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How Will Contextual Targeting be a Game-Changer in a Cookie-Less World?

The Influencers 28 Add to collection

Pooja Suvarna, digital media manager at Mediaplus Middle East, explains the ins and outs of Contextual Targeting and why it will be invaluable in a cookie-less world

How Will Contextual Targeting be a Game-Changer in a Cookie-Less World?

As the world transitions into a cookie-less future, Contextual Targeting is the best way to keep up with the times. Pooja Suvarna, Digital Media Planner at Mediaplus Middle East, explains the ins and outs of Contextual Targeting and why it will be invaluable in a cookie-less world. 

Before we do a deep dive into the future, let’s first understand what Contextual Targeting is.

What is Contextual Targeting?

Contextual Targeting refers to a method where an ad is targeted based on the content or keywords of the website, and not on the online behaviour or intent of the user visiting the website.

How can Contextual Targeting be a game-changer in a cookie-less world?

Since Contextual Targeting works based on the content/keywords of the website and not via third-party cookies, this makes it a safer option in terms of data privacy as it is not dependent on any third-party tool other than the content of the website.

As advertisers, we should start investing more and more into this targeting option to best prepare us for the future. 

Benefits of Contextual Targeting:

1. Ensuring relevance – The premise of this targeting is to select the audience according to the content of the website. This ensures that the user who landed on the page intends to read the article on the page where your ad is eligible to serve, which will inadvertently make them interested in the product you are marketing as well.

2. Ensuring consumers’ privacy – Contextual Targeting is in line with the consumers’ privacy policy. It targets a highly relevant audience without requiring data from the customer or any other historic online behaviour. 

3. Ensuring brand safety – Contextual Targeting only focuses on the keywords/topics selected by the advertisers, making it less likely that the ads will be displayed on websites or content that will be against the brand safety structure.

4. Targeting audience using iPhone and browsers that do not support cookies – After the update from iPhone that required an advertiser to get permission from the user before tracking their online activity, the ability to target ads according to individual online behaviour was restricted. To target audiences on browsers that do not support cookies, Contextual Targeting is the best option.

5. Contextual Targeting is not limited to text on the website – Looking at the benefits of contextual targeting and the cookie-less future of digital, Contextual Targeting seems to be a good fit for digital campaigns. However, this targeting option was limited to reading text only on a website, but it has since evolved with the help of advanced AI technology. 

Contextual Targeting can now read and understand videos and static images on websites. This enables digital marketers to target an audience whose primary online consumption is video instead of text.

Disadvantages of Contextual Targeting:

1. No control over the position of ads – The position of the ads on the website depends on the availability of the placements on the website, the website layout, and the bids, with higher bids leading to a better chance of the ad being displayed.

2. Display advertising can be annoying – The ads on the website can be annoying or distracting to the customers while they are reading the content on the website.

3. The reach might be limited – Since the nature of Contextual Targeting depends on the content that is displayed, this might limit your reach. Brands with very niche targeting might struggle to reach the right audience based solely on the content of the website.

4. Negating the irrelevant keywords can be time-consuming – Targeting the right keyword is important, however, negating the irrelevant keyword is more important to ensure the ads are displayed in brand-safe spaces only. This can be a tedious job and might be an ongoing process throughout the time that the campaign is live.


Every targeting option has its own pros and cons. However, looking at the cookie-less future and all of the ad restrictions that come with it, Contextual Targeting is the best future-proof option we have in hand. Advancements in AI technology have made Contextual Targeting more powerful by providing a more detailed understanding of where and how the content is being consumed, and what is the current sentiment of the audience according to the content of the website.

The brands that are currently dependent on behavioural targeting need to work towards a cookie-less future. Even small steps can help these brands move slowly towards this exciting future. Collecting and maintaining first party data, reducing dependency on tracking cookies and mobile device IDs, and investing into Contextual Targeting are some of the many steps that brands can take to ensure they are well-equipped for the challenges of tomorrow. 

Whichever steps brands and advertisers decide to take, contextual advertising will continue advancing alongside the world around it. 

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Serviceplan Middle East, Tue, 10 May 2022 07:58:35 GMT