The role of contextual targeting in the new era of adtech

December 20, 2021 | 4 minute read
Charles Ping
Managing Director, EMEA, Winterberry Group
Text Size 100%:

The advertising ecosystem has undergone massive transformations during the past few years. In January 2020, less than two years after the EU’s GDPR went into effect, Google announced plans to gradually remove third-party cookies from Chrome. At the time, Firefox and Safari had already eliminated third-party cookies on their platforms. This year, Apple introduced expanded privacy policies, releasing a major iOS update that has greatly limited the amount of targeting and tracking data available to advertisers.

The data deprecation happening across major platforms–combined with growing consumer privacy legislation and the massive proliferation of media channels–marks a monumental turning point for advertisers. As an industry, we have entered a new era of adtech where brands must redefine their strategies and elevate their technology capabilities.  

While many brands continue to navigate the advertising landscape with much uncertainty, one thing we know for sure: Contextual targeting will play an integral role in the future of adtech.

The adtech industry: Where we are now and where we’re headed

To gain a deeper understanding of what’s happening across the adtech industry, our analysts surveyed hundreds of advertising and media experts and conducted in-depth interviews with top-level executives. Survey questions covered everything from existing ad targeting practices, contextual targeting tactics and first-party data usage to the effectiveness of their media spend. In addition to revealing current practices, the responses shed light on how the adtech industry will evolve in the years to come.

According to our findings, only 22% of the marketers we surveyed are currently using contextual segments to target audiences on paid media channels, but more than half said they plan on increasing their investment in contextual targeting during the next 24 months.

More than 70% of the marketers we surveyed said they believed audience targeting was a primary use case for contextual intelligence. Interestingly, 86% of media owners saw contextual ad solutions as a brand safety tactic, while only 38% of marketers connected contextual solutions with brand safety.

Primary use cases associated with contextual advertising solutions

Download the full study on The Outlook for Contextual Solutions in Data-Driven Advertising and Marketing. While the report offers a comprehensive look at the role of contextual targeting both past and present, two primary themes are abundantly clear:

1. The role of contextual advertising is gaining new ground.

2. In this new era of adtech, successful strategies will rely on combining approaches, leveraging a mix of first-party data, identity solutions, data collaborations, and most importantly, contextual targeting. 

How to thrive in this new adtech ecosystem

One of the primary takeaways from our study is that brands must adopt a holistic targeting strategy now if they want to connect with consumers and deepen customer relationships. Our research shows that the key to thriving in this new advertising ecosystem involves embracing change in a focused but urgent manner.

If they haven’t already, advertisers need to complement their current targeting strategy with contextual intelligence solutions. Brands that are ahead of the curve are already activating contextual targeting alongside their first-party and third-party data sources to overcome the challenges they face in this new era of adtech.

Data deprecation and privacy legislation is something we must contend with as an industry. Even though the challenges may feel overwhelming at times, holding on to the past is the quickest route to falling behind the competition. The future of adtech relies on implementing a combination of sophisticated tools and techniques, with a renewed focus on contextual solutions.

The challenges of tackling so much change cannot be underestimated, which is why this blog post is the first of three in a series focusing on the role of contextual targeting in the future adtech landscape.

The next article in this series will include a deep dive into contextual targeting. We’ll look at how it's been used in the past, how advertisers are leveraging it now, and what we can expect from contextual solutions as our industry marches forward.

Want to learn more about contextual targeting? Register now to attend the upcoming webinar: “How Contextual Targeting Will Upgrade Your Ad Targeting Toolkit in 2022.”

 

About Winterberry Group

Winterberry Group is a specialized management consultancy with deep experience in advertising, marketing, data, technology and commerce. Winterberry Group’s proven methodologies address the needs of firms in its core industries, enabling brands, publishers, marketing service providers and technology developers to understand emerging opportunities, create actionable strategies and grow their value and global impact. Winterberry Group is a specialized management consultancy with deep experience in advertising, marketing, data, technology and commerce. Winterberry Group’s proven methodologies address the needs of firms in its core industries, enabling brands, publishers, marketing service providers and technology developers to understand emerging opportunities, create actionable strategies and grow their value and global impact.

Charles Ping

Managing Director, EMEA, Winterberry Group

Charles Ping is Managing Director, EMEA at the Winterberry Group, a management consultancy focussed on the data, marketing, and advertising sectors. He is an experienced leader with a 30-year track record in data, marketing and strategy and regulation. Prior to joining Winterberry Group he was Chief Executive of the data business within the Engine Group.


Previous Post

Is the advertising industry growing or declining?

Karma Bennett | 6 min read

Next Post


The Pulse: Contextual targeting, industry growth, brand safety, and more

Oracle Advertising | 2 min read