By Rachel Tuffney, EVP of US Operations at Dianomi
As if digital marketers have not had to deal with enough disruption in the past months, Apple’s recently released privacy feature – IOS 14.5 (ATT) is the latest curveball in a wave of policy changes from platforms or regulators making life difficult for marketers. While brands knew Apple’s privacy forward approach was coming, the world is just now seeing the real impact of this ATT update, which is giving consumers more access and power when it comes to what information is shared with advertisers.
In spite of all these changes, there are clear avenues that brands can take to ensure their messages and content are reaching consumers who are most likely to be receptive to them. The most important of which is contextual advertising and while it is not a new solution it is a proven way to drive scale.
Google recently announced the delay of the cookie disappearing until 2023 but third-party solutions are still diminishing. Leading brands are preparing for this change and are getting creative with how they build first-party data and rethink their targeting strategies. Contextual targeting has been around for years but has not always been used to its fully scalable capabilities. Fast forward to today, contextual is one of the key viable solutions left — contextual strategies, via native advertising, are an enlightened and smart way to overcome regulatory complexity whilst maintaining a highly effective audience-driven advertising campaign. Brands are already placing relevant ads in front of potentially interested consumers without cookies and third-party data.
Contextual is a dark horse strategy for distributing high-quality content that many brands invested in during a no-event pandemic period — like podcasts or white papers or e-books — to connect with audiences predisposed to niche subject matter, whether it’s about clean energy or crypto or luxury travel.
Contextual distribution does not have to rely solely on keyword targeting, it can be broader and much more scalable than that; focusing on serving ads into related content across a private marketplace of publishers.
Now with the economy showing signs of roaring back, the race is on among marketers to reach new customers, grow business and send sales into overdrive. And it’s the advertisers who have experimented with new approaches who have experienced substantial growth, whereas brands who have been subject to pandemic paralysis or who have refused to acknowledge consumers’ new boundaries and demands are getting left behind.
Developing technology to help brands improve their consumer connections
The effective use of data is the core ingredient to any digital marketing strategy. When contextual targeting first made its debut, it came with multiple limitations. An example of this is the contextual hierarchies provided by IAB; they were proven to be too broad for niche targeting. Since then, the solution has pivoted and more brands are giving contextual a second chance. The advertising industry continues to expand year after year, the future of targeted advertising will pivot to utilizing machine learning models to predict audience addressability. Advanced and successful algorithms have the power to predict audience designations for a given programmatic ad opportunity.
There are many advantages contextual offers besides the ability to protect user data that advertisers may not have known about. Contextual, enables advertisers to deliver messages to consumers when they are in a receptive frame of mind. While users are browsing content about a specific topic, it signals their intent during that moment — Leading to be a more reliable indicator of purchase behavior than targeting based on previous browsing habits. Contextual targeting does not use private consumer data so it is the suitable choice among emerging solutions and is expected to continue to grow rapidly through 2025.