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Feb'24·Andrés Auchterlonie·2 MIN

How brands are reimagining advertising with AI-powered contextual targeting

Home How brands are reimagining advertising with AI-powered contextual targeting

As the phase-out of third-party cookies begins, marketers worldwide are pondering over ideal alternatives and weighing in on what could be the ideal replacement solutions. The DoubleVerify report, Post-Cookie Questions: The Evolution of Advertising Strategies and Sentiments revealed that publishers and advertisers are divided on which solutions they believe hold the greatest promise in replacing cookie-dependent solutions. 47.3% of publishers said publisher first-party data activation was their top choice while 49% of advertisers picked advertiser first-party data activation. Social media targeting, Google Topics, Attention-based metrics, and contextual advertising were among the other solutions. 

Interestingly, the report also found that  96% of publishers surveyed said that contextual advertising capabilities will be important for their businesses in 2023. 94% of advertisers stated they were planning to rely on contextual advertising for some or most of their buys in 2023. However, contextual targeting has significantly evolved over the past few years, transforming from a mere cookie-replacement alternative to a must-have strategy for future-proof, privacy-first advertising. 

The magic of AI-powered contextual targeting 

Today, contextual targeting is backed by AI, ML, and NLP capabilities that enable the possibility to go beyond just keywords, understand nuances in language, and semantically interpret content. Contextual targeting’s ability to understand the meaning and sentiment of full pages of content with their complete context is opening doors to several new targeting possibilities. 

For example, let’s take an article titled Makeup for Everyone: Organic products for all skin tones and types. Earlier, contextual targeting’s capability was limited to identifying that it is an article on makeup products in a lifestyle publication. The new and enhanced contextual targeting understands and interprets that it is an article on organic beauty products for people of different skin types and colors. 

Contextual targeting’s ability to derive that level of granular detail about an article ergo means a heightened understanding of the readership, their mindset, and interests; fundamentally changing the way audiences are segmented and targeted. Advertisers can leverage pre-defined contextual  audiences, modify them, or even build their own personalized audience segments based on who they want to reach with a particular message. 

Displaying a vegan beauty product ad to women who are interested in premium beauty products that are cruelty-free, vegan, and suitable for acne-prone skin; that’s the level of granularity, accuracy, and relevance contextual targeting brings to the table. It presents an opportunity for advertisers to look beyond conventional, stereotypical audience segmentation and targeting practices that are not very detailed or precise.

Contextual targeting: More than just a cookie deprecation alternative 

Contextual targeting fueled by AI is not just an option or alternative but a door to a whole new world of possibilities in digital advertising. Advertisers and publishers can finally look beyond standard taxonomies, demographics, traditional cohorts, or off-the-shelf audience segments. It’s a chance to finally break free from the ordinary and meet users within their realm of current interests, at the right time. Contextual targeting empowers advertisers to unearth new opportunities and capitalize on those that were overlooked or never even considered before. While zero and first-party data gain more importance, contextual targeting can help brands maximize the impact they can create using this data repository.

Contextual targeting’s ability to understand the meaning of content within a set context significantly boosts brand safety and brand suitability as it avoids any negative or harmful content and provides brands an environment where the values and ideas fit seamlessly with their own. In the ever-evolving digital landscape, contextual targeting presents an opportunity for advertisers to level up their strategy and win big. The difference lies in the approach; marketers who look at contextual targeting as just an option to overcome the privacy limitations won’t reap much when compared to those who go all in to make the most out of it. 

Ready to shift gears and embrace new-age contextual targeting?

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