With minimized reliance on personal data, contextual targeting is safe regulation-wise, and helps align with the GDPR without much effort. In fact, contextual targeting allows companies to avoid the GDPR completely, provided they don’t collect or use any personal data. If only information about the website and specific page (content, keywords, URL, etc.) is used, then targeting happens outside of the terms stipulated in the GDPR, and therefore there is no need to comply with it.
Contextual ads can complement content.
Contextual ads are very effective for specific kinds of content. Some studies indicate they can increase purchase intent by 63%.
Contextual ads are found to be less unnerving than traditionally targeted display ads. In this way, they may be seen more positively.
Contextual targeting is based on the actual interest of the user. For example, when researching a specific product or service, let’s say a new mobile phone, you are likely to read a number of reviews. Contextual ads on review sites are likely to be displayed based on the content rather than on your browsing history. It shows user area of interest, increasing the chance of receiving a response.
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Challenges of Contextual Targeting
Contextual targeting is leaps and bounds more GDPR-safe and effective than other targeting methods; however, it is not free of its own limitations and problems.
Contextual advertising is a process that requires constant attention. For example, some contexts are too broad for precise targeting and the ad slots may end up being taken by a competitor’s ads.
There are examples of some unfortunate ad pairings. For example, a user reading a post about Tom Cruise’s new Spanish villa is not necessarily interested in buying one themselves.
Problems implementing frequency capping (i.e. limiting the number of times a specific visitor to a website is shown a particular ad). This is independent of contextual targeting; it’s to comply fully with GDPR and not store any tracking cookies/identifiers of the device.
Scaling branded, contextually relevant advertising organically is not easy.
Precise contextual advertising may take careful consideration of keywords at the stage of writing the content. This approach is not much different from SEO, and is definitely time-intensive.
Custom Solutions and the Future of Contextual Ads
With the GDPR round the corner, contextual ads may soon be the only way for publishers to ensure compliance and continue displaying targeted ads. To do it, publishers can use AdSense contextual targeting or partner with an AdTech development company to create a custom solution. This may not only be a way to meet a specific website content’s needs, but also offers better control of the ads and the ways they are displayed.
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