The resurgence of contextual driven targeting

March 2021

Christopher Ho, Innovation Director at Posterscope speaks to The Drum about which of the digital transformation trends they’ve personally experienced have been the most profound – for their own agencies, their clients, and the consumers.

The single most transformative digital marketing of the past few years in my opinion is the resurgence of contextually driven targeting.  For the past five years the digital marketing world has consistently revolved around the balance between privacy and personalisation.  The meteoric rise in short-term attribution metrics gave brands of all sizes the confidence to engage in advertising campaigns that drove visible business benefits and ROI – feeding the personalisation machine, but ultimately at great cost to the consumer’s privacy.

Now are we seeing a major correction to this situation, with the implementation of GDPR and CCPA regulations, plus tectonic shifts from the major players in the market that will drive practical change.  The correction to this balance has meant a renaissance in the world of Contextual Targeting.  A pivot away from identifying whose attention to capture and sell, towards offering consumers the brands they want to buy.

AI generated contextual targeting
Without the unifying point of truth of 3rd party cookies, we are seeing the rise of AI and Machine Learning beginning to address the Contextual challenging digital marketing.  Using observations across millions of content interactions and aggregated real-world behaviours, AI will be able to eloquently describe the contexts in which to reach consumers, unlocking relevance and hyper-targeting while preserving consumer privacy.

While it’s a seismic shift for many channels, others, such as OOH have functioned around contextual and aggregated data and insights consistently for years, meaning that they have a head-start on the competition.  Unifying data sources around a new contextual North star such as Location means that the playing fields will shift to the heartlands of one-to-many channels.

Mobilising 1st party data
So what does all this mean for the future?  Brands’ own CRM databases will become vitally important in creating bespoke solutions for clients and privacy compliant companies such as InfoSum, that can take 1st party data and match segments to use cases across different channels, will certainly come to the fore.

With the entire ecosystem re-focussing around context this may be the catalyst that the industry needs to begin delivering relevance as standard, setting aside short-term vanity metrics and a return to the fore of long-term brand building.

The full article can be read here.