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AdTech Reboot

The Contextual Conundrum for 2021

Picture of Judy Shapiro

Judy Shapiro

Editor-in-Chief at The Trust Web Times
Picture of Judy Shapiro

Judy Shapiro

Editor-in-Chief at The Trust Web Times

As marketers demand contextual ad placement, the current approaches make marketers think they are getting good contextual ad placement when they are not.    

Ask 100 agency folks to describe “contextual advertising,” you are likely to get 400 vague, optimistic notions about the “right message at the place.”

Ask 100 startup CEOs how they deliver contextual advertising and their answers will proliferate into thousands of techno-babble explanations that obscure how they do contextual placements.   

Ask 100 marketers and their contextual requirement is simple. Contextual or “Adjacency” as it was called years ago is where the ad is place against content that is highly related. Pre-digital, Brands paid a premium in magazines for their ad be placed on specific pages. But in digital ad placement, the ability to deliver an ad with a strong contextual link to the web content doesn’t happen very well amidst the muscly push of brute impressions through DSP pipes.

Yet as contextual increases in importance due to privacy restrictions, the gap of what contextual should be and what adtech delivers is wide. The adtech black boxes with their bedazzling promises of contextual relevancy work well to confuse the underwhelming truth underneath. Just like that we hit contextual conundrum head-on.

With knowledge comes power in one’s ability to make good decisions. So let’s unpack how contextual ad placement is done today so we can dispel the confusion.  

Today’s Two AdTech Options for Contextual Targeting

The technical description of contextual ad placement in programmatic media

No marketer wakes up and says today I am going run advertising that is NOT contextual but contextual targeting fails to hit its mark. That’s where the conundrum lies.