This month’s debunked blog explores our 2023 adtech predictions.

There’s no denying it, marketers have one destination to head towards in 2023 – a privacy-first future. From the rise of governmental regulations such as the GDPR, combined with Google’s third-party cookie demise (which will likely happen in the year 3000 at this rate), the industry is being pressured to change and adopt new approaches to advertising and marketing.

Yet, despite the destination being clear, the journey to get to a privacy-first future, is a little less so. Brands are being flooded with endless headlines around new approaches to consumer engagement, but there is one solution that is creeping through the wood works; a solution that has long been cemented in our worlds, but perhaps forgotten about in favour of the humble cookie. Here we have, rising from the ashes, contextual targeting.

However, some of you don’t have the best opinion of contextual targeting:

  • “Contextual is just a bunch of keywords”
  • “Third-party cookies aren’t going away, so I’ll stick to that”
  • “There’s too much hype around contextual, I don’t get what the fuss is all about”

We ran a poll on LinkedIn recently which revealed many opinions towards this long-used method for advertising, and we could sense some hesitation towards contextual. So, I am here today to tell you that you are all wrong! (In the nicest, possible way).

Here are my SEVEN reasons why you should be paying attention to contextual targeting in 2023.

01: Trust & Privacy:

Audiences are becoming more and more fractured, and our attention is increasingly becoming precious. Consumers are getting tired of their data being used to serve ads that follow them around the internet, and more often than not, are irrelevant or annoying. Rather than taking an identity-based approach, contextual is all about relevancy, based on contexts and environments, not on an individual user. It is fully about trust and protecting consumers, whilst giving advertisers the scale they need.

Stepping into 2023, it’s clear that brands should be exploring contextual solutions to reach that privacy-first destination.

02: Personalisation & Creativity:

Many associate contextual targeting with what was available a decade ago: a top-level targeting solution that placed people’s interests into buckets based on a bunch of keywords. I am proud to tell you, those days are over. Contextual targeting is now being driven by AI that has been trained by using machine learning techniques, computer vision and natural language processing to ensure the context of a page isn’t purely based on a bunch of words; instead, it understands the nuance, sentiment and true meaning of the content. Meaning advertisers can deliver amazing personalised ad creatives to capture engagement in the right time and place.

I predict that contextual solutions such as 4D will see a surge in popularity in 2023 as brands look to deliver more personalised ads in safe environments.

03: Relevancy & Accuracy:

Premium contextual solutions such as 4D, are capable of identifying patterns in content completely independently, whilst driving insights that enable an advertiser to continuously optimise to drive relevance and accuracy. The technology is not only capable of thoroughly analysing articles, but entire networks of content across different countries, languages and across standard categories. It also allows advertisers to use advanced machine learning models to do custom targeting specific to that brief, which is more accurate than traditional targeting.

Amidst this economic crisis we find ourselves in, it is more important than ever for brands to be relevant to their audiences. Trends for 2023 are already showing that contextual solutions will thrive as consumers seek more relevant experiences.

04: Ad Memorization:

Contextual ad placements can not only support brands in their ads being visible whilst driving engagement, but they can also increase ad memorisation. In fact, an IAS Study ran last year, revealed that ad context increased memorability by up to 40%.

Brilliantly named the ‘Context Effect’, the report had some amazing findings: Endemically matched ads, or those aligned with the surrounding content based on a specific vertical, drove a 23% lift in activation within the part of the brain responsible for memory of practical details, which includes key messages, calls to action, and branding elements. These ads also boosted global memory by 27%, or the memorability of broad themes, overarching narratives, or audio and visual elements.

This report shows us that during the coming 12 months, contextual will play a vital role for brands connecting with consumers.

05: Consistency, Performance & Measurement:

It’s common practice that marketers run campaigns, and only consider afterwards how they are tracking and performing. Establishing a consistent measurement system for campaigns is critical to actually gauging success, and this is centred around the ability to optimise in real-time and make tweaks where needed.

It is important to plan out the metrics and look at relevant content and context to place ads for specific purposes and goals. When well-executed, contextual ads can help brands add value across the funnel.

It is also becoming increasingly important for brands to position their advertising in a manner that is consistent with the content of the page(s). By using all the incredible AI and technology innovations explained above, brands can deliver consistent and meaningful user experiences to audiences with confidence.

I predict that measurement will be a key trend heading into 2023, as brands seek to drive efficiencies across their organisation during a time where budgets are being cut.

06: The Publisher Story:

Contextual targeting is a great way for publishers to obtain or retain advertisers, who are constantly looking for ways to reach their target audience at the right times. In fact, brands and publishers can work together to understand their audience and provide ads in the right context, therefore driving relevancy, engagement and an improved value exchange. Thus, creating value on both sides, as publishers inventory becomes more premium, sought after and relevant.

One of the key trends in 2023 will be the relationship between publishers and brands becoming tighter, as they work together to create a more trusted and value exchange future for their audiences.

07: Ad Verification:

When it comes to online advertising campaigns, more and more advertisers are striving to find quality solutions that deliver powerful and accurate data in real-time. However the focus is not solely on performance and results. In a rapidly changing landscape, ad verification monitoring tools are becoming increasingly important, as they drive greater efficiencies. Something all businesses need to explore during this current economic climate.

Ad verification becomes an essential tool to ensure that digital ad spend is not wasted. It ensures reliable and safe content, helps to monitor where ads are shown, whilst detecting suspicious and invalid traffic; thus helping to optimise costs and avoid wasted money on irrelevant placements.

To this end, certified contextual targeting that complies with ad verification tools and global standards will be crucial. Don’t forget, contextual targeting meets this need for quality and reliable advertising, creating a safe and trusted environment for brands, and so when combined with ad verification tools, it’s a win win for all.

So, have I convinced you now? Send me a message on LinkedIn to find out more about how contextual can help you in 2023 and beyond.