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As data protection restrictions tighten, advertisers are becoming more aware of the importance of ethical and transparent data use. The Transparency and Consent Framework 2.0 (TCF 2.0) went into effect on 15 August, encouraging publishers and providers of advertising technology solutions to be more transparent about consumer data protection. On the other hand, it has given users of digital media greater control over what information they share and with whom. As various regulations on consumer data privacy and protection restrict the access to third party, a more precise version of contextual targeting, i.e. contextual intelligence, is becoming more popular.

Contextual intelligence is becoming increasingly important in advertising - iPROM - Expert opinions - Tomaž Tomšič

Contextual intelligence as the white swan of digital advertising

Some marketers like to compare COVID-19 to a crisis, which calls for a different approach to advertising and communication, so it isn’t surprising that they are careful about what news their ads are placed next to. The context of ad placement has therefore become all the more important, as it influences the brand perception as well as the effectiveness of reaching the target audience.

Contextual intelligence explores why ads that are contextually relevant are more engaging, memorable and more likely to drive purchase intent. As advertisers adapt to the changing media landscape, contextual intelligence will become an even more important tactic to extend a brand’s reach while at the same time ensuring its safety.

From contextual targeting to contextual intelligence - iPROM - Expert opinions - Tomaž Tomšič

From contextual targeting to contextual intelligence

The holy grail of digital advertising remains showing the right ad to the right person at the right time on the right device.

Brands, ad-tech providers and publishers are getting ready for new developments in digital advertising. The intelligence offered by contextual targeting is attracting increasing interest, especially as it is based on the text, photos and videos published by the media property visited by the user.

Once contextual targeting is effectively used in conjunction with advertisers’ and publishers’ own data, targeting can be just as accurate as it would be using third-party data, if not more so. Furthermore, brand safety is one of the key benefits of contextual targeting. Once you ensure brand safety and truly understand the content of an online medium, a world of new advertising opportunities opens up.

There is more to consider than just content; the platform, the device, the time, and even the location where consumers see the ad can all affect the response. It is important to have a deeper understanding of why consumers engage with certain content so that we can influence their responses.

Contextual intelligence as the white swan of digital advertising - iPROM - Expert opinions - Tomaž Tomšič

Contextual advertising is an increasingly important part of the programmatic ecosystem

Increasingly, advertisers understand the limitations of stricter laws regarding personal data. Multinational companies have therefore already started to actively prepare for this scenario and are setting up new partnerships based on transparent integrations with media buyers, publishers and closed ecosystems. They are focusing their advertising activities on the use of their own data and have begun shifting their investments towards contextual solutions that will ensure the privacy and protection of user data.

In the past, contextual targeting was used mainly for brand protection in the online environment, but it has grown into one of the key techniques for effective user targeting. In digital advertising, context is created from a combination of data points extracted from the device, the underlying technology and the content, combined with information about anonymised behavioural data at the session level. As a result, it relies on privacy-sensitive parameters that cannot be used to identify individual users.

Today, it is clear that COVID-19 is not only transforming consumer purchasing habits and accelerating the digitisation of businesses, but also transforming the media ecosystem, where digital channels are increasingly dominant. The increased digital media consumption dictates a higher level of security in the digital world and improved protection of users and their identities.

There may not be a world without cookies anytime soon, but change in the programmatic advertising industry is necessary. I am convinced that contextual intelligence is one of the most important directions of this transformation.

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About author

Tomaž Tomšič is a senior advisor and head of the iPROM Labs. As head of iPROM Labs, he has been researching new advertising and communication technologies for more than a decade. He has been a full-time employee of iPROM practically since its founding, which says a lot about him. He spends his spare time researching analytical methods for big data processing and exploring 3D printing technologies. He believes that by combining these technologies, the human species will be able to live and exist on other planets in the future. In his free time, Tomaž is also a passionate runner and participates in marathons.