Capitalize on Contextual Advertising

by Victoria Garcia Galarza

There’s no question digital marketing disruption is here. To help you navigate, LRW Group collaborated on a five-part series that tackles the biggest challenges marketers will face in the coming months and years. The second installment explored how building brand equity can be an effective strategy to combat digital disruption. Our third installment takes a look at the new age of ad targeting, and how you can hone your contextual targeting strategies specifically to reach customers in a post-cookie world.

In an age where breadth and depth of data are critical to success, many advertisers and marketers simply don’t know what the future will hold. This is of course due to Google’s announcement to move away from third-party cookies over the next two years.

This means agencies and media planners need to rethink their approach to ad targeting, placement, and measurement. As we referenced in part 1 of our “Cookie Apocalypse” series, the largest impact will be seen in a greater focus on acquiring and analyzing first-party data, and investing in loyalty programs. We expect brands to pixel every element of their websites and owned properties in the short term, seeking to amass as much data as possible before the window closes.

The other powerful strategy to consider implementing is contextual advertising. 

Survival Tactic: Hone Your Contextual Advertising

In the recent cookie heyday, it might have seemed that contextual advertising was destined to go the way of the Blackberry. But contextual has been making a comeback following regulations enacted to protect consumer data. 

Contextual advertising, in which ad placement considers a website’s content rather than data on the visitor, is an avenue that will see growth among those seeking a safer bet. With less visibility into who is viewing the ad, advertisers will seek to align their messaging with similar content.

Context never went away, of course. But contextual advertising is making a strong comeback online in the post GDPR era because it allows brands to align relevant content to target users without relying on third-party data. This is a less intrusive way of being relevant to users without being seen as “following” them throughout their digital experience. 

So now that contextual advertising is back in the spotlight, what steps can brands take to maximize its effectiveness? 

Better Understand Your Target Audience with Segmentations

In order to reach existing and potential customers, contextual advertising requires that brands gain a deep understanding of their target audiences and understand where they’re likely to be. Customer Segmentation helps brands effectively prioritize their customer base and is a great way to drive strategy from messaging to media planning. LRW has crafted custom segmentations to help some of the world’s leading brands understand their customers and drive business performance. 


Customer segments often evolve, of course. When one of LRW’s technology clients realized a core group of consumers had aged from adolescence to young adult, LRWTonic used a range of creative quantitative methods to successfully update the segment.

Royal Caribbean, which had long attracted a loyal contingent of frequent cruisers, turned to Kelton for advice on how to convince younger vacationers to give cruising a try. Kelton’s Global Customer Segmentation enabled the company to connect with an untapped segment and grow their business. Kelton also used Customer Segmentations to help Target redefine its shopper segmentations and effectively target consumers.

More broadly, Kelton discovered that most brands haven’t found the right way to reach GenZ, the cohort that accounts for some 40 percent of U.S. consumers. 

To conclude: Focusing on contextual advertising is one proven way to navigate the post-cookie world. And there’s another bonus as well. Studies have shown that consumers click less when they’re conscious their behavior is being tracked, so it’s a great way to reach your customers without annoying them first.

In the fourth installment of our “Cookie Apocalypse” series, we’ll focus on how brands can stay top of mind with content marketing to reach consumers in the post-cookie world

Victoria Garcia Galarza

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