Contextual targeting of advertising is regaining some of its past glory as marketers seek to reach target audiences while also respecting consumer privacy and weighing brand safety. Technology companies are giving people more ways to be more anonymous online, challenging advertisers to find data signals that are meaningful to driving business outcomes.

Tracking cookies have been a key part of ad targeting for decades, but fewer makers of web browsers are supporting the technology. Contextual advertising makes sense in that marketers want to reach consumers who express their interest in a product by seeking related content.

“Sometimes we try to push away content because we were so focused on targeting individuals at that cookie level,” Joshua Palau, chief media and activation officer at Omnicom’s PHD, said in this interview with Beet.TV. “The construct of reading a piece of content that you’re interested in and then seeing a product that’s related to that content does still hold true in the way that consumers look at products.”

Data Signals and CTV

Advertisers have a wide variety of data signals that help to determine how to reach target consumers and measure the effectiveness of their media spending. Privacy-compliant data sets and identity graphs based on location, demographics, purchase history and search histories are an important resource.

“You can still be effective, efficient and look at performance,” Palau said. “You could also be aligned with content that lines up with your brand values.”

Connected TV (CTV), which has always been cookieless, provides marketers a way to target audiences with more personalized ads, while also avoiding wasteful spending on repetitive media placements.

“Another great thing about the connected piece is having those things in place so that you can minimize that waste piece and get more targeted in terms of that audience,” Palau said. “The way that you manage these things is starting to become a lot clearer. Contextual has a nice seat here in the TV world.”

You are watching “Reshaping Contextual Advertising,” a Beet.TV leadership series presented by OpenSlate. For more videos, please visit this page.