Contextual Advertising: Cookie-Less Marketing That Delivers Sweet Results

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June 4, 2021

For marketers who think they can continue to milk data-driven advertising until third-party cookies phase out in 2023, the supply may run dry faster than they think. On top of the expanding restrictions around data privacy and protection, regulators are also paying close attention to what data is collected and how it’s shared, even after user consent is given. In a recent article by AdExchanger, it stated that notice-and-consent frameworks are little more than a “tick-box” for advertisers. They have no effect on the market and are not enough to combat the rampant problem of overcollection and over-sharing of user data. According to Rebecca Slaughter, one of five FTC commissioners, “consent and transparency might be replaced by a ‘data minimization approach’.

So, despite the industry’s efforts to be compliant and implement better practices, other alternatives to audience targeting will be needed sooner rather than later.

One approach that many marketers are turning to is contextual advertising. Not only is it cookie-less but it’s proven to have a greater impact on ad effectiveness. In fact, ads perform 63% better when targeting based on display path rather than audience or channel. Here's how contextual advertising delivers sweet results.

What is Contextual Advertising?
Contextual advertising, also known as contextual targeting, is a form of programmatic display advertising. By targeting contextually, you define select keywords and topics of content (i.e. web pages) that you would like your ad to appear next to.

[If you’re unfamiliar with programmatic advertising, it’s a form of ad buying, where a demand-side platform (DSP), i.e. algorithm-led software, is used to buy digital advertising in place of traditional ad buying which involves proposals, cost negotiation, sales orders, etc.]

Contextual targeting, often mistaken for behavioral advertising, doesn’t rely on knowing the data of your audience. Instead, contextual advertising depends on the relevancy of a web page’s content for the ad to display on the page to the visitor. In other words, it’s all about the environment fit, not what the web visitor has been searching or viewing in the past.

Here’s an example: Megan, a licensed veterinarian, is browsing the web and finds an article on the latest developments in equine medicine. Within the article, she sees an ad for a veterinary supply manufacturer's new horse health supplement. Based on the content of the web page Megan was viewing, she was contextually targeted with a relevant ad.

The careful targeting methodology behind contextual advertising could be the reason why 61% of ad publishers use contextual ads and also why 24% of advertisers plan to increase their budget for contextual ads. With such a positive outlook, what makes it a targeting method your business should bite into?

Benefits of Contextual Targeting

  • Relevancy drives ROI. The click-through rate (CTR) of a contextual ad is 10x higher than that of a regular display ad. Think about the example above. Megan would be much more likely to click on the ad for horse supplements if she sees it amidst related content. Reason being, the ad isn’t taking away from her browsing experience – it’s enhancing it! Not to mention, the ad doesn’t end up looking spammy because it’s a fitting piece of the web page’s puzzle. Contextual advertising lives up to the right message, right time, right place philosophy.
  • Cookies don’t hold you back. As third-party cookies phase out, marketers are looking for other advertising methods to target audiences with relevant, meaningful messaging. Since contextual advertising relies upon your selection of topics and keywords, as well as defining what topics or keywords you don’t want your ad targeted to, in order to deliver the ad to relevant web pages and ultimately, its visitors, you have zero risks associated with cookie tracking. Using contextual targeting eliminates concerns about data privacy due to using website content as its informer for placement, not the past behavior of the visitor.
  • Ad dollars are spent efficiently. Contextual targeting requires fewer resources than other behavioral advertising since user data collection isn’t part of its process. This means your digital marketing dollars are used more efficiently given a lower cost service. Paired with the relevancy factor, impressions for your contextual ad are more valuable given they’re already qualified by the content around them, thus making your ad dollars work more efficiently for you.

Make Contextual Advertising Part of Your Marketing Strategy.
Now that you know what contextual advertising can do and its role in your digital marketing strategy, all it takes is setting a budget, preparing your ad content, and identifying target keywords to start experiencing the benefits.

Take a bite. Work with Multiview to find out how you can add contextual advertising to your marketing plan and utilize our first-party data sources. Through our extensive network of 1,200 reputable association publications that span 30 industries, Multiview offers advertising access to 10 million B2B professionals. Connect with a consultant for more information on exclusive advertising opportunities.


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3 Solutions to Quick Start Your Contextual Advertising Campaign

When you place your ads alongside good-quality industry content, you receive the benefits of safe, compliant delivery, impactful advertising that is relevant and timely, and higher engagement and conversions that results in greater return on investment. Learn more about contextual advertising solutions and how to add these to your marketing plan.

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