How we constantly find new technologies that best suits our clients’ business objectives.

As brands get ready to embrace the 3rd party cookieless world – a world without 3rd-party cookies that is coming into effect by late 2024 – it is important to have already been testing new technologies and options that will help us to keep reaching our relevant audiences and that can assist us with driving and increasing sales.

At JOLT Digital, we had once more the opportunity to game-change the media industry by bringing cutting-edge technology to one of our clients. This technology has helped us to drive conversions without the need for cookies, through contextual advertising.

But firstly, let’s look at some important concepts that will bring perspective to our innovative solution.

The evolving media landscape when it comes to user privacy.

User privacy refers to the protection of an individual’s personal information and the right to control how their data is collected, used, and shared. Online platforms, websites, and services must adhere to privacy policies that outline how they collect, store, and process user data.

Cookies are small pieces of data stored on a user’s device by websites they visit. These files serve various purposes, such as remembering user preferences and tracking user behaviour for analytics.

Relying too much on third-party cookies in the digital advertising ecosystem poses several risks, and these concerns have led to increased discussions around privacy, user consent, and the evolving regulatory landscape. Some of these risks include cross-device tracking limitations, not being able to cope with browser policy changes and inaccurate data and lack of quality of this data.

Several privacy concerns have arisen in the digital age, leading to the development of privacy regulations, for example, GDPR in the EU, aiming to protect the privacy and personal data of EU citizens. GDPR requires websites to obtain explicit consent before collecting personal information and to provide users with the option to control and delete their data.

In response to these challenges, the advertising industry is exploring alternative solutions such as first-party data strategies, contextual targeting, and technologies designed to address privacy concerns while still allowing for effective digital advertising.

On this article we will focus on contextual targeting.

Growth in contextual advertising

Contextual advertising is a form of targeted advertising that involves displaying ads on websites or other media platforms based on the content of the page and the interests of the user. The goal is to show ads that are relevant to the context of the content being viewed, making them more likely to be of interest to the user. Contextual advertising can work without relying on cookies by primarily focusing on the content of the webpage being viewed, rather than tracking the user’s browsing history across the internet.

So, how does it work?

1. Page Content Analysis: Contextual advertising systems use various techniques, such as keyword analysis, semantic analysis, and natural language processing, to analyse the content of the webpage. This analysis helps identify the main topics and themes of the page.

2. Keyword and Topic Matching: Based on the analysis of the page content, the advertising platform identifies relevant keywords and topics. Advertisers may specify certain keywords or topics they want to target with their ads.

3. Real-Time Bidding (RTB): Advertisers bid in real-time for the opportunity to display their ads on pages with specific content. The bidding process can consider factors like the relevance of the ad to the content, the bid amount, and other targeting criteria.

4. Dynamic Ad Placement: Ads are dynamically placed on the webpage based on the identified keywords and topics. The goal is to present ads that closely align with the context of the page and are likely to be of interest to the user.

Since contextual advertising doesn’t rely on tracking individual users across websites, it is considered more privacy friendly. Users are not identified or targeted based on their browsing history, and their online activities are not tracked for ad targeting purposes.

While contextual advertising doesn’t require cookies for its core functionality, some advertising platforms may still use cookies for additional purposes, such as frequency capping (limiting the number of times a user sees a particular ad) or measuring ad performance. However, these uses are generally less invasive than the extensive tracking associated with behavioural advertising.

Overall, contextual advertising offers a way to deliver relevant ads to users based on the immediate context of the webpage they are viewing, without the need for extensive user tracking through cookies.

The importance of keeping on top of media trends and latest technology

Given the changes in the media landscape and a new preoccupation about targeting relevant users without cookies, after extensive research and AdTech curation, we have come across Illuma.

Illuma was established in 2014 by professionals in publishing and computer science with expertise from Imperial College, University College London (UCL), and Cambridge University.

Illuma utilises AI-driven contextual ad targeting, operating independently of cookies or identifiers. Instead, it relies on real-time insights derived from the ongoing browsing behaviour of live audiences. This dynamic approach allows Illuma to continually expand and identify new, relevant audiences on a large scale.

When a specific type of content proves effective in a campaign, Illuma AI technology promptly broadens its scope to include similar high-quality content in real time. This approach enables Illuma to discover new, pertinent users, precisely when they are most receptive to brand messaging.

As previously mentioned, Illuma is an AdTech and so, it needs to be plugged into a DSP (demand-side platform) to work with the available inventory that the DSP has access to.

When we tested Illuma at JOLT Digital, the results were outstanding, driving 51% of the total DSP conversions.

In summary, the combination of JOLT Digital’s innovation hub, the constant lookout for new AdTech, the careful curation process and good client relationship led us to once more prove that we are changing the game for our clients by driving strong results outside of the traditional media landscape, with the inclusion of modern technologies that respond to trending media problems.

To learn more about JOLT Digital’s solutions, click here.

Mariana Ahamad, Senior Account Director at JOLT Digital

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