Could AI combined with context negate the need for third party data?

Marketers now have access to near unlimited sources of customer data. From mobile, offline and wearable tech to more futuristic options such as driverless cars – the potential for personalised ads, targeted with precision, is enormous.

Yet, with all this data available, we’re still seeing poorly targeted and misplaced ads.

Cue semantic contextual targeting – machine learning and natural language processing to interpret the content of individual web pages at a highly granular level, all done using AI.

By placing ads alongside content that closely aligns with a brand’s desired audience, contextual targeting offers an effective and affordable approach to reaching audiences.   

Unlike keyword targeting – which is ineffective when words have multiple meanings and are taken out of context – analysis of the sentiment associated with content reveals the relationship between words or phrases, ensuring the true meaning of the content is understood.

Marketers spend a lot of time and money creating the right message and defining the right audience, but they can now also determine the specific environment in which their ads are delivered, which has multiple benefits when it comes to marketing campaigns.

Find brand-relevant topics

Contextual data that reveals the true meaning of on-page content gives marketers the power to reach audiences when and where they are engaging with the most brand-relevant subjects. Analysis is performed at page rather than domain level, with each URL treated as its own entity.

analysis is performed at page rather than domain level

This means marketers can target relevant content across all websites instead of restricting their advertising to single sites whose audiences they feel may broadly align with their own consumer base, ensuring they find the best value. They can choose to target high-level context categories such as ‘personal finance,’ or to focus in on more specific categories such as ‘insurance’ or ‘life insurance’ to maximise the relevance of ad placements.    

Reach users in the right mindset

The type of content a user is consuming has a significant effect on their state of mind, and this can subsequently impact their experience of, and receptivity to, advertising. The creative might be spot on, and the brand may reach the right user, but if they are not in the right mindset to receive the message, that impression will be wasted.

Imagine a specific consumer – part of a travel brand’s target audience – who is considering booking a summer break. At one point in time they’re scanning a gloomy assessment of the financial markets in the business pages of a news publication, while at another they’re reading a review of an idyllic holiday destination in the same publication’s travel section.

In this instance, it’s not hard to see in which environment the travel brand’s advertising will resonate more strongly with the consumer, but in many cases this distinction is less clear.     

Contextual targeting uses AI-powered sentiment analysis to understand not only the meaning of the content on the page but also the feelings it evokes. This enables marketers to better understand consumer mindset, and allows them to deliver advertising alongside content the consumer is in the best possible frame of mind to receive.

Maintain brand safety

It’s not only about promoting brands next to the right content, but protecting them, too. Contextual targeting also avoids brand safety breaches by preventing ads being served alongside inappropriate content that could damage the brand by association.   

brand safety in programmatic advertising is a key concern

Marketers can specify certain contextual categories they might want to avoid, such as politics, alcohol, extremist content and adult themes. They can also use industry-specific categories to avoid content deemed inappropriate for the sector in which they operate, and can create their own custom categories in response to current events or trending topics.

At a time when brand safety in programmatic advertising is a key concern, a technology that not only identifies relevant ad placements but also evades damaging ones is vital.  

Contextual targeting – fuelled by AI technology – helps marketers make smart buying decisions at speed and scale.

Targeting content that aligns with a particular audience and catching those consumers in the best possible mindset, all the while maintaining stringent levels of brand safety, makes it a fundamental tool to driving ROI, protecting reputation and offering more personalised advertising. It is the future of advertising for any brand that strives to deliver meaningful advertising to the right person at the perfect moment.           

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