Jun'22·Andrés Auchterlonie·4 MIN

5 ways Contextual AI is redefining audience targeting

Home 5 ways Contextual AI is redefining audience targeting

With the eventual phasing out of third-party cookies and the implementation of various regulatory compliances like CCPA and GDPR, audience targeting is getting tougher than ever in today’s privacy-first world. As the competition skyrockets in the advertising world, leading advertisers are leveraging what is believed to be the future of audience targeting – Contextual Intelligence.

From an estimated global market valuation of US$157.4 billion in the year 2020, today the contextual advertising market is growing at a CAGR of 13.3% and is projected to reach a whopping US$335.1 billion by 2026. 

So, what is contextual intelligence? It has been a topic of interest for a long time in the advertising space and is closely associated with contextual advertising today, as this form of advertising has been developed on the same principles. Contextual intelligence involves a deep and thorough analysis of a webpage to determine if it will make a good fit based on various factors like its content, context, relevance, brand safety, and brand suitability. This analysis helps brands enhance their understanding of consumer interests, enables automation, and provides proof points that fuel confident, data-driven decision making.

Contextual advertising, as the name suggests, gives advertisers the power to leverage one of the biggest impact factors – context. With its Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, contextual advertising delivers ads on relevant websites that target suitable audiences, without the use of cookies.

With context, advertisers and brands can better understand what customers are browsing, their areas of interest, and how they engage and interact with content. By analyzing both the written and visual content of a page, contextual AI offers advertisers the perfect environment where the values and ideas fit seamlessly with their own, thus ensuring the highest levels of brand safety.

Contextual intelligence does not analyze just the text but takes into account all visual elements as well to establish relevance between the text, visuals, and the webpage as a whole. With a complete understanding of customer interests, it is also highly capable of providing contextual creatives that resonate with consumers.

A superior understanding of user behavior coupled with purchase intent and consumer interests helps in serving ads to the right audience by rendering them in optimal places, besides relevant content. Contextual creatives have higher engagement rates and have proven to deliver better impressions, empowering brands to build a memorable and consistent brand identity.

Here’s what a study conducted on contextual targeting revealed:

  • 63% higher purchase intent 
  • 83% higher recommendation of the product advertised 
  • 40% higher brand favorability 
  • 73% of consumers said contextual ads rendered alongside video content complemented their overall video experience

Better brand perception, improved sentiment analysis, a stronger connection between the ad and content, and a higher brand valuation on the whole – contextual targeting is paving the way for the future of advertising strategies that put customers and their data privacy first.

What are the top 5 factors that make contextual intelligence the best bet for audience targeting in the era of data privacy?

  • Greater ROI: Contextual intelligence-based targeting goes far beyond just keyword research and analyses the content and context of a page to draw customer insights that are leveraged for customer targeting. This has proven to be a more effective targeting strategy as the ads are non-intrusive, more relevant, and resonate better with the audiences, thereby increasing ROI on ad spending.  Businesses are constantly on the lookout for cost-effective solutions that fit the modern advertising landscape. Contextual AI makes a great fit as it is an effective, affordable, and scalable solution unlike alternatives such as behavioral advertising. Behavioral ad strategies are heavily reliant on data and need large volumes of data to deliver successful campaigns. Collation, analysis, and reporting of data, and then leveraging it is far more expensive and time-consuming.
  • Superior accuracy and personalization capabilities:  Since the ad strategies are created based on data-driven insights, advertisers have access to all the information they need to narrow down their lists and target the right people who are looking for that particular product or service. Leveraging new-age tech like AI/ML, contextual intelligence ensures highly accurate targeting by performing a human-like analysis of the content. Contextual AI’s ability to build personalized segments at scale helps advertisers reach their desired target audience by building contextual segments beyond the standard IAB taxonomy.  With this, advertisers can deliver ads at a highly granular level, eliminating impression wastage. Brands can create ads that speak more directly and personally with their online consumers. Since the ads are contextual and relevant, consumers are more likely to pay attention and engage better.
  • Ensuring brand safety: The human-like analysis of content and context executed using AI/ML capabilities helps identify and avoid any harmful content. Contextual intelligence integrates the GARM framework, implementing universal brand safety standards. This helps avoid sensitive content that could potentially harm brands like sexual content, hate speech, spam, and terrorism.
  • Assuring brand suitability: Brand suitability is built atop the brand safety standards. While safety is universal, brand suitability needs are unique to each brand. Contextual intelligence helps focus on brand suitability along with the GARM framework. This intelligent targeting technique picks only those categories that are relevant to and resonate with the brand’s products, services, and unique positioning. The combination of safety and suitability helps brands strike the perfect balance between reach and security, by focusing on brand niches and nuances. This thoughtful mix helps reach the right audiences without missing out on potential high-value customers that could have otherwise been lost if the focus remained only on brand safety measures like block lists or exclusion lists.
  • Privacy-focused: An ideal fit for the cookieless future, contextual intelligence does not leverage any third-party data. The audience targeting is solely based on the analysis of webpage content and context to determine all factors from user intent and relevance to brand safety and suitability.

As businesses traverse through the post-cookie era, they need to find ways to adapt to the privacy-first world. Contextual AI is here to stay as it fits the bill. It does not depend on any third-party cookies and enables brands to reach specific customer segments while being respectful of their privacy, and mindful of brand safety, and suitability.




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