Artificial intelligence technology is making contextual advertising – or placing ads next to content that’s most likely to get the attention of a target audience – more powerful as privacy laws limit how brands can use people’s personal information for marketing purposes. These limitations, along with concerns about brand safety and the eventual disappearance of browser tracking cookies, have help to renew the use of contextual advertising.

“AI has been explosive for contextual,” Adam Steinberg, head of performance at WPP’s GroupM Nexus, said in this interview with Lisa Granatstein, editorial director of Beet.TV.

“When it comes to the amount of contextual space and inventory that’s out there — the scale at which our clients, our teams are very interested in exploring — there’s a lot to mine through,” he said. “The AI aspect between contextual allows us to find and navigate faster and with a lot more nuance that I don’t think humans can manually do themselves and sustain at the scale that we need to.”

A key goal is to make advertising feel less intrusive by being more relevant to consumers. Reaching people when they’re most likely to be receptive to advertising also is paramount.

“There’s a lot of different opportunities to learn about who our consumers are from data, and then pair that with contextual signals that would be still very relevant,” Steinberg said, “but maybe not as directly obvious as what they’re interested in in the moment.”

Advertisers can get the most out of contextual AI by determining the most important characteristics of the audiences they want to engage.

“There’s a lot more than just keyword and demographic types of capabilities that we can pick up signal wise. AI can help us go a lot deeper and understand the nuances,” Steinberg said. “I would encourage from a best practice standpoint to explore a little bit deeper about who your audiences are, the types of content and just their overall consumption patterns, and try to leverage AI to find the sweet spots.”

You’re watching “The Power of Context: Driving Attention to Intention in a Privacy-First Era,” a Beet.TV Leadership Series, presented by Seedtag. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.