Contextual Ad Targeting Is On The Upswing – And That Could Help Radio.


As marketers evaluate their digital targeting options ahead of what some have called the “cookie apocalypse,” a new poll of advertisers anticipates a shift away from behavioral targeting in favor of contextual targeting. Advertiser Perceptions surveyed 300 ad execs from Sept. 1-15 and found 45% currently use behavioral targeting, 38% employ contextual targeting and 17% use another form of targeting. But the preferred targeting method is changing – 42% said they plan to use contextual targeting one year from now, while behavioral targeting will decline to 40%.


Behavioral targeting uses the potential customer’s online browsing and shopping behaviors to target ads. Contextual targeting displays ads based on the content being consumed.


The study was conducted following Google’s decision to phase out the use of third party cookies and new privacy measures from Apple that will limit behavioral targeting, geolocation targeting, and cross-device identity on Apple devices.


There was hardly any difference between the percentages of advertisers and ad agency executive responses to the survey, “so they appear to be in lockstep on the shifts,” MediaPost reports.


The use of contextual targeting and first-party publisher data could give radio a chance to win back lost ad dollars. “This is how local radio groups can win with their audio platforms combining broadcast, streaming and podcasting,” BIA Managing Director Rick Ducey recently told Inside Radio. “Audio is cool on Madison Avenue and radio groups can use this, and their ability to use first-party publisher data from streaming and podcast platforms, contextual targeting with their broadcast platforms to be much more competitive with the duopoly,” Ducey said, referring to Google and Facebook.


Mainardo de Nardis, the former CEO of ad agency OMD Worldwide, says data will enable contextual planning – the ability of marketers to place their ads in the right context for the brand. “After years of optimizing audience creation, optimizing content and context will be the priority over the next few years,” said de Nardis, who currently serves as a board member and advisor at Ad Results Media (ARM), an agency that specializes in audio. And John Montgomery, Executive VP of Global Brand Safety at ad agency GroupM, sees contextual targeting as a vehicle to not only target ads in a post-cookie world but also to ensure brand safety and brand suitability.“Brands and their agencies are pursuing the goal of placing their advertising near content that is both safe and contextually relevant, which not just protects brands but also increases effectiveness,” said Montgomery.

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