The Age of Hyper-Informed Contextual Advertising

There’s a reason why we have been talking about a resurgence in contextual advertising. Years ago, when the industry began to collaborate in earnest to combat brand safety, fraudulent inventory and other emerging challenges, there was serious talk of moving back to contextual advertising as a means to operate within a trusted environment. The problem at the time, was that the information chips inside the cookies were just too hard to abandon. All of this has changed since the industry has been forced to prepare for cookie independence 

The attention turned sharply towards first party data. Publishers looking to develop viable segments to drive monetization have done a lot of work through AI, custom data management platforms and other technologies. Marketers on the other hand, have been organizing their data around customer profiles with their own sets of attributes and segments. While both the buy-side and the sell-side have been working to architect their segments, they have been looking for the right opportunities to unleash the power of their own data stores. Meanwhilean entirely new ad tech sector is emerging as a result of the race towards developing viable solutions that offer the same exceptional targeting that cookies offered while providing a privacy-first approach to digital advertising. 

We are getting a front row view of the re-imagination of digital ad tech and some of the solutions we’re seeing show outstanding promise for the future of the industry. Rich new tools and processes tying enormous value to first party data are starting to present themselves. 

Gone are the days when context was relegated to tight keywords and placements. Thanks to predictive modeling and the advancements in understanding content and context as they correlate to intent, the connection between buy-side segments and suitable placement – at scale – is possible. 

We’re excited to see our members take charge and innovate with predictive audiences, granular content graphing and cookieless signals. The opportunities to provide relevant ads to receptive audiences, while delivering a safe eco-system are coming to life. Join our Contextual Advertising working group to delve more deeply into this topic over the coming months.

If you are an IAB Canada member and would like to join this group, contact