With the cookie deprecation on the horizon and consumers demanding both privacy and relevant ad messaging, contextual targeting is having somewhat of a revival.Contextual targeting has been a viable digital advertising tactic for years, allowing advertisers to target their ads according to the content of a webpage instead of user IDs or behavioral data.  It can help advertisers reach the right people at the right time.  And 7 in 10 consumers want and prefer personalized ads.  For example, if someone clicks on a YouTube video about waxing cars, they may receive a video or banner ad for car wax.

There are different types of context used for digital ad targeting:

  • Category contextual targeting: Places ads based on general categories, such as beauty or automotive or finance. This is the most basic form of contextual targeting, and its relative broadness means it isn’t always completely accurate.
  • Keyword contextual targeting: Places ads on web pages based on specific target keywords.  This type of contextual targeting provides you with more flexibility—and potentially more accuracy—when placing ads.
  • Semantic contextual targeting: A more advanced technique, as it typically uses machine learning to analyze the context of a given web page and determine whether an ad is a good fit.

What’s next for the revival of contextual marketing?  Currently, over 3/4th of marketers use contextual advertising as a work-around to the decline of device IDs and third-party cookies.  This trend will only increase in 2024.  Especially, considering the data showing contextual ads are 50% more likely to be clicked on than non-contextual ads.