Blog Post

Why Contextual Targeting Has Emerged as the Privacy Option of Choice

09/20/2022 - Sierra Ducey

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.

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