How contextual advertising can drive trust and profits for publishers

Jean-Paul Wevers, UK head of supply, Seedtag

Worries over the “cookieless future” have become common in the marketplace. With innovative advertising solutions just around the corner, however, publishers have an opportunity to bolster their profits while simultaneously addressing consumers’ data privacy concerns. 

Consumer trust is essential in a privacy-first world, and advertising plays a vital role in creating that trust. While the withdrawal of cookies will go a long way toward helping consumers feel secure online, publishers can actively take trust further through alternative solutions. First-party data, which consumers willingly share with publishers, will play a pivotal role for marketing teams keen to improve user experiences and more accurately target customers.

However, publishers who do not have access to tools to extract first-party data or don’t have enough data to scale face their own challenges. To solve those factors, they’re utilizing contextual targeting on their platforms, serving ads to relevant audiences without needing any personal information at all. Furthermore, those who don’t have enough first-party data can leverage contextual targeting to create an even more targeted, holistic strategy to serve ads to site visitors.

Context and sentiment drive relevant, brand-safe ads

Contextual advertising is an automated process that relies on artificial intelligence to ensure that any brand advertised to an audience is relevant to their interests and befitting the content with which they are interacting. This type of advertising takes a wide range of metrics surrounding keywords, content, image recognition, and the page’s environment into consideration while placing ads.

Contextual AI is also capable of nuanced audience analysis. By processing natural language while a subject matter develops, publishers can commercialize context more effectively than when only using keywords. Using keywords as a blunt tool may let targeting opportunities go unnoticed. 

For example, consider how the language around COVID has transformed over the last 18 months or so. Between March and May 2020, over 95% of articles mentioning COVID were seen as unfavorable, according to analysis by Seedtag’s contextual AI technology. Editorials transformed over time, bringing more positive discussions and viewpoints. Therefore, applying only a keyword block on the word “COVID” would have resulted in publishers missing out on monetizing up to 30% of potential inventory on the subject. 

Contextual targeting is executed beyond the keyword in another way as well, with the content being taken into consideration as a whole, including semantic interpretation, sentiment and tone, providing a robust approach to advertising execution that brands can rely on for suitable placement of their messaging.

An effective and safe way for brands to connect with their customers, contextual targeting helps to improve the overall user experience and ad recall. In turn, it can also be hugely profitable for publishers, with research showing that they can expect approximately 2.5x incremental revenue from ads that are relatable to consumers and a natural fit for the context. Additional metrics, including time spent on a page, impressions, returning users, brand awareness and purchase intent, will also be bolstered off the back of contextual ads.

Contextual advertising is opening doors to new audience revenue and trust 

By Google’s recent measurement, 81% of people who assert companies track their online activities believe that data collection does more harm than good. Respondents claim it leaves them vulnerable to potential risks. Publishers in the digital advertising industry can play a vital role in mitigating these concerns by delivering consistently better on-page experiences with relevant ads that are also privacy compliant.

If the valid privacy concerns aren’t addressed quickly through alternative strategies, these issues can harm users’ perceptions of both the publisher and the brand being advertised, which can decrease the likelihood of returning to a publisher, as well as revenue. 

Contextual advertising also helps alleviate these concerns by analyzing content sentiment to place ads. Unlike search marketing, contextual advertising excludes negative keywords from targeting lists. Publishers can keep track of their best-performing keywords that have been driving increased responses in order to serve ads on positive content only.   

In not disrupting users’ attention with irrelevant ads and suggesting more accurate and sentiment-appropriate messages through contextual advertising, publishers can benefit from the positive user experience and word-of-mouth recommendations. An audience that receives a meaningful user experience is expected to return and is more likely to introduce new readers by spreading positive sentiment about the publisher. 

Contextual advertising is finding its place in the cookieless future 

Growing consumer criticism of third-party data has led to the comeback of contextual advertising and has created a significant opportunity for it moving forward. By implementing AI and machine learning, publishers can leverage more accuracy, increased efficiency, and higher quality in their targeting. Publishers can now provide a positive user experience by placing relevant ads without the private cookies of their audiences. This addresses user privacy concerns and helps the publisher build trust.  

By leveraging the powers of AI and machine learning to analyze the context and content of the environment, contextual ads resonate more with consumers as they are integrated with the content with which they willingly interact. What’s more, publishers can ensure that ads are placed with positive content, providing more robust brand safety and better reach to audiences with a positive mindset.

Sponsored By: Seedtag

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