooled into thinking all efforts are hitting the bottom line. Switching to conversion rates helps your digital marketing strategies remain successful and provides clarity so that you know where to allocate your advertising budget.

2. Don’t get bogged down by brand sentiment.

Just like ROI might not tell the whole story when it comes to conversions, brand sentiment doesn’t directly tie into the ROI calculation, either. However, brand sentiment can have a considerable impact on the overall reputation of your business. Even if you have an excellent advertising strategy, consumers still may not resonate with your brand or not trust your messaging if your brand sentiment doesn’t align with their personal values. In such cases, your campaigns will not be as effective as possible. Unfortunately, simply calculating ROI won’t tell you why this is happening.

Instead, consider implementing a social monitoring tool to understand several key pieces of data: any chatter concerning your brand, the sentiment consumers have toward it, potential red flags, and how you stack up against your competition. An analytic tool like this can tell you a lot about the success of your brand and its place in the market. Additionally, any data derived will help you inadvertently maximize ROI.

3. Reevaluate frequently for optimal results.

The world of digital media and advertising moves quickly. Because of this, goals, KPIs, and ROI are essential to maintain a linear way of calculating the success of your campaigns over a longer period. However, because of the rapidly changing environment, you can’t get caught up if your ROI drops below what you were expecting. Similarly, it’s important not to get too attached to a high ROI, as this may not stick around forever, either.

More importantly, you should analyze why these trends are happening and where you can make improvements in your digital marketing strategies to help you hit your goals. To do so, set up a regular cadence to reevaluate your strategy. This scheduled time will help you analyze the data and better understand why your ROI may be changing.

Every marketer wants to wring maximum ROI out of their digital marketing strategies. But in the face of an uncertain economy, it’s more important than ever to spend wisely and reevaluate often for the success of your advertising campaigns.

If you’re ready to learn how to maximize ROI in digital marketing, contact us here, and we will help set up your personalized business strategy.

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