With the impending demise of third-party tracking cookies, Building marketing through contextual targeting is gaining a renewed importance. CMO talks to several in the industry about the opportunities and challenges in the shift to contextual marketing. Contextual marketing brings together online and mobile marketing and uses targeted advertising based on search terms and browsing activity to attract the desired customers. It relies on developing relevant buyer personas and developing the appropriate tone of voice, content and channel to engage them. Semasio senior business development manager, Mikael Holcombe-Scali, told CMO contextual marketing equips marketers with the accuracy and flexibility of semantic data. “Contextual marketing is shown to users in environments that are contextually relevant and can enable marketers to reach their ideal audience, no matter how niche or broad, in environments that are highly relevant,” he noted. Contextual targeting uses people’s interests, location or other factors to target advertising to them. This is distinct from behavioural targeting, which can use websites visited, links clicked on, time spent on page and other metrics, often able to be collected through cookies. And data will be crucial in this context. Retailers and marketers will have to consider strategies or software that can better leverage first-party data for contextual marketing, HubSpot A/NZ head of marketing, Kat Warboys, explained to CMO. “While third-party data allowed you to place ads directly in front of people who matched certain user profiles, contextual marketing allows you to circulate pay per click (PPC) ads on websites that rank for similar keywords as your ad,” Warboys said. “ backlink service seeing marketers start to shift their strategy and use first-party data and multi-touch attribution to create personalised and relevant content for consumers. Truly effective contextual targeting engines are able to process all types of content that exist on a page, to give true 360-degree guidance as to the page's semantic meaning,” Beveridge said. “Good tools allow for more sophisticated approaches than simple keyword matching and allow marketers to nominate environments they want to include, and, importantly, the ones they want to exclude, such as content using hate speech, hyper partisanship, hyper politicalism, racism, toxicity, stereotyping and so on,” he said. And beyond this, advanced contextual targeting tools can analyse video down to single frames of video, to identify logos or products, recognise brand safe images, with audio transcript informing it all, to ensure a contextually appropriate environment to have ads around the video content. Here, Beveridge said, this includes thumbnails and tags, and the same type of analysis is also applied to audio and imagery, to ensure the site as a whole is brand safe. “For instance, a contextual targeting tool can analyse a video that contains images of a beer brand, identify through the audio and video that it is a brand-safe environment, and inform the marketers that it is an optimum channel for and marketing content about beer to appear to the relevant target audience,” he said. Will it improve consumer privacy? “As users demand greater privacy, including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used - the web ecosystem and businesses need to evolve to meet these increasing demands,” Warboys said. And with third-party cookies already phasing out, data management platforms are looking to create alternate tools that help advertisers track data in a way that makes the most out of the first-party cookie. “While these options might be different from third-party cookie solutions or require some new tools, software or strategising, they would still allow marketers to target and learn about relevant audiences without being intrusive or losing trust - critical for businesses to grow better,” she told CMO. However, while the removal of third-party cookies allows for new solution creation to optimise personalisation, there’s always a risk of privacy issues, Mughal said. “This is one area that marketers do need to keep on top of, as rules and regulations are constantly evolving and adapting,” she advised. “Companies now have the opportunity to develop and build their own awareness as they drive users through their digital channels. Previously, this would have been outsourced to third-party vendors for advertising. Keyword planning and trends are a starting point for keyword research and site searches for the most frequently asked questions. Create content that directly addresses common barriers and questions fielded by the sales team.