The Cookie Jar is Going to be Empty: Say Hello to Contextual Advertising 3.0


Contextual advertising has always reigned supreme in traditional advertising. However, in digital advertising, audience-based targeting has received more hype and attention because third-party access to cookies made this an easy route to target audiences. But now, that’s a thing of the past. 

With regulations like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) mandating data security and user privacy, marketers and publishers are rightfully moving towards Contextual ads again.

Impact of Privacy Regulations on Contextual Advertising
Since the implementation of GDPR, the attention of the advertising space has moved towards more privacy-compatible and future-proof ways of running ads to generate revenue. The focus has moved from behavioral to a more relevance-based ad solution. Context of your content is replacing cookies as an essential asset to run relevant ads. This is because contextual ads end the need to track cookies to find the ideal audience interested in your product/service.

Contextual advertising, in its latest sophisticated and evolved version, is transforming the digital marketing industry in many ways. Here is how contextual ads can save the day for publishers and offer a much-needed hike in revenue:

  1. Efficient targeting and positive outcomes for both publishers and advertisers – In a cookie-less environment, context is taking centre-stage and contextual technology has become super-advanced. Contextual advertising includes browsing through your webpage, conducting a thorough analysis of its content, keywords, sentiment, and more to display the right kind of ads that appeal to your audience. This means you can target an audience who is in the right mind-set to be exposed to an ad that is closely linked to the content they are consuming. The best part is that it benefits both parties of the ad tech ecosystem. As an advertiser, you get higher engagement and better conversions for your ads, thereby creating a higher brand value as well. As for a publisher, contextual advertising is unobtrusive to user experience and gives the much-needed boost to current revenue.
  1. Movement for privacy in the ad tech and advertising ecosystem – GDPR and CCPA were introduced to protect the privacy of the consumers by making data collection strictly consent-based. For those who used to collect information from visitors using third-party cookies, these regulations pose serious restrictions. Now, GDPR and CCPA are just kicking off a wider movement. Laws are becoming more stringent where CCPA is going to have an updated version (The California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 or CalPRA) which comes into effect from January 2021. Certain provisions including sensitive and personal information, children’s personal information and cross-context behavioral advertising will witness serious changes. For example, the new version states that ‘CalPRA triples the existing fine to $75,000 per intentional violation for any business, service provider, contractor, or other person that violates the Act’s requirements with respect to the collection or sale of the personal information of minors under the age of 16 without consent.’ After much resistance, Google too has jumped on the bandwagon as it announced in January 2020 that it would phase out third-party cookies on Chrome in the next two years in January 2020. All of these laws and regulations point to a future where user privacy will be critical and context will remain one of the most important signals for efficient targeting and advertising. 

1.Ad platforms that deliver revenue within privacy frameworks – With the adoption of contextual ads, it’s also vital to partner with ad networks that specialize in this field. Google offers contextual targeting to advertisers on its display network. But one of the largest contextual ad solutions in the world is by They offer ad solutions that are contextual-first and need no audience data to display hyper-relevant ads, thereby being absolutely privacy-compliant. Their contextual technology is highly sophisticated and they’ve been building solutions for publishers and advertisers with it for over a decade. As a publisher vying for smarter avenues to increase ad revenue, you must check these options out.

Final word

Media spending patterns are changing as cookie-tracking becomes complex. Hence, businesses are now focussing on consent-based approaches only, making the digital ad space more transparent. The impact of data privacy regulations has been such that contextual targeting has grown in prominence. The future of effective advertising lies in tapping real-time user intent with high-relevance ads rather than chase users with ads based on cookies with stale and irrelevant information.