The opportunity for contextual advertising emerges in a cookieless world!
The demand for more ethical data and more respectful treatment of privacy has forced the tech giants to step up their initiatives to bring themselves into line. After Apple and Mozilla, it is now Google’s turn to announce the imminent disappearance of third-party cookies from its browser.
To adapt to this upheaval, marketers and adtech specialists are exploring alternatives to maintain their advertising performance. Contextual targeting seems to be catching on!
Marketers scrambling to adapt to the cookieless world ahead
In March 2021, Google announced with great fanfare the imminent disappearance of third-party cookies from Google Chrome. “Users are demanding more privacy, transparency, choice and control over how their data is used. Google is evolving to create an ecosystem that meets these growing demands,” commented Justin Schuh, Director of Engineering for Google Chrome.
The demand for more ethical data and privacy-friendly processing is nothing new. In fact, Google is far from being a pioneer when it comes to cookieless since Mozilla and Apple had already removed third-party cookies from their respective browsers (Firefox and Safari) several years ago. However, Google’s announcement has received a lot of media attention for one simple reason: Chrome has over 65% of the market share.
Before going any further, here’s a quick summary to gauge the impact of the imminent disappearance of third-party cookies in B2B.
- Third-party cookies are computer files placed on your computer, tablet or smartphone by your web browser. Their purpose is to collect your session data from one site to another in order to understand your browsing habits and build up your “identity” based on granular details. On the marketing side, third-party cookies facilitate advertising targeting and retargeting by exploiting browsing history.
- The disappearance of third-party cookies should complicate advertising retargeting, a decisive lever in certain business sectors such as e-commerce. Other impacts: more complicated tracking, no visibility over the number of times an advertisement is displayed for the same Internet user, difficulty in making the link between an advertising impression and the conversion that may follow, etc.
According to a GetApp x HubSpot study, 41% of marketers believe that their biggest challenge in the medium term will be tracking the right data. In many respects, in the coming months, adtech will be transformed into an open-air laboratory for Test & Learn and identifying the best alternatives to third-party cookies. Contextual advertising is one of the most promising avenues.
Contextual advertising vs. behavioural advertising
Behavioural advertising has flourished in a web dominated by third-party cookies. Behavioural advertising is the use of a user’s recent browsing data to display “relevant” advertising on websites affiliated with the advertising network in question. Example: a sales director or sales manager is preparing to buy a SalesTech tool. He does a lot of research on Google, reads up on specialist websites, etc.
A behavioural advertising sequence will then be triggered: SalesTech software ads will start to appear on social networks and websites with no apparent link to the SalesTech, MarTech or B2B theme. For example, Internet users will see a banner for a SalesTech solution on a holiday booking site, on a sports media site, etc. Advertising is therefore fundamentally based on the browsing history captured by third-party cookies. The disappearance of third-party cookies could complicate or even make it impossible to use this type of advertising.
This is where contextual advertising comes in. Let’s take our example again. Our sales director is still looking for a SalesTech solution to equip his sales staff. His research led him to a blog specialising in this area. He will then see an advertising banner promoting a tool. His “personal” browsing will therefore not be polluted by banners relating to his profession. In short, it’s a question of ensuring consistency between the product being promoted and the website, social network or mobile application “hosting” the ad.
The process is no longer based on the surfer’s browsing history but on the consistency between the product being marketed and the host site’s keywords. The content of the host site is analysed and categorised, the ads are sorted accordingly and the advertising network displays banners that are consistent with the host site. Advertising becomes authentic, relevant and respectful of privacy.
The CNIL explains: “This advertising technique is far from new, as it has historically been used in print, audiovisual and billboard media. The advantage of this type of advertising is that it does not require any information about the person viewing the advertisement”.
Because it ticks all the right boxes in the age of ethical Data, contextual advertising should logically become widespread in the medium term. According to the latest Data Bridge Market report (August 2022), the contextual advertising market will grow at an average annual rate of 28.60% between 2022 and 2029.