How Contextual Advertising is Driving Success in the Cookieless Era

Contextual Targeting of Advertising is Proving Even More Efficient Than Third-Party Cookies


Contextual Advertising Is Becoming the New Standard

Since Google announced it would end support for third-party cookies, the search has been on for the new standard and it looks like contextual advertising is quickly emerging as the successor.

In fact, contextual targeting of advertising is proving it can be even more effective as a targeting strategy than cookies. recently posted this update about Google’s plans.

third-party-cookies-tracking-cookiesWhy Third-Party Cookies Are Going Away

Tracking cookies have created a lot of privacy concerns; mostly because of bad actors who use them for evil…

The good news is, those abuses by bad people will be reduced quite a bit.  The bad news is, professional marketers who do the right thing are left to find a whole new strategy that offers the efficiency and effectiveness of this long-time “go to” tool.

The search has been ongoing for a while now and from many different strategies being tested, context is emerging as a strong replacement.

What is Contextual Targeting of Advertising?

Contextual digital advertising has the potential to surpass tracking cookies for effectiveness and, ultimately, how relevant advertising people see becomes in the future.

Contextual targeting of advertising can best be visualized this way:

  • An ad is about to appear on a website or app the user is viewing (this could be display, video, or other rich formats of advertising);
  • The ad stack on that website or app considers any first-party data about the user, the content of the page, and a host of other potential contextual factors, such as:
    • Content Category
    • Keywords on the Page
    • Location
    • Weather
    • Best Pricing Nearby (CPG)
    • Demographics
    • Psychographics
    • Past Purchase Behavior
    • Brand-Friendliness
  • The ad stack then fills in the best ad based on a balance of what’s most relevant to the user, ideal audience for the advertiser, and generates the most revenue for the publisher of the website or app.

Early results have been beyond expectations.  And since targeting is one of the core fundamentals of any sound marketing strategy, it’s big news for professional marketers seeking to get the best results for clients.


Contextual Digital Advertising Offers a Win-Win-Win

For consumers, contextual digital advertising offers the potential to see much more relevant advertising that feels helpful, rather than creepy.

For advertisers, contextual advertising offers the potential for less wasted ad impressions, higher rates of engagement, and ultimately more cost-efficient business growth.  We refer to this as marketing ROI, and it’s central to what we do as professional marketers.

For content creators and on-line publishers who rely on advertising as the core of their business models, contextual advertising offers the potential for higher ad rates and happier advertiser who see better results.

For some of our clients, contextual advertising has already exceeded the historical results of third-party cookies.  It’s encouraging to see, and it should mean good things for digital advertising into the future.

Looking for a Solution Like This?

If you’re concerned about how the end of third-party cookies may affect your existing strategies into the future, or you’re just always on the lookout for a better way to reach new customers and grow your business — let’s talk.

Schedule a free consultation with our team and we’ll tell you what we know so far about contextual advertising (or anything else you want to know).

Otherwise, just sign up for our free e-mail newsletter on Local Marketing and you can be among the first to see what else we publish about contextual advertising and a host of other local marketing topics here on our blog.

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Steven Ludwig
After 3 decades as a professional marketer, serial entrepreneur and business consultant Steven Ludwig shares his best practices for small business marketing for owners, managers, and marketers with limited time, money, and expertise. Steven started his professional marketing career in broadcasting in the early ‘90s in Chicago after attending Valparaiso University. After a brief stint at an advertising agency specializing in entertainment and sports marketing where he worked with radio and television stations, movie theatre companies, record labels, musicians, and professional sports teams, he moved to Nashville to form The Marketing Group with his long-time business partner, Jim Wood. Having worked with some of the largest brands in the world, in 2010 he returned to local marketing primarily out of an interest and excitement for working with small business owners to build stronger companies. That desire comes out of early days in radio, where he worked closely with everything from car dealerships to restaurants, insurance and real estate agents, banks, home services companies, and specialty retailers of all kinds. Over the past decade, he has been on the bleeding edge of digital marketing technology, constantly seeking to understand complex strategies employed by giant corporations and then translate those capabilities into tactics small businesses can execute at a local level. Today, in addition to other business ventures with his wife and other long-time business partners, he still lives outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee and currently serves as Executive Chairman of EmpowerLocal, a digital marketing company building a nationwide network of digital, hyperlocal news and lifestyle publishers to provide efficient advertising opportunities for local, regional, and national brands.


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