SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The digital ad industry has spent the last five to 10 years deriding the old method of targeting advertisements, which involved placing ads against recognisable content deemed to deliver a suitable audience.

Instead, it got preoccupied with technologies which promise hyper-detailed targeting of individual users, regardless of the content they are consuming.

That was until privacy regulation put the brakes on advanced audience targeting techniques.

What’s coming next is what came before. In other words, to find their audiences, ad buyers are turning back toward the old method of “contextual” placement. But, in 2020, context comes with a difference.

“In the privacy era that we’re now in … what’s old is new again,” says Comscore activation GM Rachel Gantz. “Contextual targeting was quite popular from a digital perspective for a long time. It really took a back seat to audience-based approaches.

“We’re now seeing, because of all the privacy focus, the pendulum swing back towards connected TV and towards contextual offers.”

Gantz’s Comscore this week announced that its segments for describing the brand safety and contextual categorisation of content will be available to IRIS.TV.

The latter, an LA company, offers a contextual video marketplace which uses natural language processing to automatically add and structure video metadata, helping ad buyers decide which inventory to buy against.

Gantz says that advertisers are growing weary about connected TV because they expect to be able to use the get the brand safety effectiveness to which they have now become accustomed in other digitals channels also in OTT environments.

And she says the looming death of cookie-based targeting will further spur the drive back to contextual.

“I think it’s going to mean that people are focused on much more privacy centric solutions, like contextual,” she says. “I think it means that people are just going to pay a little more attention … to exactly what are the mechanisms they’re using to be able to reach the audiences and content that they’re after.”

The interview was carried out by Beet.TV director of editorial and strategy Jon Watts.

This video is part of  Beet.TV’s coverage  of  RampUp, LiveRamp’s summit for marketing technology in San Francisco.  This series is co-sponsored by LiveRamp and ZEFR.

For more videos from the series, please visit this landing page.

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