Blog Post

Preparing for the Cookieless Future – Future-Proof Tactic 3: The Resurgence of Contextual Targeting

06/21/2022 - Sierra Ducey

Reaching consumers once third-party cookies officially phase out could be challenging for advertisers. Though Google has repeatedly delayed this looming reality, cookies that have long been used to track consumers’ online behavior will no longer be useful to ad tech.

This has forced marketers everywhere to find viable third-party cookie alternatives — and some have found that in contextual targeting.

Interested in learning more about preparing for the depreciation of third-party cookies? Download our guide “How to Prepare for the Cookieless Future” here.

What Is Contextual Targeting?

Contextual targeting is just as it sounds. Rather than targeting consumers based on behavioral data, contextual targeting uses the content on a webpage to provide context for ad placement. It’s more about the environment, theme, tone, and voice of a page or website, not what any given consumer has been doing online prior to arrival. The advertised product or service is directly related to the content on that page.

If, for example, your company is selling paint products, placing an ad on a home improvement blog about that particular topic would make sound contextual targeting sense. The same could be said for athletic apparel brands running ads on any number of fitness websites, workout blogs, yoga videos, and so on.

By using the likely intent of a page visitor to inform ads and ad placement, advertisers increase the chances of influencing consumer behavior. Ads are just as relevant (if not more) as they are topical. In fact, a Wishpond study found that contextual retargeting ads garner 10 times the click-through rate as traditional display ads.

How Does Contextual Targeting Work?

Simply put, AI and advertising come together to analyze the context of content beyond just the keywords on a page to find the ideal placement for an ad. Contextual targeting tools scan text, images, videos, and audio to derive true meaning — and filter out potential inappropriate sites to maintain brand safety and integrity.

Then, we’re able to layer in our own first-party data to build “media lookalikes.” Think of them as your customer personas, helping to ensure that you’re reaching the target audience. And much like other marketing campaigns, we test and optimize different messaging to improve its relevance to the ideal customer and content on the page.

How Do You Implement Contextual Targeting?

The success of a contextual advertising campaign hangs on your choice in ad tech. You need to leverage contextual targeting tools that can understand the sentiment, text, imagery, video, and audio found on a website. Otherwise, you risk placing ads on pages frequented by consumers with no intention of ever purchasing your products or using your services.

At Digilant, our contextual targeting solutions employ artificial intelligence and machine learning to capture the meaning of page content in relation to all aspects of the consumer journey. Contextual segments based on an audience’s content consumption habits allow for more precise targeting — without the use of third-party cookies.

Social monitoring technology also lends a hand, capturing discussions across 50,000 digital channels to gauge sentiment, inform messaging, and add further context for where to best place ads. You can then tap into our curated marketplace, which provides access to premium websites for ad placement at competitive pricing due to our direct publisher relationships.

Though keywords don’t drive the final decision for ad placement, we do also utilize Google’s API keyword data to add another layer of precision. We always want to make sure the ad runs alongside keyword-relevant content, as these keywords direct people to specific pages on a website.

The appeal of contextual targeting lies in its relevance. You’re still able to deliver relevant ads to target consumers, just based on the content on a page as opposed to the past behavior of the consumer. The net you cast may be a bit smaller than before, but the quality of what you catch can make the cookieless future less of a problem and more of an opportunity.

Get in touch with Digilant today to learn more about our contextual targeting solutions and how they could benefit your business.

To learn more, download our whitepaper “How to Prepare for the Cookieless Future” today, and don’t miss our blog post covering the cookie-proof advantages of using channels like CTV/OTT and digital audio. Learn more here. 

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