Oct'23·Andrés Auchterlonie·2 MIN
How contextual targeting offers an AI-powered inclusive targeting strategy
There are various reasons why the audience is tired of ads today. What tops the list is the age-old practice of violating user privacy and accessing their personal data to target users as they browse the web. Data privacy has been a hot topic for a while as consumers and advocates created a lot of noise around privacy, making for governance laws like GDPR and CCPA that advertisers must comply with.
Going beyond privacy, traditional targeting strategies carry another tag - stereotypes. Fundamentally, cookie-based advertising involves collecting user data like interests, browsing, and behavioral patterns. Users are grouped into categories mostly basing the entire categorization process on assumptions, stereotypes, and third-party cookies. The results are rather apparent today - Users are left irritable as irrelevant and intrusive ads disrupt their browsing experience.
Advertisers pay a hefty price as poor audience categorization results in incorrect targeting, wasted ad dollars, has a negative impact on user experience, and damages the brand image. The world is also actively championing diversity and inclusivity initiatives, and advertising needs to level up to meet audience preferences.
Old is new: Contextual targeting
The phasing out of third-party cookies has paved the way for various “new” advertising strategies that will help navigate the cookieless world. However, a solution that dates back to the very roots of advertising has garnered the trust and interest of both advertisers and the audience - Contextual advertising.
Built on the principle that targeting remains strictly contextual, this advertising strategy truly focuses on protecting consumer privacy and helps advertisers adopt a more inclusive targeting practice. With contextual targeting, advertisers can steer clear of third-party cookies’ discriminatory practices and not limit targeting based on outdated methodologies. Instead of drawing conclusions by relying on factors like age, race, gender, location, or other such characteristics, advertisers can adopt a privacy-first strategy that enables them to display relevant ads to the most suitable audience by aligning with their real-time interests.
Women like the color pink, prefer skinny jeans, invest extensively in makeup products; the assumptions are plenty. Instead of making conjectures, it is unquestionably better if brands could show ads relevant to people based on the content they are actually consuming. Relevancy helps maximize impact.
Powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities, contextual targeting presents an innovative alternative to stereotypical and non-privacy-compliant strategies. The ability to understand nuances and semantically interpret content makes contextual targeting all the more impressive as it allows advertisers to expand their horizons while elevating brand safety and suitability. Not only does contextual targeting eliminate the appearance of ads alongside negative or harmful content, but it also ensures ad placement aligns with the overall brand message and tonality.
Are you equipped to rise beyond stereotypes and dated advertising practices?
Contextual advertising empowers brands to make the most of AI-driven contextual targeting and elevate to inclusive advertising practices. With contextual targeting, half the battle is already won. You already know that the user is somewhat related to your product or service because ad placements are purely based on their current area of interest.
AI does a deep dive and analyzes the written and visual content of a web page, to understand the content and context. This analysis helps advertisers develop an understanding of what customers are browsing, their areas of interest, and how they engage and interact with content. Beyond just analyzing specific URLs that are limited to certain predefined categories, Network Level Analysis (NLA), looks at the entire universe of URLs. NLA develops an understanding of the network as a whole to understand content clusters and topics that audiences are engaging with at that moment. By appearing where a user is showing interest with an offering that aligns within that realm of interest, brands are more likely to not just convert better but win customers for life.
Like the Backstreet Boys sing, “But I want it that way…”; well, you can. Advertisers can cherry-pick who they want to target and users see only those ads that align with what they’re currently looking for. Truly inclusive and unbiased, contextual targeting is interest-based and does not profile a user based on who they are.
It’s a win-win for all parties involved, and an ideal alternative to cookie-based targeting practices.