Although behavioral targeting may appear on the rocks, the established digital ad tactic may not be completely shipwrecked.

Instead, a likely outcome is that the tactical correction now underway, thanks to the deprecation of digital identifiers, will lead to a balance of approaches.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Jenn Chen, president and chief revenue officer of ad-tech company Connatix, explains how it will work.

Player to profit

Founded in 2014, Connatix offers publishers an online video player with built-in monetization formats, an integrated ad server and exchange built for video.

It also mines publishers’ video content to create signals that can power contextual ad targeting.

That tactic aims to place ads that match content, rather than ones which precision-target individuals, not unlike how analog ad sales used to function.

Contextual 2.0

“The new age of contextual is quite different,” Chen says.

“Deep contextual, how we’re approaching it, is starting from sort of like the molecules and atoms, the actual fundamental pieces of video signals.

“We use AI and machine learning to look at different signals, such as clips and images, all the way through to looking at meta tags and what publishers use in in tagging their videos and combining it into something that makes sense at the higher order and making it something that is targetable and being able to provide insights from that as well.”

Connatix’s context

In 2021, Connatix  took new investment from Court Square Capital Partners, with money earmarked for M&A, global expansion and product innovation.

This year, the firm has:

  • Opened a Chicago office.
  • Hired Taboola’s Mike Renfro to head a Midwest operation.
  • Appointed a chief people officer, VP North America amid and chief revenue officer to manage growth.

The company works with more than 3,000 publishers, including McClatchy, Reuters, CBS Local and Accuweather.

Mixing methods

Chen sees contextual targeting as helping advertisers use a blended targeting approach.

“In the cookie world as we’ve defined it before, it’s like, ‘this person must be black or white,’ this label,” she says.

“But that doesn’t evolve. It doesn’t change as they consume content.

“If you combine the benefits of contextual and understanding that background of the user, you come up with a much better, richer combination of both. That’s what I think will happen in the future.”